By Jill Johnson
This year marks a century that AGMA has provided a venue for gear manufacturers to gather and discuss the unique facets of our industry. Each year in the last 100 years, AGMA member companies have collaborated to strengthen our industry with technical standards, specialized education, statistical reports, industry presentations, and networking events. This collaboration has allowed AGMA to grow from the founding 19 companies to close to 500 members in 2016.
The founding members put their collective minds together to tackle the problems of noise and vibration of streetcar gears. The achievements of our members have made gears silent mechanisms and the optimal choice for such a wide variety of devices that touch us in every aspect of our daily lives. As we look back at the past century of technological advances, we move forward with strength to support the inventions and ideas of the next 100 years and beyond.
AGMA has celebrated prosperous times, supported its members through two world wars and economic downturns, and continues to promote ingenuity and the creative spirit within its membership.
If you are currently not an AGMA member, now is the time to join us. If you are part of our current membership, we encourage you to come celebrate with us this year. We have a wide variety of events, education, special webinars, and so much more.
The most important of these events is the AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting held May 12-14 in Amelia Island, Florida. We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary for both associations, so the event will be filled with world-class speakers, unparalleled networking events, and a look back at the history and people that built the associations into what they are today.
This summer, we will be hosting a special event in Chicago to get all of our Midwestern members involved in the centennial. On June 22, join AGMA at the Drake Hotel for an evening of networking and celebration with colleagues from the area.
Finally, the centennial year will end where AGMA began a century ago. The Fall Technical Meeting will be held October 2-4 in Pittsburgh — near the site of the first AGMA organizing meeting and the original home of AGMA’s headquarters.
Beyond the centennial events, there are other ways to get involved with AGMA this year. In April, the Spring Marketing & Forecasting Conference will be held in Rosemont, Illinois, and it offers an opportunity to network with other sales and marketing professionals from the gear industry. The conference also gives you the latest in gear industry economic data, so that you walk away with an understanding of how your business and your customers will fare over the near term.
Also this spring, AGMA is hosting a variety of education events — both in person and online. For newer employees, check out the Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing at Daley College in Chicago. AGMA hosts this “gear school” where students start by learning the fundamentals of gear manufacturing in the classroom and move to the lab where they are provided invaluable instruction and for some, a chance to cut their first gear.
More advanced gear engineers will benefit from the Gearbox System Design in May and the always-popular Gear Failure Analysis seminar in June. Both courses are taught by world-renowned experts in gearing that give students the benefit of their decades of experience in the industry.
This year is the year to become an AGMA member, or if you’re already a member, to get more involved. Our centennial year is something to be proud of, not just as an association, but as an industry. We hope you’ll join the celebration.
Presenters Discuss the Gear Market at the AGMA Marketing & Forecasting Conference on April 14-15
Growth in automotive production, housing construction, and capital spending are positive indicators for gearing in the near future. However, uncertain government policies, a slowing energy sector, and weak markets in Europe and Asia should also be considered. The AGMA Marketing & Forecasting Conference has a lineup of presenters to help make sense of these competing forces.
This year’s Marketing & Forecasting event schedule will follow a new format. On Thursday afternoon, April 14, join us for a special presentation at 3:00 p.m. followed by a networking reception and dinner. Return the following morning, April 15, for the Gear Market Report presentation from IHS Global Insight. The event will finish with lunch at noon.
Thursday’s special presentation, “Three Keys to Sales Success,” will be given by Randy Disharoon, vice president of Global Strategic Accounts for Rexnord. Designed for company sales directors and sales management, this energetic session introduces the three keys to sales success: foundations, strategies, and disciplines. Every attendee will leave empowered to set a firm foundation for consistent sales growth, implement the “plant” method of sales, and sustain the winning pace.
Disharoon has an extensive background in both industrial distribution and manufacturing, making him uniquely qualified to address the issues that both types of organizations face in today’s market environment. He holds a B.S. in engineering and two master’s degrees, including an M.B.A. At 23, he was certified as a nuclear engineer. Two years later, he was leading training courses for officers in the Navy Nuclear program. He was soon promoted to manager, overseeing the development of new courses for the Pentagon.
Disharoon entered the private sector at age 27 and immediately made an impact as the director of operations with a distribution company where his team increased overall profitability by 31 percent. From there, he moved into a technical sales role with an industrial manufacturer where his first year yielded 27-percent growth. Recently, Disharoon’s team achieved 42-percent growth. With 25 years of sales, marketing, and leadership experience, Disharoon’s presentations are relevant and interactive. His refreshing approach equips every attendee to make an immediate and lasting impact on their business.
On Friday, April 15, the conference will continue with the Gear Market Report presentation, forecasting the gear industry’s activity for the near and long term. The presenter, Tom Runiewicz, is a principal/senior economist with IHS Global Insight. As a principal for industry practice at IHS Global Insight, Runiewicz is responsible for projections about the U.S. industrial economy, including special aspects about output, prices, costs, wages, capacity levels, and profit margins. He authored sections in IHS Global Insight’s U.S. Economic, Industry Analysis, and Cost Forecasting service publications. He gained expertise in the paper and lumber, construction, steel, agricultural, and service sectors. Additional responsibilities include product line forecasting and consulting for clients that include many of the Fortune 500 and national trade associations. Runiewicz has over 20 years of experience in the economic forecasting and consulting industry.
Staff Changes in AGMA’s Education Department
The history of AGMA, “Celebrating 100 Years of Gearing,” will be published in the spring of 2016 and has a section titled, “AGMA Becomes a Force in Education.” It could have just as accurately been titled “Jan Alfieri Led AGMA’s Efforts To Be a Force in Education.”
For the thousands of industry professionals who have participated in an AGMA advanced engineering seminar, a webinar, online course, or the Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing over the last six years, Alfieri is a familiar face. From her first days with AGMA, she has been an energetic advocate for making gears more visible.
Alfieri has decided to retire at the end of February after a very successful time leading AGMA’s development in responding to the great industry need for more programs to educate and train the industry workforce. She has worked with an excellent committee of members dedicated to developing seminars and resources to help members better understand and educate their workforces.
She has also strengthened AGMA’s relationships with key instructors including Bob Errichello and Ray Drago. She created the Advanced Gear Engineering Certificate for individuals who have successfully completed five of the seven advanced engineering courses — more than 100 hours of classroom training.
Employers have a valuable resource in the Skills Assessment Tool to evaluate the detailed skills each worker has or needs to improve.
In the last few months, Alfieri was key in helping to identify and hire her successor. Because of her work, AGMA is a much stronger, more professional, and more capable organization. Fortunately, she has agreed to continue helping Casandra Blassingame in her transition, so you may see Alfieri at one of the upcoming advanced seminars.
Blassingame joined AGMA in January to serve as the new director of education. She has a strong background in higher education with emphasis on community and technical colleges. Her skills and knowledge will benefit members in their recruitment and training efforts. Additionally, Blassingame has developed and taught courses and has hired instructors. Her experience with academic and community partnerships as well as the committee structure that accompanies those relationships has prepared her well to work with AGMA’s Education Advisory Council and others in the maintenance of current courses and the development of new courses.
Blassingame may be reached by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.