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Strategic Resources Network

May 7-8, 2019 | Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection, Chicago, Illinois

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The AGMA 2019 SRN Networking Event challenges you to look at the gear industry future with emerging technology and workforce opportunities.

The AGMA Strategic Resources Network (SRN) is a group that brings together AGMA members that are at all stages in their gear industry careers. The goal of the SRN is to provide a dynamic, educational and collaborative forum to help participants grow, both within the industry and the association.


Join us day one at MxD (formerly DMDII).

One of 16 U.S. Manufacturing Institutes, MxD (formerly DMDII) is focused on product develop and systems engineering; future factories; agile, resilient supply chains; and cybersecurity. We will have our presentations in this space and be able to tour their innovation factory floor that features some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world.


On day two, we have three planned tours. We will visit IMS Global Gear & Machining, Inc., Precision Arrow Gear Group, and Argonne National Laboratory. 



Global Gear & Machining was established in 1991 as a high volume precision gear manufacturer, which initially produced products serving applications in the medium and heavy duty truck industry. Global Gear has expanded its capabilities to include precision gear grinding and shaping service customers in a diverse set of industries. Current applications include oil and gas, mining, power generation, marine, fracking, agriculture, and automotive.


Precision Arrow Gear Group (PAGG) provides the gear and shaft market with 160 years of manufacturing experience in Flight Safety Critical hardware for Aerospace, Defense and Commercial Applications. PAGG specializes in close tolerance, hardened and ground, shafts, spiral bevel gears, spur and helical gearing manufactured from the most modern machine tools available.


SRN attendees will be taking a tour at the At the Argonne National Laboratory where you will see work in the Center for Transportation Research and we are working on a tour of ATLAS – Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System.

Hotel Info

Hotel Chicago Downtown, Autograph Collection
333 N. Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60654

Driving Directions

Room Rate

Rooms are $239.00 USD/night

To make your reservation, please use the following: BOOK HERE

The hotel cut-off date is April 8, 2019.

We cannot guarantee our room rate after this date. 



Member Price
Non-Member Price

Event Schedule



  • 9:30am - 10:00am
    Continental Breakfast
  • 10:00am - 10:45am
    Group Discussion: What is keeping you up at night?

    Introductions and Opening Remarks:  Ross Wegryn-Jones, SRN Chairman

    Jenny Blackford, AGMA VP Marketing will lead a robust discussion on “What is keeping you up at night?”

    Attendees will be contacted before the event with details to submit questions and comments prior to the event. AGMA will also reach out to the AGMA Board for their input. All attendees will be provided the details of this information electronically during the event to take back to their manufacturing plants and share with their teams.


  • 10:45am - 11:15am
    AGMA 3D Printing Committee Update

    Our emerging technology 3D printing subcommittee will provide updated information on the state of 3D metal printed gears. Who are the players? What advancements are being made in this area? Let us tell you the latest.

  • 11:15am - 11:30am
  • 11:30am - 12:15pm

    The Siemens partnership with DMDII gives companies in a variety of industries the opportunity to get a hands-on understanding of how the software and manufacturing technology can come together to achieve innovation. Siemens will discuss how to forge a path to industrial digitalization, including a tour to witness digitalization made real.

  • 12:15pm - 1:00pm
    Tour of MxD (formerly DMDII)
  • 1:00pm - 1:15pm
  • 1:15pm - 2:15pm
    Craftsman with Character: Closing the Skilled Labor Gap

    Dave Hatai,President of Edgerton Gear

    The skilled trades have been suffering a labor shortage for some time now, partly due to the fact that young people are not entering the trades fast enough to replace an aging workforce. This session, with a focus on apprenticeship and mentorship, will provide insights into how we can transform the discussion around the skilled labor gap.

  • 2:15pm - 3:15pm
    Panel: Leadership in the Gear Industry

    Cory Ooyen, President, Global Gear & Machining 

    Zen Cichon, President, Innovative Rack and Gear 

    Nicole Wolter, President HM Manufacturing 

    Manufacturing faces a wide variety of opportunities and threats today. Leaders are faced with a whole new set of emerging technology tools to learn about and possibly implement; workforce challenges; and new products and markets. How are gear industry leaders dealing with the changing times? Let’s ask them directly.

