2018 Operations Managers Meeting

Online registration for this event is now closed. If you would like to register, please contact Heather at houthuse@awpa.org

Click here for hotel reservations.

Click here for a printable brochure.

Each year at the Operations Managers Meeting, Operations personnel from around the country get together to find solutions to the challenges presented by today’s manufacturing environment – whether it’s difficulty with safety regulations and environmental management or process improvements – discussing the problem with others in similar positions provides insight and new perspectives. Combined with Roundtable discussions with other plant managers, and a plant tour of the Fort Wayne Metals campus, this year’s program has real information that Operations Managers can use to improve operations in their own facilities.

The Operations Managers Meeting will begin on Tuesday morning with registration and committee meetings.  Tuesday afternoon is the General Session and Roundtable Discussion Groups followed by a reception and dinner at the hotel.  Wednesday’s schedule includes breakfast and a Plant Tour of the Fort Wayne Metals facilities.  We will have you back to the hotel by 3:30 pm, with a stop at Indianapolis Airport by 3:00 pm to drop off those with evening flights.


This year, for the first time, we will be touring Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corporation. Fort Wayne Metals produces highly specialized wire and wire products for medical devices. The company was formed in 1971. With a strong focus on innovation and research, Fort Wayne Metals has developed new alloys, processes and products to spark medical innovation and save lives. The opportunity to tour the campus should not be missed!

All attendees are required to take the bus if they would like to participate in the tours. Private cars are not allowed – no exceptions please.


This two-day conference has been designed specifically for Wire and Wire Products Industry Operations Professionals, to provide education specific to their needs, and to provide networking opportunities.  A steering committee of experienced operations managers sort through the issues of the day, to choose presentations to provide information that will be an immediate take-away to improve your operations. 

Here’s the program for Tuesday afternoon:

Building a Safety-First Culture

Safety is a uniting element of the manufacturing industry. Everyone knows it’s important and essential to operations, and everyone is trying to improve their record. This year’s meeting will address safety in two ways. First, we’ll hear from safety personnel at several different AWPA member facilities ranging in size from small to large, with an overview of the safety program at their company. It’s a great chance to see what others are doing, and get some fresh ideas. Then we’ll hear a panel discussion covering current issues, like how companies are encouraging improvement, without awards programs, per OSHA’s new guidelines.


Workforce Development: Employee Retention

It’s no secret. Your best employees have the power to take their skills elsewhere. And that leaves your leadership teams with an enormous challenge: winning the war for top talent!  This trend reaches far beyond just manufacturing. The Gallup organization reports close to 71% of all employees feel unsupported, detached, or disengaged from their current employer. The impact costs US businesses more than $450 billion in lost productivity each year.

The good news is we already know how to discourage top talent from leaving: keep them engaged. With an engaged workforce, employees work harder, have fewer safety incidents, and are more loyal and profitable to their company. Lisa Ryan, an award-winning speaker and author of ten books, will work with us to develop employee engagement initiatives and strategies that keep your top talent and best clients from becoming someone else’s.

The session will cover:

  • Crucial reasons for motivating and retaining employees
  • How to implement the T.H.A.N.K.S. process for maximum results
  • Strategies for putting engagement practices into action
  • Skillsets for effectively identifying and recognizing accomplishments
  • Effective ways to strengthen their emotional connection to the organization

It’s a fantastic training opportunity for your managers – they will return with new skills and ideas they can implement in your facilities to improve your workforce.

Drug-testing: Best Practices for a Changing Environment

OSHA’s Injury Reporting and Retaliatory Drug Testing Rule has been in the news a lot lately. Part of the rule may be on hold, part of the law is in litigation. Challenges for employers in complying with the rules are increasing as more states are legalizing marijuana. How can you make sure your company is in compliance? Janet Kopenhaver, AWPA’s Director of Government Relations, will have the latest information from the National Association of Manufacturers about how to navigate these new requirements.

Revoked and Revised Regulations: What They Mean for the Industry, and How Will They Affect Your Company and Employees?

There has been serious regulatory upheaval in the first years of the Trump Administration. It’s hard to know which regulations have been implemented, which have been revoked, which are tied up in court, and which are merely on pause while they are being re-evaluated by the agency responsible. From the new overtime rules, to new National Labor Relations Board decisions, to EPA and OSHA regulations – how can you determine what regulations are actually in force? Will the new regulatory climate hold? Janet Kopenhaver will give us the scoop on all the regulatory issues AWPA has been tracking in the new Administration – and there are plenty!

Supplier Presentation: Paramount Die

In today’s world, wire producers are being challenged to increase productivity with dwindling human capital and increasing workloads.  Join us to learn how wire drawers are embracing new wire die technologies and using analytics to strategically deploy resources on targeted initiatives that yield the highest return on investment. Joao Norona, Director of Product Development at Paramount Die, will discuss the latest technology.

Roundtable Discussion Groups: Fresh Ideas from New Faces

Do you have a situation at your plant for which you could use some friendly advice?  Have you solved a nagging problem and would like to share your success?  Then our popular Roundtable Discussion Groups are exactly what you need.  Sometimes an outside perspective can generate solutions. These groups are the perfect opportunity for you to share your knowledge and seek information and feedback from other plant managers in the wire industry.

The AWPA is committed to providing a program full of practical advice which Operations Managers can use to add value to plant performance and improve the bottom line of their companies.  We hope you will join us!

Who Should Attend?

Often employees wear many hats – if you have employees that fall into any of these categories, they will benefit from this program.

  • Operations Managers
  • Safety Managers
  • Human Resource Professionals
  • Employees with Regulatory Compliance Responsibilities