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Manufacturing First Shines Spotlight on Industry

Representatives from leading manufacturers will descend Oct. 30 on the KI Convention Center in Green Bay for the eighth annual Manufacturing First Expo & Conference.

More than 1,500 people, including 500 high school students, are expected at the event, which is designed for Wisconsin manufacturers to showcase industry advances, highlight successes and announce their latest developments.

“Manufacturing is a big segment of our economy, with 1 in 5 jobs in the area tied to it,” said Ann Franz, executive director of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. “Manufacturing plays such a vital role in our region’s economy and Manufacturing First provides an excellent opportunity for those working in the sector to come together and learn about the latest industry trends while also making personal connections with others in the industry.”

This year, Manufacturing First features two keynote presentations. David Kohler, CEO and president of the Kohler Co., will discuss his company’s 145 years of manufacturing and innovation while Mike Staver, the author of “Leadership Isn’t for Cowards” will share his thoughts on leadership.

In addition to the keynote addresses, there will be three special presentations, Manufacturing First features special presentations, 12 breakout sessions, an expo hall with more than 180 exhibitors and multiple networking opportunities for attendees.

The three special presentations include Ruder Ware attorney Sara talking about not to do in the workplace, Bill Elliott of First Business Growth Funding on alternative financing options for manufacturers and Bryan Brandt of Oshkosh Corp. discussing how a company’s brand and culture need to work together to support business goals.

The event’s 12 breakout sessions focus on a variety of topics from Industry 4.0 topics and dealing with the talent gap to creating an intentional culture and disaster recovery. A full lineup is available at

The high school students attending the event will hear a special presentation from Kohler and also get an opportunity to tour the expo floor and talk to manufacturers about potential career opportunities.

To register for Manufacturing First, please visit

Manufacturing First’s presenting sponsors including First Business Bank, the NEW Manufacturing Alliance and Insight Publications.

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