Building and Keeping Talent: Conference Focuses on Manufacturing

August 26, 2015

Two nationally known leaders in manufacturing, James Reeb, former Director of Manufacturing for Caterpillar and Carlos Cardoso, former President and CEO of Kennametal, Inc., will be featured at the 2015 Manufacturing Best Practices Conference: Building and Keeping Oklahoma’s Talent Pipeline on Sept. 2 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, 6808 S 107th E Ave, Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition, Kristine Sexter, President of WorkWise Productions and FindTrainKeep, who serves as an industrial and organizational consultant, will share the latest trends in recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent.

The one-day conference is designed to help manufacturers in the state with current workforce trends and bridge the gap in workforce skills and the current labor pool. Guest panelists will provide perspectives from large, medium and small size manufacturing companies. These panelists and industry leaders will share strategies and supporting data on the return on investment that affects employment costs, the biggest operational expense for any company. Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett and TCC President and CEO Leigh B. Goodson are also scheduled to take part in the conference.

This conference is presented in conjunction with a $3.9 million grant awarded to TCC in 2012 and helps serve Tulsa area industry and the community in aviation and manufacturing fields. Since being awarded the grant by the U.S. Department of Labor, TCC has served 665 students in aviation and manufacturing workforce development programs with half of the students moving directly into the workforce in aviation or manufacturing. The program allows students to earn up to four national certifications which help move them seamlessly into the workforce.

“TCC is working with community and business partners to provide employers with solutions to the challenges of recruiting and retaining workers in addition to providing a workforce with the skills they need for local employers,” said Goodson.

Local manufacturers are faced with a retiring workforce, a skills gap in younger workers, and a high turnover rate. Statistics show one in five employees will leave a new company within 45 days of starting the job. The participants in the TCC program have an 80% retention rate, with four in five still working in the aviation or manufacturing industry.

TCC is offering a new Associate of Applied Science in Manufacturing Production Technician degree beginning fall 2015 allowing students to finish with a degree and one or more national certifications. Also new this fall, Occupational Safety and Health Administration training is built into the Safety course curriculum. When students complete the course, they earn an OSHA-30 certificate at the same time, which is considered a general industry supervisory level for safety training.

Sessions for the 2015 Manufacturing Best Practices Conference: Building and Keeping Oklahoma’s Talent Pipeline include Operational Strategies for Manufacturers, Turn Your Biggest Expense into Your Biggest Success, Maximize Your ROI: Leverage Generational and Cultural Differences, and Proven Recruiting and Retention Strategies for Modern Manufacturers.

For tickets or more information, go to

About the Speakers:

Cardoso (seen in photo) is an advocate of manufacturing and of educating students to prepare them for a career in the industry. He championed those causes as past chairman of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, a director of the National Association of Manufacturers and member of the U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council.

Reeb worked for nearly 40 years at Caterpillar. He retired in 2010 with extensive management experience in manufacturing, engineering, quality control, supply chain and purchasing. He managed all functions with Operations, Supply Chain and Procurement. Most recently, he has worked with the Manufacturing Institute, a non-profit organization affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturing that addresses the shortage of skilled workers in today’s manufacturing environment.

Sexter is an industrial and organizational consultant who has devoted over 22 years to studying success and professional commitment. The Oklahoma Alliance for Manufacturers has called her, “‘THE’ authority in teaching executives and leadership teams how to find, train and keep great employees.” She is the author of six books, including “Rolling Out the Recognition: Employee Retention Strategies for Manufacturers.