As I begin my term as 2017 SME president, I do so with a great deal of optimism, enthusiasm and pride. I’m very proud to carry on the legacy of those who’ve come before me and look forward to leading the organization in its continued efforts to serve the manufacturing community.
For more than 80 years, SME has been dedicated to this invaluable industry. Through our education foundation, training and development, media, membership and trade shows and conferences, SME offers valued resources and services to current professionals and future generations. We provide scholarships and manufacturing curriculum to high schools and colleges around the nation, which ultimately maps back to SME’s overall purpose—to advance manufacturing and attract future generations.
As an industry that alone would be the ninth largest economy in the world, supporting over 12 million workers, getting it right matters. One of the greatest challenges manufacturers face today, with arguably the largest potential impact to remaining competitive, relates to the workforce. A company’s ability to attract and retain employees is critical, as is its ability to keep workers current on the latest tools, technologies and processes.
Like healthcare, financial services and IT, the manufacturing industry is under tremendous pressure to tackle the widening skills gap problem. Currently, there are 600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled because people lack the job skills needed to perform in these positions, Baby Boomers are retiring and tools and technologies are advancing. Manufacturers face an onslaught of hard-to-fill open positions in areas such as machining, welding, mechatronics, CNC programming, engineering, robotics and automation.
Over the next 10 years, it’s predicted that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be available. However, without the right skilled workers for those jobs, estimates show that 2 million of those jobs could go unfilled. As manufacturing tools and technologies progress, companies find it increasingly difficult to recruit workers with the proper skills needed to compete in today’s advanced society.
Additionally, innovation and advancements in manufacturing technology are moving rapidly. For professionals and companies to remain competitive, they must keep pace with those changes. While technical innovation can provide great opportunity for companies, it can be a challenge for workers who are unable to master the constantly changing skills needed to succeed.
Working in today’s high-tech and innovative facilities with advanced technologies mandates that we equip students going into manufacturing fields with the proper technical training in math and science as well as analytical and problem-solving skills. That’s where the SME Education Foundation is vital. If you’re not already involved with or donating to the Education Foundation, I encourage you to consider doing so—we can each make a difference to keep manufacturing strong and fill the future workforce pipeline.
To further SME’s appeal, we’ve structured our membership offerings to cater to all aspects of an individual’s professional or academic career. From high school students to postsecondary students to emerging professionals to mid and senior-level professionals to retirees, there are many paths an individual can take to be successful and/or give back. SME members can stay informed about new manufacturing positions, internships, mentorships, leadership opportunities, and most importantly, they can build their professional network with others in industry. I’ve taken different avenues throughout my manufacturing career, as I have as an SME volunteer. One constant for me is SME and the network I’ve built over the years.
During my presidency, I plan to be active and visible, and will continue to promote our membership benefits and the good work we do. Please join me as an ambassador for SME and stewards of manufacturing. Thank you for your commitment to SME and manufacturing careers.
SME has recognized several individuals who will assume new leadership roles this year. These manufacturing professionals were installed at SME’s annual banquet on Nov. 12. SME officers are chosen by a nominating committee and selected by the SME Board of Directors. The directors and Member Council representatives are elected annually by the entire voting membership of the organization.
2017 international directors:
2017 Member Council representatives:
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