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Strategic Resources Network

October 17-18, 2018 | Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby, Detroit, Michigan

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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.


The 2018 SRN Meeting is the perfect place for members to gain knowledge on leadership, best business practices, AGMA resources, technology and professional development. The two-day conference is packed this year with industry experts covering topics on the latest drivetrain technology, workforce acquisition, automation in manufacturing and much more.


The best part? Attendees will get to have two tours this conference where they will be introduced to insights on supply chain management see the latest in automation at FANUC America and gain insights on automotive and aerospace lightweighting applied research at LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow. Come for the expert knowledge but stay for the endless networking and connections.

The Tours

Attendees will be taking tours of FANUC America and LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow. For a little more information about FANUC Headquarters, take a look at this video!




Hotel Info

Double Tree Suites by Hilton Hotel Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby
525 West Lafayette Blvd
Detroit, Michigan 48226

Driving Directions

Room Rate



To reserve a room, please click here

Please reserve your room before September 24th. 

Any questions or if additional assistance required, please call (313)-424-1367.



Member Price
Non-Member Price

Event Schedule



  • 8:30 a.m.
    Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00 a.m. - 9:05 a.m.

    All attendees will go around the room and introduce themselves with just name and company. 


  • 9:05 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
    AGMA SRN Overview - Ross Wegryn-Jones

    Overview of the AGMA Strategic Resources Network, opportunities within the committee. He will also review the schedule of events for the two days providing some important scheduling notes.

  • 9:15 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
    Gear Expo is Transforming to Motion + Power Technology Expo in Detroit 2019 - Jenny Blackford, AGMA

    Responding to the current marketplace in power transmission, Gear Expo is expanding its scope to cover more than just gears – bringing fluid power and electric drive technologies to the show floor.  Now attendees have even more reason to come to the new Motion + Power Technology Expo, as they can learn the latest innovations across the power transmission marketplace and compare solutions all in one location.

  • 9:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
    Advanced Manufacturing: Solving the Needs of Today with a Focus on the Future - Elliiott Forsyth, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center

    Across industries, the push for components and products that are lighter and stronger is driving change in materials selection and engineering design. This session, with a specific focus on lightweight materials, will highlight how advanced technologies are shaping manufacturing.

  • 10:45 a.m. - 11:00 am
  • 11:00 am.m - 12:00 p.m.
    Steel Market Report - Jamie Price, Ovako North America

    Jamie will provide an overview on the steel market and provide the most up-to-date information on this market and potential impacts to manufacturing.

  • 12: p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
    Working in an era of legalized marijuana and the opioid crisis – What you need to know - Aaron V. Burrell, Dickinson Wright

    Headlines all over manufacturing are showing the impact of increased drug use on industry. When you couple that with more states legalizing marijuana – where does that leave manufactures? Are there new regulations? Aaron and Benjamin, who are based in the Detroit area, will fill us in on the legal side of the equation.

  • 1:45 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
    The Impact of New Drivetrain Technology in the Commercial and Industrial Vehicle Market - John Bennett, Meritor, Inc.

    Meritor is a leader in on- and off-highway applications. Utilizing his vast experience in this sector, John will discuss how Meritor is looking at drivetrain innovation – including electrification to continue to move their product line forward.

  • 2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • 3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
    AGMA Foundation Employee Recruitment Toolkit - Cindy Bennett, AGMA

    The AGMA Foundation has developed an industry specific Toolkit to help companies recruit shop level employees. Cindy will briefly discuss the origins of the Toolkit project,  and demonstrate some of the Toolkit components.

  • 3:15 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
    Looking for qualified candidates to hire - Todd Palmer, Diversified Industrial Staffing

    Todd has spent 20 years matching candidates with companies. He works in Detroit and has experience in the auto industry as well as general manufacturing. He will provide some insights into finding qualified candidates and give you his take on how things have been changing in recent years.

  • 4:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
    Local Manufacturing Groups Thinking outside the box - Bill Rayl, Jackson Area Manufacturers Association

    Bill will discuss the JAMA goal – the continued prosperity of our manufacturing members and the broader regional community as a whole. He will then dive into some of the programming where they have found success in the overlap of manufacturers, education, and potential workforce candidates.           

  • 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • 6:00 p.m.
    Networking Event

    Meet in Lobby and leave for networking event at The Fowling Warehouse – Hamatrack

  • 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
    Continental Breakfast
  • 8:30 a.m.
    Get on buses to leave for FANUC America
  • 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
    FANUC America & Emerging Technology Committee Update - Brian Schultz

    Presentations will be given in their auditorium on relevant topics that will provide keys in how our attendees can get automation on their factory floor. We will be surveying the attendees and those answers will shape the presentations. We have also asked for a special presentation on getting into their supply chain from the part of FANUC that builds the paint robots in the U.S. Attendees will also see high tech displays in the Customer Experience Center.

