The 2022 WHMA 29th Annual Wire Harness Conference held in Tucson, Arizona on February 15-17, at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa was an impressive conference. A total of 31 exhibitors and nearly 150 attendees took part in this in-person event, which was excellent considering the current climate. Attendees and exhibitors were thrilled to be back in person, sharing ideas as freely as fist and elbow bumps. WHMA is a community and WHMA’s Annual Wire Harness Conference is where we build it.
“Virtual education may be possible, but it cannot replicate the experience of an OEM/manufacturer and supplier connecting face-to-face on a show floor or while attending a networking event,” states Joe Deman, chairman of the WHMA Board. “At its heart, business is a social science…. It’s about connecting with people. Our community realizes that. They realize the value of our educational sessions and visiting the exhibitors to see their products in person. They see the value of connecting with other like-minded industry professionals.”
This year’s technical education workshop, “Selling to the Federal Government” was presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration – Arizona District Office. The attendees learned about SBA resources and certification programs that will help their businesses successfully identify and compete for federal contract opportunities. For more information on these programs, visit sba.gov/local to get in touch with your local PTAC Advisor who will assist with finding the right small business specialist for your needs.
IPC’s chief economist, internationally recognized thought leader, global futurist and trendcaster, Shawn DuBravac, presented his keynote session, “Living in Uncertain Times: Current Supply Chain Dynamics and the Economic Outlook.” Every year, his economic outlook presentation is a big hit at the conference, and this year was no exception. The audience was captivated by the topics discussed, such as the current sentiment of the wire harness industry, supply chain dynamics, transportation costs, labor pressures, and inflation expectations and implications.
Keynote speaker, Cynthia A. Watson, Ph.D., dean of faculty and academic affairs, National War College, National Defense University, writes and speaks widely on the professional military education, China’s modernization challenges, and U.S. military trends. During her presentation, “Keeping Xi Jinping Up at Night,” she discussed many aspects of fear of internal threats that really motivate the Chinese Party’s behavior in a myriad of different areas. The discussion focused on the strategic context of the P.R.C., issues confronting P.R.C. at home, Xi’s returns to ‘the CCP state’, preventing chaos and returning the CCP to centrality in daily life.
Peter Zeihan, geopolitical strategist, combines an expert understanding of demography, economics, energy, politics, technology, and security to best prepare for an uncertain future. His keynote session titled “Manufacturing a New Age” guided the audience through the deglobalization whirlwind. He discussed how changes in consumption and labor will affect many of the industries we depend upon and support, most notably metals processing, automotive, aerospace, semiconductors, and electronics.
Olympic fans eagerly anticipated John K. Coyle’s keynote presentation, “Resiliency 2.0 – Applying Design Thinking to Stress and Resiliency.” Coyle, CEO, Design Thinking Academy and Olympic medalist, is one of the world’s leading experts in “design thinking” and innovation. He has a special talent is weaving facts, examples, and business principles into engaging, accessible stories that bring his topics and frameworks to life. In his presentation, Coyle explored a new model of resiliency, one where proactive challenges are designed to build capacity for ever greater performance under pressure, while learning the latest neuroscience of recovery. Showing the audience that they can change their relationship with stress by using the 3R method – reduce, recover and reframe.
“I was impressed with the quality of the keynote speakers, their knowledge of the topics and the timeliness of the subject matter. In my opinion, these were the best and most effective speakers of the all the WHMA conferences that I have attended,” expressed John N, Tomaz, Wardwell Braiding Co.
Roundtable topics included status and standard updates of IPC/WHMA-A-620, supply chain issues and inflation, design/quoting challenges, ultrasonic welding, crimp quality, HV processing, qualifying, and quantifying new opportunities, government incentives and what a Mexico wire harness operations can and can’t do for you.
The WHMA Conference would not be complete without its exhibit hall and plenty of networking opportunities. During breaks and luncheons and evening reception, attendees had the opportunity to speak with exhibitors many times during the day. Additionally, WHMA hosted a networking event at the Savoy Opera House where attendees immersed themselves in the Old West of the late 1880s. Dinner, drinks, a live entertainment and even a donkey rounded out the eveining! Naturally, there was plenty of time to network with other professionals in the industry.
“The opportunity to network with peers in the industry is invaluable. This conference provides a real crystal ball into the future of my company as I get to learn from those who have already faced the decisions I face today and will face tomorrow,” attested Doug Chowning, American Syscomptel.
To view images from this year’s conference, visit www.flickr.com/photos/136855120@N02/albums/72177720296853752.