Alissa Cooperman works in Facility Operations at Gilead Sciences. She is working on digital strategies for life cycle facility management. Concurrently, Alissa is pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering at Stanford University, and holds a Masters in Civil Engineering from Stanford and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Harvard.
Founder & President | Former Senior Director - Global People Excellence
The Ghannad Group | Formerly Campbell Soup Company
Amir Ghannad is a frequent and highly sought-after keynote speaker at leadership summits in the US and abroad, and the founder of The Ghannad Group, which offers speaking, workshop facilitation, and consulting services, focused on guiding leaders in creating extraordinary cultures that deliver breakthrough results and unprecedented fulfillment.
For over 31 years, Amir held leadership positions in the US, Asia, and Europe with such companies as Procter and Gamble and Campbell Soup Company.
Amir’s book titled The Transformative Leader, has been shipped to 25+ countries, and is available on Amazon and at www.theghannadgroup.com, where he publishes weekly blog posts.
Director of Lean Product Development
Digital Transformation and IIoT Leader
Visionary, enterprising Global Business Leader and transformational change agent with 20+ years of success spearheading business strategies that amplify efficiency, advance competitiveness, reduce costs, and increase revenue. Brian has served in a technical sales providing pre-sales business and technical consulting to Fortune 500 companies with an emphasis on providing ROI analysis, implementation strategies to improve operations and maximize business value. Currently, Brian works as an Information Solutions Sales Executive at Rockwell Automation, focusing MES and Analytics for life sciences industries with an emphasis on facilitating IT and OT convergence.
Eric Pope, Leadership Coach and Vice President of Operations at US Synthetic and the US Synthetic Consulting Group, is a frequent speaker at continuous improvement conferences. His topics include principles and processes associated with the deliberate creation of culture. Above all, Eric is a social scientist. He loves to design, experiment and learn what make high performance teams and organizations. Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) both from Brigham Young University.
Dr. John H. Danley Jr.
President & General Manager
GKN Aerospace Transparency System
Dr. John Henry Danley Jr. E.Ds. is an executive and author. He is an accomplished Senior Executive and Thought Leader, with demonstrated success across the aerospace and defense, electrical and electronic manufacturing industries. Leveraging extensive experience in strategic planning for aerospace and defense companies, he is a valuable asset for automotive, aerospace and defense companies of all sizes, managing various business P&L’s, government and regulatory compliance and lean manufacturing. His broad areas of expertise include turnarounds, forecasting, change management, transformation, talent development, executive coaching, growth, and scaling.
Throughout his executive career, Dr. Danley has held leadership positions with a battery of Aerospace and Defense Companies and several major Automotive Companies throughout his 25 year experience. He’s a proven leader in transforming organizations and doubling profitability by as high as 34% using the company’s best resources, people engagement.
Dr. Danley holds a BA in Political Science from Carthage College, an MBA from Colorado Technical University, and a Doctoral Degree in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University. He is a Gallup Certified Coach, Six Sigma Green Belt Certified, and has completed an Executive Leadership Certification from Washington University.
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Kenneth R. Banas
Vice President, Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Excellence
Kenneth R. Banas is Vice President, Advanced Manufacturing and Corporate Excellence. He is responsible for overseeing USG’s Advanced Manufacturing initiative, Lean Six Sigma organization, Lean Management System, Enterprise Project Management Organization and Manufacturing Reliability.
Banas joined USG in 2004. He previously served as treasurer and was responsible for the leadership and direction of the treasury function, including all aspects of USG’s capital strategy and structure. He was also a key member of a team that completed the largest transformational joint venture in USG’s history, the creation of USG Boral Building Products, and divestiture of USG’s distribution business, L&W Supply.
Prior to serving as treasurer, Banas was responsible for enterprise program management and was the program manager for the company’s largest IT project. Banas is a member of Board for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Banas holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in astronomy and physics and a master’s degree in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology.
