Representatives from some of Georgia’s largest and most globally engaged companies came together Aug. 15 to share insights on headwinds facing international growth.
The Georgia Manufacturing Alliance helped organize the executive town hall at the Duluth headquarters of AGCO Corp., the Fortune 500 agricultural equipment manufacturer.
Tariffs and cybersecurity were the main topics, with executives taking questions from more than 100 attendees on how they’re navigating the growing complexities of the global economy. AGCO executives were joined by those from Korean automaker Kia Motors, package-delivery giant United Parcel Service Inc. and local exporters AdEdge Water Technologies and METCAM, a sheet-metal fabricator.
The alliance, which is hosting its annual summit Oct. 10 focused on the high-flying aerospace sector in the state, put together the event to help members answer questions an increasingly vexing policy environment.
While some companies have welcomed President Donald Trump’s more confrontational approach to trade — and his unilateral tariffs on steel, aluminum, washing machines and other products — others have lamented the disruption of supply chains and retaliatory measures that have made their products less competitive in foreign markets. As with any trade policy shifts, though, the benefits and costs have been highly sector dependent.
The alliance is taking a more proactive approach to international issues and is focusing more intently on fostering networking and understanding among the state’s producers, whether foreign subsidiaries investing in Georgia or domestic firms selling abroad.
“This event will lead us into the International Manufacturing Educational Session that is held in conjunction with our Georgia Manufacturing Summit,” said Jason Moss, CEO of the alliance, in a statement on the Aug. 15 forum.
Joanne Sanders, president of EWISE Communications, which helps the alliance with its global strategy and outreach, said sharing best practices is crucial to keeping companies on their toes.
“Open dialogue is critical to fostering business continuity and helping manufacturing companies thrive,” Ms. Sanders said.
The full slate of speakers at the executive forum included:
- Rich Cavagnaro – Adedge Water Technologies, CEO
- Stuart Countess – KIA Motors, Chief Administrative Officer
- Bruce Hagenau – METCAM Sheet Metal Fabricator, President
- Susanne Lauda – AGCO Corporation, Director of Advanced Manufacturing
- Mark Prehar – AGCO Corporation, Purchasing Manager
- David Roegge – UPS, Marketing Director – High Tech Segment
- Joanne Sanders – EWISE Communications, President and International Liaison for the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance
- Phyllis Sumner – King & Spalding, Chief Privacy Officer
- Dawn Townsend – Georgia Dept. of Economic Development — International Trade
That brand of dialogue is what’s behind the Oct. 10 Georgia Manufacturing Summit, which will bring together more than 30 industry leaders providing workshops on disruptive technologies, financial issues, international sourcing and sales, supply chain trends, workforce development and more.
Keynote speakers are to include Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream Aerospace, and Eric Rojek, vice president of sales and marketing Thrush Aviation. Both companies are experienced exporters and are based in Savannah, and Albany, Ga., respectively. Aerospace is the state’s top export product, to the tune of $8 billion annually.
Learn more at www.georgiamanufacturingsummit.com.