  • 3:15pm - 3:30pm
  • 3:30pm - 4:30pm
    Steel Market Report

    Peter Wright, President, Steel Market Analysis, Inc.

    This session will review the global steel market with growth projections; the relationship between domestic steel market, GDP and other indicators; and benchmarks that you can use to predict future price trends. Peter will cover the status of the automotive and heavy truck production and other manufacturing indicators that impact industrial production.

  • 4:30pm - 5:00pm
    From AGMA's President

    Matthew Croson, AGMA President

    This session will give attendees updated information on all things AGMA. How can you maximize your membership and enhance your connections through AGMA. Matt will provide committee updates, new projects, new partnerships, and detailed information on the Motion + Power Technology Expo. 

  • 5:30pm- 7:00pm
    Goose Island Brewhouse Networking Event
  • 8:00am
    Breakfast on Your Own
  • 8:30am
    Bus Will Leave Hotel
  • 9:30am - 12:00pm
    Tour A

    Half of group will tour Argonne National Laboratory/Half will tour Global Gear and Precision Arrow Gear

  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm
  • 1:30pm - 4:00pm
    Tour B

    Half of group will tour Argonne National Laboratory/Half will tour Global Gear and Precision Arrow Gear


Zen Cichon, President

Innovative Rack & Gear Co.

Zen has been involved in the gear industry for 32 years, starting at Franke Gear Works, and has spent the last 24 years at Innovative Rack & Gear Company currently in Wood Dale, Illinois. Zen and his  brothers, Jerry and John, started the company in 1995 in Bensenville, Illinois along with the help of their brother John. Over the years, Innovative Rack & Gear Company has grown to 20+ employees and 20,000 square  feet, with a primary focus on producing custom gear racks of various configurations. 

Zen has been involved from the start of our company’s formation thus being involved in all aspects, from the beginnings of doing machine set-ups to growing the company. His greatest satisfaction is working with customers on their gear rack needs and developing solutions with our team. In addition, Zen enjoys developing relationships with customers and peers in the gear industry. 

Zen has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was born and raised in Chicago and appreciates the opportunities given to him and his family by it. Zen's wife, Dorothy, and he have two wonderful sons, Dan (25) and Paul (24). 

Matt Croson


Matthew E. “Matt” Croson joined the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) as its seventh President in June 2016.  He oversees all operational aspects of the 100-year old, $4 million revenue, 12-person trade association dedicated to serving the needs of the $40 billion mechanical power transmission industry.  AGMA supports technical standards development, education and business management needs for its nearly-500 member companies.  

Croson joined AGMA after serving as President of the Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) from March of 2010 to June 2016.  During his tenure, ASC grew membership by 31% and revenues by 46%.  When he left ASC, the organization had 138 members and $2.8 million in revenue. Prior to that he spent 12 years at PMMI.

Dave Hataj, Owner & President

Edgerton Gear

Dave Hataj is the president and co-owner of Edgerton Gear, Inc., a family business started by his father over 50 years ago. Under Dave’s leadership, Edgerton Gear is dedicated to combining historical craftsmanship with the world’s latest technologies to manufacture high quality components.

Dave was honored by The Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) District Board with the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award for his demonstration of the value of a technical college education. Dave is a graduate of the Machinist Apprenticeship program at BTC, and went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine; his Master’s Degree in Theology and Family Business Systems from Regent College in Vancouver, B.C., Canada; and finally, his Doctor of Transformational Leadership Degree from Bakke Graduate University, Dallas, Texas, where he currently serves on the Board. In 2014, Dave was recognized by the Edgerton School District with the Golden Apple Award for his key contributions to the District and for his commitment and vision to the value of technical education.

Dave’s work in developing the talent pipeline in the skilled trades is evident through his creation of Craftsman with Character, a program he developed to address the skilled labor shortage and to help high school students explore career opportunities within the skilled trades. This 16-week curriculum blends traditional classroom instruction, worksite mentorship, and exposure to programs at technical schools into a single experiential learning model.

