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From Home Furnishing Business

AHFA Sets Manufacturing Summit Agenda

Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves will deliver the keynote address at next month's American Home Furnishings Alliance Manufacturing Summit.

The April 23 event, with the participation of the Franklin Furniture Institute and Mississippi Manufacturers Association, takes place on the campus of Mississippi State University.

Registration is $99 and includes lunch and breaks.

Headlining the program is Jack McDougle, president and founder of Blutre Strategies, a consulting firm that explores manufacturing, innovation, business, trade, energy and economic issues. 

“Our world is becoming increasingly globalized, knowledge- and technology-intensive, demand-driven, consumer-based and service-oriented,” said McDougle. His presentation, “The Evolution and Future of Manufacturing Competitiveness,” will examine the key drivers for innovation, job creation and economic prosperity. He also will dig deeper to specifically look at manufacturing competitiveness in the United States and Mississippi.

McDougle previously served as deputy undersecretary for economic affairs and deputy assistant secretary for industry analysis at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he developed strategies to reduce regulatory burdens to aerospace, energy and manufacturing industries by more than $1 billion annually. He also completed analyses and outreach leading to the passage of trade agreements with Korea, Panama, Colombia and Central America/Dominican Republic; organized trade missions ranging from Azerbaijan and Kuwait to China and India; and worked with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

“The future of manufacturing has never been more important,” McDougle said, “nor have the policy implications been more contentious and fraught with peril.”

Moderating a panel on transportation and logistics issues will be Bruce Lambert, executive director of The Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies. The institute is a multi-state research effort formed to help companies understand the relationship of transportation needs to international and commercial traffic. 

Lambert has worked for various firms researching trade and transportation activities, including the U.S. Corps of Engineers, where he influenced general maritime policy and planning. Prior to joining the Corps of Engineers, Lambert worked at the Federal Highway Administration, where he managed the Freight Analysis Framework study, the first large-scale project to outline the underlying transportation flows of the U.S. economy for national and regional policy research.

Lambert’s panel will include, among others, Mike Tagert, commissioner for the Northern district of the Mississippi Department of Transportation; and Cole Bernstein, manager of business development for the Irwin Brown Company, a broker and international freight forwarder operating in the Gulf South region.

Moderating a panel on workforce development will be Jay Moon, president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. Among the invited panel members is Mark Henry, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Also on the agenda is Greg Brinkman, senior vice president of supply chain for Badcock Home Furnishings, based in Mulberry, Fla. With nearly 30 years of global supply chain leadership experience, Brinkman is responsible for all aspects of international and domestic logistics for the 300-store retail company. His has experience in fleet and backhaul management, origin source management, supplier collaboration, inventory demand forecasting, lean logistics management, process automation and e-commerce management. He will address the topic of supply chain collaboration.

Finally, R. Pepper Crutcher Jr., a partner with Balch and Bingham LLP in Jackson, Miss., will bring an update on the Affordable Care Act; and Bill Perdue, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs, will provide an overview of pending regulatory issues, including California Prop 65 compliance, the new Technical Bulletin 117-2013, and proposed implementation rules for the federal formaldehyde emissions standard.

Morning refreshments will be available beginning at 8 a.m. on April 23. The program will begin at 8:15 and is expected to conclude at 4:30 p.m. Registration is available at ahfa.us, under EVENTS.

Attendees requiring overnight accommodations should call the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville, 662.615.9664, where a block of rooms has been reserved at a group rate of $99 per night. 

Additional sponsors for the event include the Mississippi State University Extension Service, College of Forest Resources, and Forest and Wildlife Research Center.







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