    Located at: 3900 W. Hamlin Rd. Rochester Hills, MI



    The AGMA Emerging Technology Committee has focus in five areas: 3D printed metal; electric drive technology, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), new materials, and robotics & automation. Brian is the Chairman of this committee and will provide an overview on the recent work that AGMA has been conducted in these areas.

  • 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
    LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

    Please note that lunch will be provided by FANUC on the the bus to LIFT. 


    Attendees will receive a presentation on LIFT and tour the LIFT High Bay. This is the nation’s premier lightweighting applied research and development facility. Featuring full-scale equipment installed for both LIFT and IACMI – the Composites Institute, the facility is uniquely positioned to help revolutionize manufacturing through lightweight innovation and education.


    Located: 1400 Rosa Parks Blvd. Detroit, MI


Brian Schultz

Great Lakes Industry, Inc.

Brian Schultz is the President of Great Lakes Industry, Inc. (GLI), a privately held, precision gear manufacturer in Jackson, Michigan.  Previously, as Vice President of Engineering, Brian led GLI’s significant investments required to support growth in GLI’s precision gearing product line. 


Prior to joining GLI in 2004, he was a manager with Accenture’s global consulting practice where he led the implementation of multiple information technology systems for many global clients in the United States, Europe and Asia.   Brian holds a Manufacturing Engineering Technology Degree from the University of Dayton.  

Ross Wegryn-Jones, Regional Sales Manager

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc.

Ross Wegryn-Jones is a Regional Sales Manager for the Gear Machine Tool Division of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. based in Wixom, MI.  Ross has served in a variety of International & Domestic sales and marketing capacities since 1989 with a concentration on the involute form beginning in 2009.   The application of cutting tools, work and toolholding, machine tools and how it all ties together are and continue to be a lifelong fascination for Ross.

Ross is also a strong advocate for continual learning through a variety of methods including on-line, hands-on and classroom environments with courses through AGMA, Thors, LLC and many others.  Ross graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising followed by a Master's Degree from Western Michigan University in Business Administration Management.”

Cindy Bennett, Executive Director

Cindy Bennett is the Executive Director of the AGMA Foundation. During her 8 year tenure the Foundation has shifted its mission from funding academic research grants and  AGMA ISO participation,  to funding industry education and workforce recruitment efforts. Today Cindy manages the Foundation’s fundraising efforts, the successful AGMA Foundation Scholarship program which has awarded 32 scholarships over the past 7 years, and the Foundation’s grants for AGMA workforce education. In addition, Cindy is overseeing the Foundation’s latest project, production of a Toolkit to help the industry recruit new employees. As an integral part of the AGMA 2016 Centennial Celebration, Cindy literally “wrote the book” on AGMA when she penned AGMA’s history book,  “Celebrating 100 Years of Gearing, “ Cindy is a graduate of the University of Akron (B.A.) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (M.A.).

John Bennett, VP, Chief Technology Officer

Meritor, Inc.

John is currently a Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Meritor.  In this role, John is responsible for establishing the company's advanced technology portfolio and global product strategy as well as serving as the company’s central thought leader for eMobility and engineering excellence.  Prior to his current role, John served as the General Manager of Global Product Strategy and Advanced Engineering since 2013. During his 26 year career at Meritor, John has held various roles of increasing responsibility in engineering, product strategy, program management, corporate strategy, and sales.  John has a Master of Business Administration degree from Michigan State University, a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from Wayne State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan. He is the named inventor on 14 Meritor patents.

Jenny Blackford, VP of Marketing


Jenny Blackford is Vice President of Marketing for AGMA. In this role, she is directly responsible for AGMA’s Motion + Power Technology Expo (formerly Gear Expo). And she oversees a team that is responsible for AGMA’s events, emerging technology, and marketing activities. During her 18-year career at AGMA, Jenny has held various roles of increasing responsibility in marketing and operations. She began her career working on AGMA’s magazine and publications. In 2008, she took over the direct management of the trade show, which has grown more than 15% during her tenure as show manager. Jenny is a graduate of Wake Forest University and in 2018 she earned the designation of Certified Exhibition Management (CEM) from the International Association of Exhibitors and Events (IAEE).

