A few words on the AME Boston 2017 Conference
by Joe Rizzo, NELC Director
Each year, the incoming Conference Chair, tries to deliver a Conference that is better than the previous year. From the “buzz” of the conversations in the hallways and the conversations at breakfasts and lunch, the Boston Conference delivered. The attendees thought, as a group, that the Keynote Speakers were the best ever.
The Conference opened with Benjamin Zander, the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and a guest conductor around the world, as the first keynote speaker. With the playing of the piano, the singalongs and the discussion of “the art of the possibility”, Benjamin set the tone of the conference as he created excitement, enthusiasm, and fun for all of the attendees.
Other keynoters included: Paul Aker, “Lean is simple, Lean is fun”; Daniel Gilbert, “Finding happiness – you can’t always trust your mother”; Wilbert (Wil) James, the seventh president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky; Max Major, a mentalist, who dazzled the audience by predicting words and numbers that randomly selected people in the audience would say. Max also gave a few lessons on how to read body language; Dave Marquet, a retired Navy Captain of the U.S.S. Santa Fe, oversaw its transformation from the worst performing submarine in the fleet to the best performing sub in fleet by empowering his crew to solve problems and make decisions.; Margarette Purvis, head of the Food Bank For New York City, talked about how Toyota help improve the operations for the Food Bank in New York City; John Shook, Chairman and CEO of the Lean Enterprise Institute, spoke on People-Centric Leadership; and Raye Wentworth, Senior Manager of the New Balance Manufacturing facilities in Skowhegan, ME. After her talk, many people came up to me and told me that Raye’s talk was the best of the conference as it was genuine, from the heart, and was the right message for the people in the audience.
The Conference also provided over 30 plant tours to companies in and around Boston, Maine, and Rhode Island. Curiously enough, the first Plant Tour to fill up was Zoo New England, the Franklin Park Zoo in Dorchester, MA. The next tours to fill up were New Balance in Lawrence, MA and Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick, ME. All of the tours were well organized by the Plant Tour hosts. I expect the ratings for the Plant Tours will be very high.
One of my personal highlights from the Conference was inducting Jerry Bussell into the AME Hall of Fame. Read more about the induction here...
Next year’s Conference will be in San Diego. The Conference Committee is already working on making the San Diego Conference better than the Boston Conference.