Director of Client Relations
International Metal Source
Coming from a humble beginning Lucia Piedra is the first in four generations to complete her MBA in Business Administration inspiring many to seek more for themselves despite any circumstance or obstacle. She has invested seventeen years of her devoted self to forming strategic partnerships, managing relationships with Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike throughout the United States and Mexico.
Lucia has now excelled at harnessing the core competencies of a business combined with gaining customer, industry and product knowledge to clearly communicate the differentiators of an offering in any market making her a diverse and creative industrial manufacturing professional. With real life in the trenches business experience, Lucia is effective in the development and execution of product or service solutions; having been the architect of software programs at age 20 to designing industrial crane systems at age 24 she quickly grew to direct sales in the millions only years later. Her key competencies include: Product Engineering & Testing, Sales Management, Marketing, Special Contracts, Strategic Alignment and Tactical Execution.
Lucia has participated in the development of the American Manufacturing Association, formed part of the Marketing Committee for the National Fluid Power Association, involved herself with the National Tooling and Manufacturing Association, recently spoke on utilizing resources efficiently at the American Manufacturing Summit in 2017 and is actively participating in events of the Aerospace & Defense Forum.
Like You, Lucia aspires to become a renowned leader in her field by continuing her career in establishing the vision and providing the leadership and strategies needed to expand the growth of an organization.
Lucia believes leadership does not carry an age, race or title but is the inherent wholehearted will to help and guide others in a positive direction.
The MAX Group
Mr. Mario Faria serves as Vice President of Operations for the US market for the MAX Group. Mario Faria has 17 years’ experience in the semiconductors industry with broad technical and operations background. Previously worked as a Project Manager for MAX working in NPI and Operational Efficiency projects for the Semiconductors, LEDs, and Solar industries.
Mario started his career as a Test Engineer for IBM Microelectronics in Burlington, VT. He has progressively increased his leadership with Texas Instruments and ITT Corporation where he shepherded products from design to production. Mario is now responsible for operations management and business development growth for the Americas region, including the US, Canada, and Latin America.
Senior Director, Engineering
Melody Spradlin is Senior Director of Engineering at Gilead Sciences in Foster City, California. She is a seasoned design and construction professional with more than 30 years of experience leading complex teams to meet strategic corporate and project goals. Melody has a proven track record leading cross-functional teams working on all aspects of capital projects, facilities, sourcing and supply chain. She currently leads Gilead’s Facilities Engineering department, which is composed of the Large Capital Projects, Technical Engineering, Life Cycle Projects and Project Controls teams. She has worked internationally in Japan, China and Brazil. She previously worked for Apple, Genentech, the U.S. Navy & several San Francisco Bay Area general contractors. She is a graduate of the U.S Naval Academy, Stanford University and Southern New Hampshire University.
Chief Commercial Officer
Michele was appointed Chief Commercial Officer of ATS Global on 1st of February 2018.
He joined ATS Global in 2014, with the role of Business Development Manager and Business Consultant for the discrete manufacturing sector. He has been helping blue chip manufacturing companies defining Smart Manufacturing strategies and long-term digitalization roadmaps, building clear business cases, solving manufacturing system challenges, and achieving the planned business benefits. Before joining ATS Global, Michele has been working in the Centre of Competence of a leading MOM (Manufacturing Operations Management) software vendor, with responsibilities in Solution Delivery and Consultancy for leading manufacturing companies.
He has broad experience in the discrete manufacturing industry sector, varying from automotive and aerospace to industrial machinery and electronics. He has presented papers on a broad range of subjects at many industry and research events.
Michele is qualified with a PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Genova (Italy) and Master of Science in Physics from the same university.
Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII)
Director of Logistics
Niraj Jha is a Director of logistics at Niagara Bottling LLC, Ontario and oversees customer service, transportation, planning and logistics for 10 manufacturing facilities on the West coast, shipping over 7000 TL/week. Prior to this role Niraj worked as a plant director for Niagara bottling LLC’s southern California facility, overseeing all operational aspects of a 4 line, 1Billion bottles a year manufacturing facility. Niraj holds a MBA, General Management from UC Irvine and started his career at Niagara bottling as a part of the Leadership Development Program and worked through different roles within supply chain, manufacturing, Procurement and finance.
Prior to his MBA he studied Marine Engineering in India and went on to live and work on merchant vessels for the four years, travelling to over 20 countries and working with multiple nationalities.
He lives in Southern California with his family and is passionate about the evolution of data and technology and its impact on global business strategy, international trade policies and people.
Dr. Nourredine Boubekri
Professor of Engineering Technology
University of North Texas
Dr. Nourredine Boubekri is currently a professor of Engineering at The University of North Texas. He received his Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in the field of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. He received both his Master and Bachelor of Science degrees in 1980 from Boston University in the field of Manufacturing Engineering. His experience and tenure started at the University of Miami where he began as an assistant professor in the department of Industrial Engineering. There he founded the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center in the year 2000, which is currently still funded by DOE. His experience includes his roles as Department chair /Director of Research and Innovation at NIU (2002-2006), Department chair at UNT (2006-2010),Director of UNT SACSCOC reaffirmation (2012-206). He directed more than thirty Master and Ph.D. Students and published more than 100 technical articles and journal papers in the areas of green machining , product development, innovation and technology management, His research funding exceeds five million dollars in grants and contracts.
His experience in international collaboration includes a number of programs with various institutions in China, Turkey and France.
Vice President, Global Operations
Data Sciences International
Peter Fritsche is Vice President, Global Operations at Data Sciences International (DSI). His responsibilities include: process engineering, supply chain leadership, manufacturing, logistics, client services, documentation, continuous improvement and technical support. Prior to DSI, Peter was Director of Global Quality at both Emerson and Honeywell. He has also worked at ADC and FSI International.
Peter is a hands-on leader, driven by a passion to create value-based improvements that result in higher customer loyalty and substantial savings for his company. Throughout his career, he has performed at a very high level in many technical and managerial functions including: design, manufacturing, quality, safety, supply chain and product management. By engaging team-members, utilizing appropriate improvement tools and implementing necessary system-level changes for continued success; Peter has established a strong history of permanently solving the “unsolvable” product performance and reliability issues while shortening lead-times, reducing cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) and improving other key balance sheet metrics.
Peter is a six-sigma black belt and an instructor at Manufacturers Alliance where he currently leads Six-sigma green belt certification classes. He achieved a B.S. in Engineering Mechanics from UW-Madison and earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
Managing Director, Client Development & Marketing
Performance Solutions by Milliken
Phil’s career spans thirty-two plus years’ of business and manufacturing leadership. Phil’s diverse background ranges from multiple leadership roles in manufacturing to successfully working with and leading several business units within Milliken & Company to profitable growth and financial sustainability. Phil’s background includes leading the implementation of the Milliken Performance System, serving as Director of Cost Improvement and as the corporate Pursuit of Excellence Director.
Phil holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University and a Master of Business Administration from Wake Forest University.
René Buck (1959) is president and CEO of BCI Global, a company he founded in April 1985. More than 33 years later BCI Global is one of the world’s leading independent manufacturing footprint optimization, location strategy/site selection and supply chain design consulting companies in the world. BCI Global has offices in the US (Atlanta, Bay Area, Los Angeles), Europe (Nijmegen & the Hague - the Netherlands; London - UK; Frankfurt - Germany; Paris – France) and Asia (Singapore, China). The firm employs 65 dedicated professionals.
The projects include location studies for production plants, distribution centers, R&D centers and support centers as well as developing and implementing manufacturing and supply chain optimization plans in all regions of the world. BCI Global provides independent, unbiased, tailor-made advise.