Aaron Burnell, Partner

Dickinson Wright

Aaron Burrell focuses his practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation, labor and employment law, appellate law, and minority business enterprises.  As a member of the firm’s labor and employment practice, he has successfully defended clients in a wide range of discrimination and unfair-labor-practice claims in state and federal court, as well as before numerous state and federal administrative agencies. Aaron has also counseled clients on all aspects of the employment relationship including hiring, discipline, and the creation and enforcement of employment agreements. Aaron has been named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers. He is the author of the Commercial Torts chapter of Torts: Michigan Law and Practice (ICLE 2016); a contributor to “Employment Discrimination Law” (BNA, 2015); and a co-author of the “Michigan Class Action Compendium” (Defense Research Institute).

Elliot Forsyth, Vice President of Operations

Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center)

Elliot Forsyth is Vice President of Business Operations at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) where he is responsible for leading practice areas that include technology acceleration, cybersecurity, marketing, market research and business development.

The Center plays a lead role in coordinating and streamlining technology-related services to Michigan’s established industries and in assisting businesses to diversify into new and under-served markets.

As a National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) affiliate, The Center has developed a state-of-the-art cybersecurity service for companies in the defense, aerospace and automotive industries. Over the past two years, Elliot led this effort and expanded his expertise in cybersecurity, supporting Michigan companies to safeguard their businesses and maintain regulatory compliance. As a result, Elliot has been quoted and interviewed by print, broadcast and online media outlets, as well as presenting at numerous conferences and events.

Jamie Price

Ovako North America

 Jamie Price, President of Ovako North America, brings over three decades of experience to his role. Price grew up in St. Bernard Parish, a small town in Louisiana. He started his industrial career at Siemens in manufacturing and production before moving to a machine tool company in New Orleans, primarily servicing the oil and gas industry. Price spent 21 years with Sandvik Coromant starting out as a field-based representative in New Orleans before relocating his family to Houston where he was promoted to his first management role. Price moved to New Jersey and was promoted to Vice President of Sales and ultimately President of Sandvik Coromant US. In 2014, Price became President of Ovako North America. “I am always attracted to opportunity,” he says. “I think Ovako is the best-kept secret in the US. In Europe, we are well known as a high-performance steel company”, the best for many demanding applications.

Bill Rayl, President

Jackson Area Manufacturers Association and Academy for Manufacturing Careers

Bill Rayl has been building and managing successful membership organizations and training programs for over two decades.

Since 2003, Bill has served as President of the Jackson Area Manufacturers Association (JAMA). In 2005, Bill spearheaded creation of the Academy for Manufacturing Careers, a registered apprenticeship and customized training program designed to meet the needs of advanced manufacturers across south-central Michigan. In 2012, the Academy garnered national recognition as a 21st Century Apprenticeship Trailblazer and Innovator from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Bill is an active member of the National Skills Coalition and serves on NSC's Work-Based Learning Advisory Panel. He also serves on the State of Michigan's Early Childhood Investment Corporation's Corporate Board, the Michigan Manufacturers Association's Executive Manufacturers Talent Advisory Council, the Jackson County Career Readiness Taskforce, and the Great Start Collaborative of Jackson County. He is also co-chair of Jackson County's Cradle2Career Coordinating Council and an emeritus member of the Shop Rat Foundation's Board of Directors. In 2013, Bill was selected by the Michigan Manufacturers Association as the State of Michigan's first Manufacturing Talent Champion.

Todd Palmer, Founder and President

Diversified Industrial Staffing

Todd Palmer is the founder and President of Diversified Industrial Staffing. Todd's company has helped over 5,000 people secure employment. Todd now works through his business coaching and speaking firm, Extraordinary Advisors, to support corporate growth, foster business start-ups and guide leaders. In 2007, 2009, 2010 - 2013, Diversified Industrial Staffing  was named by INC Magazine to the INC 5,000, as one of the fastest growing companies in America.  In 2011, Diversified Industrial Staffing was named a Michigan 50 Company to Watch.  Todd graduated from Eastern Michigan University.

Benjamin M. Sobczak, Partner

Dickinson Wright

Benjamin M. Sobczak (Troy/Detroit) is a commercial litigation partner at Dickinson Wright. Over his decade-long legal career, he has developed an aptitude for detailed statutory analysis, high-pressure business negotiations and creative strategic thinking, all of which enable him to provide the sort of minute-to-minute legal guidance necessary to succeed in Michigan’s shifting business and legal cannabis landscape. Presently, Ben oversees the business formation, financing and application process for several of the firm’s Michigan-focused cannabis clients by ensuring that discrete legal needs are satisfied using those of his colleagues most suited for the undertaking. Since the passage of the MMFLA in 2016, Ben has extensively studied its provisions, the associated Emergency Rules and all other guidance promulgated by the Michigan Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation. In addition, Ben has provided his colleagues with regulatory and application preparation support concerning engagements in California, Nevada, Ohio, Florida and New Hampshire.