Dave and Tracy, his wife of 30 years, share a zeal for community at home and abroad. Together, they have served extensively in Honduras, focusing on community transformation through educating and mentoring youth and bringing clean water and sanitation to rural areas. Dave and Tracy raised their three sons on a small farm in rural Wisconsin, and now enjoy seeing that same passion for business, the skilled trades, and community outreach in their grown sons.  

Cory Ooyen, President

Global Gear & Machining, LLC

Cory Ooyen joined Global Gear in November 2006 and was hired to assume full P&L responsibility of the company and lead the company’s sales growth and diversification efforts.

Prior to joining Global Gear, Cory served as the Manufacturing Operations Manager for a high volume auto related precision machining company that expanded from $20 million to $85 million in sales during his 18 years with the company. 

Cory’s industry background includes management of specialized machining operations, sales and engineering and new process development activities. He has 35 years’ industry experience and has been trained in Operational finance and Management, specialized tooling applications, lean operations, the Toyota Production System, and operational metric design.

Nicole Wolter, President & CEO

HM Manufacturing

Nicole Wolter joined HM in 2009, working from the ground up in a variety of positions. She has a degree in chemical engineering and finance, has extensive training on manual lathes and milling machines, and is certified in CAD and 3D Modeling. Under her vision and leadership, HM has implemented new technologies and processes – machinery, ERP system, employee training, and marketing. This has enabled HM to expand its product lines and attract more and larger customers. Nicole also received her NIMS CNC Mill Operations Certification to increase HM Manufacturing’s production standards and efficiency. 


Nicole is dedicated to promoting manufacturing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing leaders. She serves on the Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) Executive Board and the TMA Education Foundation Board, coordinating grants to area high schools with manufacturing programs. As a McHenry High School Advisory Board member, she helps to improve their manufacturing program, offers internships, and mentors students about careers in manufacturing. In December of 2018, Nicole was named a Member of the Board of Directors to the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. As a Member of the Board of Directors, Wolter helps promote legislation and public polices designed to stimulate economic growth and increase Illinois’s business climate.


In 2016, the Daily Herald Business Ledger awarded Nicole and HM Manufacturing their Annual Award for Business Excellence in Manufacturing. The ABBEs highlight successful businesses and organizations and honor the people who make them successful. In 2017, Nicole was honored with the Influential Women in Business Award by the Daily Herald Business Ledger. The IWIB awards highlight outstanding women leaders who excel in business, civic and personal arenas. 


Nicole is a valuable “go-to” source for business and manufacturing media to promote manufacturing in the U.S.  She has been on panel discussions and podcasts, a keynote speaker, featured as an op-ed writer for the Chicago Tribune, and interviewed for publications including The Wall Street Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, Daily Herald Business Ledger, SME Manufacturing Engineering, Manufacturing Talk Radio, and more.

Peter Wright, President

Steel Market Analysis

Peter Wright is a graduate in Metallurgical Engineering from the Manchester University (UK) Institute of Science and Technology. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Materials, a Fellow of the Institute of Materials (UK) and a Chartered Engineer UK. Peter has spent 57 years in the steel industry with experience in quality engineering, metallurgy, product development, sales, marketing, operations management and corporate management. Positions held have included; Chief Metallurgist of the British Steel Corporation wire and wire products group, Metallurgical Manager of Sheerness Steel, Quality Control Superintendent of Chaparral Steel, Vice President of the Bar Products Business Unit of Chaparral Steel, Marketing Director of Gerdau North America.

Wright was the first-ever non forger to chair the Forging Industry Association technical committee. He was a board member and trustee of the Forging Industry Education and Research Foundation for eleven years and its president for three years. He was a member of the American Iron and Steel Industry marketing committee for ten years and its chairman for three years. In 2007, Wright received the American Institute of Steel Construction special achievement award for, “Analysis of the structural steel industry that has aided the development of metric-based marketing statistics.”

Outside of the steel industry, he was a Dale Carnegie instructor in human relations and public speaking for five years and a crisis hot line counselor with Contact Dallas for nineteen years. In September 2010 he retired and started his own company, Steel Market Analysis Inc which currently performs contract market analysis services.