BCI Global works for a wide range of international companies in various industries: high tech; industrial equipment & products; automotive; medical technology; food & beverage; FMCG; chemicals; (bio)pharma; fashion & apparel; logistics. BCI assists more than 900 clients in 50 countries.
Simon Jacobson is a Vice President in Gartner's supply chain research organization and covers manufacturing operations. Mr. Jacobson advises clients responsible for manufacturing strategy and performance. His research helps clients develop transformational roadmaps for smart manufacturing and the role production plays in digital supply chains. This spans the foundational competencies of corporate production systems to the impacts of artificial intelligence, IoT, and advanced analytics on how factories can be managed in the future.
Competitive Solutions, Inc.
Shane A. Yount is a nationally recognized thought leader, author, and President of Competitive Solutions, Inc., an international Business Transformation consulting firm which pioneered the acclaimed organizational development system known as Process Based Leadership® - A business transformation methodology designed to create a sustainable culture of clarity, connectivity, and consistency through the use of Non-Negotiable Business Processes.
Shane began his career with Perdue Farms, Inc., the nation’s second largest poultry grower and processor. Having performed such roles as Front Line Supervisor, Site Operations Manager, Quality Manager, Director of Human Resources, and Corporate Continuous Improvement Champion, Shane brings extensive experience in every aspect of organizational dynamics and effectiveness. His “Real World” process driven approach to creating and sustaining high performance has led leaders across the country to embrace the Process Based Leadership® methodology as a core operating system in driving organizational focus, urgency, and accountability.
Since 1991 he has led the offices of Competitive Solutions, Inc. (CSI) in becoming one of the nations most recognized Business Transformation consulting firms, personally working with such organizations as Michelin, Genentech, Pfizer, Lockheed Martin, the Department of Defense, and many others. Shane’s approach of challenging leaders to confront what truly “powers performance” within their organizations often allows leaders a unique glimpse into their personal leadership legacies. His impactful message and delivery has made him a coveted speaker at national conferences and tradeshows. His three books, “Buried Alive: Digging out of the Management Dumpster,” “Leaving Your Leadership Legacy” and “Leading Your Business Forward: Aligning Goals, People, and Systems for Sustainable Success” are required reading in many organizations.
Senior Vice President, Operations
Stephanie Pullings Hart is the Sr Vice President, Operations for Beyond Meat responsible for Technical Services, Manufacturing and Supply Chain. This fast-growing business is transforming the way consumers view vegan products by providing great tasting, high quality products. Prior to her current role, Stephanie was the Vice President, Technical & Production for Nestlé USA’s Confections and Global Foods and Ice Cream divisions from March 2016 to January 2018. She assumed her role in Nestle USA after a successful three-year expatriate assignment as the Executive Director Technical & Production, Nestlé Australia Ltd. from January 2013 to March 2016. In this role, Stephanie had responsibility for safety, quality, engineering, regulatory & scientific affairs, and manufacturing for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Stephanie began her career with Nestle in 1995 and throughout her career has had roles of increasing responsibility both in manufacturing, research and development and human resources. From January 2010 to December 2012 Stephanie was the Vice President Operations, Nestlé Nutrition - Jenny Craig. Preceding Jenny Craig, Stephanie worked as the Program Director at the Nestlé International Training and Conference Centre located in Vevey, Switzerland where she was responsible for developing, recommending and delivering learning strategies and plans to build competencies for over 1000 Nestlé employees. Stephanie was appointed to the Forum of Young Global Leaders in 2008, an integral part of the World Economic Forum. She volunteered with the Girl Scouts of America for 6 years, where girls enhance their confidence and character in an effort to make a positive impact on the world. In 2005, she received a “40 Under-Forty” achievement award from the Network Journal Magazine in recognition for her professional accomplishments and the impact that she has had on the business industry while actively contributing to the community. Stephanie is a Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, a non-profit organization focused on providing assistance to local communities throughout the world and was previously a member of the Nestlé Australia and Nestlé New Zealand Board of Directors. She holds an Executive MBA (Benedictine College, USA) and Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering (Florida State University, USA).
