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IMA Executive News & Views Blog

Major Industrial Leaders Headlining 1st Annual Midwest Manufacturing Business Conference in Quad Cities

The inaugural Midwest Manufacturing Business Conference, being held in the Quad Cities on April 24-25, 2017 has brought together some of the largest names in manufacturing. Keynote and featured speakers from across the Midwest are converging to bring their insights and expertise to help accelerate the growth of mid-market manufacturing companies across the heartland. More than thirty speakers will address conference attendees during the 2-day educational and networking event. Featured keynotes and speakers include:

John Ratzenberger ­ American Made: Best known for playing mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the long-running NBC sitcom Cheers, multi-Emmy-nominated actor and accomplished screenwriter, director, producer and author.

Patricia Miller ­ Matrix IV: Patricia Miller is CEO and president of Matrix IV Inc. in Woodstock, Ill. Her turnaround efforts and technological improvements helped make Matrix IV a 2015 Business Champion winner.

Greg Baise ­ Illinois Manufacturers’ Association: Gregory W. Baise is the president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA), a statewide advocacy organization representing more than 4,000 member manufacturing companies.

Dr. Donald McNeeley ­ Chicago Tube & Iron: Don is the President and CEO of Chicago Tube and Iron, a graduate of the Harvard Business School, earned his Ph.D. in Economics, and adjunct professor at Northwestern University.

Jim Carr ­ Carr Machine & Tool: In 2004, after 26 years of experience and full-time employment working for his father, Jim Carr became the sole shareholder and President of CARR Machine & Tool. By 2008, the company reached record sales after 35 years in business.

Marc Bowers ­ St. Louis Makes: Marc is the Executive Director of St. Louis Makes, a manufacturing focused nonprofit organization that exists to promote best practices in new product innovation, product management and business development.

Santiago Jaramillo ­ Emplify: Santiago Jaramillo has received awards like ‘Best Speaker’ from Resolve 2016 and ‘World’s Coolest Entrepreneur’ from Inc. Magazine. After founding Emplify’s flagship mobile engagement platform in his college dorm room, he transformed how organizations of all types connect with their audiences.

Dr. Madgi Azer  Illinois Applied Research Institute: Dr Azer leads the implementation of applied research, development and engineering in digital manufacturing, and intelligent machining processes, for the Illinois Applied Research Institute.

Additional speakers for the 2-day event come from across the Midwest region, and include major manufacturers, employers and educators, including:

University of Iowa

University of Illinois

Western Illinois University


John Deere

Genesis Systems

Estes Construction

Pella Corporation

Van Meter



Registration is now open for the Conference, which will be hosted at the QC Waterfront Convention Center on Monday and Tuesday, April 24th and 25th, 2017. The nonpartisan, nonprofit Conference is the Quad Cities’ premier event for manufacturing, attracting nearly 600 attendees who come together for two full days of networking, professional development and business growth insights.

Tickets can be purchased online at

Industry speakers will share their experience and expertise on a range of topics including leadership, sales, marketing, technology, additive manufacturing, entrepreneurship, workforce development, cybersecurity, digital commerce and more. This year¹s Conference theme ³Conquering Today, Competing for Tomorrow² is designed to help manufacturers move forward with real-world insights from field-tested manufacturing leaders, improving operations, competitiveness, market reach and strategic advantages.

Conference attendees also have the opportunity to participate in a series of Peer Roundtables, featuring key industry topics and expert discussion facilitators, Executive ³Speed Dating² (one-on-one discussion sessions with conference attendees and participants), Peer Panels (CEO roundtable moderated interviews), Peer Networking Sessions and much more.

The Midwest Manufacturing Business Conference is presented by the Midwest Manufacturing Business Coalition, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing mid-market manufacturing in the U.S. It is also generously underwritten by many organizations including Chicago Tube & Iron, The University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, Prag¹madik, Santry 360, My Wingman, LLC., and Great Western Bank.

To register or learn more about the 1st Annual Midwest Manufacturing Business Conference, explore our website at, or follow us on Twitter, @mmbconf. To apply for media credentials, please contact Andrea Olson,