Few investments beat those which enrich us personally and professionally. A few years ago, WHMA embarked on a journey to vastly upgrade the offering at their annual conferences. WHMA conferences of recent years have been un-paralleled opportunities to learn, grow, share, and discover new approaches to many aspects of the wire harness business. The WHMA Conference Committee has chosen excellent motivational speakers, as well as personal and professional enrichment presentations, that are still yielding results. I recently spoke with Jim Manke, Executive Director of WHMA. It’s clear the 2017 Conference, scheduled for February 27 – March 2, in San Antonio, Texas, will be another stellar event.

One of the departures from tradition this year is the location. “We kind of got stuck in that Orlando, Vegas, Arizona rotation,” Jim said, “so this will be a new venue and we’re excited about San Antonio and all that it has to offer.” The event will be held at the San Antonio Marriott River Center. “You literally step outside the hotel, and you are on River Walk, with its renowned specialty bars, restaurants, and unique shops,” he noted.

The next thing the Committee tackled was who to have as a guest speaker. After reviewing many options, the group picked pro football’s legendary Joe Theismann. Mr. Theismann is an entrepreneur and the former star quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He has spent the last two decades working on NFL broadcasts for ESPN and the NFL Network. His keynote talk is titled, “Game Plan for Success,” and is sure to be a hit. “It’s certainly a recognizable name,” Jim explained,” not only as a football player, but now as a TV commentator.”

Other timely topics to be discussed at the conference include:

Art Thomas of the Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership, will lead a three hour interactive session on the “Total Cost of Ownership”.

Dave Pheteplace of Bishop Research returns with his always popular “Industry Trends Update”.

Paul Evans, Director of the Production and Simulation Technologies Department, Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®) will make a provocative presentation entitled, “Future Trends in Robotics for Manufacturing Applications”. This presentation takes a look to the near-future, as robots transition to operate in high-mix low-volume production.

The Committee has also changed the event flow for the 2017 conference. “Typically we would start on a Wednesday with a golf outing, have a reception that evening, then go all day Thursday and half of Friday. This year, we moved it up so folks will arrive on Monday, we will have a reception that night, then two full days of programming Tuesday and Wednesday,” Jim explained. The golf outing at La Cantera will be Thursday.

Part of the feedback from last year’s event was the extent to which members truly value the peer to peer discussions, so the decision was made to bump the round tables from two to three hours. “One of the other things we heard,” Jim revealed, “and more so from the attendees rather than from the exhibitors, is that they felt rushed and didn’t get the time they needed for in-depth discussions with suppliers; so we beefed up the exhibit hours too.”

There will be a Riverwalk Boat Cruise reception to capstone the second day of programming. This part of the conference is always a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the fellowship of industry peers. This is truly an event not to be missed for those looking to reinvigorate their professional efforts in the industry.

For full program details, and to register for the event, please visit WHMA.org

By Joe Tito, Wiring Harness News