Tom Ulrich, Ph.D.
Tandem Diabetes Care
As Chief Scientist, Tom is the most senior engineer at Tandem Diabetes Care, and his charter includes both (a) innovating Tandem’s technology, processes, and products, and (b) mentoring Tandem’s next generation of engineers and engineering managers. Tom earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in engineering at UC Irvine, and has 34 years of experience developing (and helping others develop) real time embedded software for life critical mechanical systems for both the Aviation and Medical industries. After a decade as Tandem’s Senior Director of Software Engineering, Tom began a Ph.D. program in organizational leadership and expects to finish by Summer 2018.
Vice President of Co-Manufacturing
Troy Hancock is the Vice President of Co-Manufacturing for Shamrock Farms located in Phoenix Arizona. Shamrock Farms is a division of Shamrock Foods Corporation (Scottsdale, Arizona). Shamrock Farms currently operates 2 manufacturing locations, one in Phoenix Arizona and the other in Verona, Virginia. Shamrock Farms is an industry leader in the manufacture of Extended Shelf Life beverages in bottles. Having initially been one of the first movers to introduce single serve milk products into bottles, Shamrock Farms continues to grow it’s national presence by providing single serve milk, ice cream mixes and other products to QSR customers and national retailers. Shamrock Farms is currently the primary single serve milk and milk products provider to 5 of the top 10 QSR groups nationally. Shamrock Farms is also a National Leader in the drinkable Protein Beverage Category with it’s Rockin Protein products.
As a 30+ year manufacturing professional, Troy has worked solely in Dairy Manufacturing throughout his career with Shamrock Farms and other leading dairy manufacturers. He has worked as QA Manager, Plant Manager, Director of Manufacturing, Senior Director of Manufacturing, Vice President of Manufacturing and currently works as Vice President of Co-Manufacturing for Shamrock Farms. He has been involved in the design, construction, start-up and on-going operation of various production lines as well as multiple plants. He is an industry leader in Extended Shelf Life Products, HTST Products and Culture Products manufacturing.
Troy has been trained in Total Quality Management, LEAN, LEAN RFS, Six-Sigma, Theory of Constraints and other methodologies. His approach to process improvement takes valuable components from each of these methods as well as other applications and brings them together to effectively implement real world activities that leads to lower manufacturing costs and increased line output.
Troy is a graduate of Weber State University with a degree in Chemistry and minor in mathematics. He currently lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Shelley of 33 years. They have 5 children (4 sons and 1 daughter). He enjoys supporting his children in all their endeavors, mostly watching them participate in athletics. He also enjoys hiking, photography, 3D design and 3D printing.
Director, External Manufacturing
Vicky McMillan is Director of External Manufacturing at Starbucks. She joined Starbucks in 2001 and has held various positions in Information Technology, Commercialization, Engineering and Manufacturing. As the director of external manufacturing, Vicky leads all aspects of contract manufacturing operations, including improvement efforts in the areas of cost, safety and quality.
Prior to her current role, Vicky directed operations for two years at a US plant that produced coffee, tea and soluble coffee and as an interim plant director for a coffee production plant in Europe for six months. Vicky is engaging, performance-driven, collaborative leader who brings people together from multiple functions to optimize the manufacturing network to support business growth, create flexibility and ensure business continuity.
Vicky has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
VP Operations, Director of Creative Design
Bill has worked in the medical device industry for over thirty years in a variety of manufacturing, operations, and design roles. He holds several U.S. and International patents related to surgical implants and instruments, many of which have been successfully commercialized. His design activities range from direct product development and outside collaboration, to manufacturing process and equipment development. Bill is a board member of the Southern California Biomedical Council and Ventura County Workforce Development Board, and he advises academic programs at UC Riverside, Moorpark College, and the national Community College Consortium for Bioscience Credentials.