Leaders should get away from the office


Company presidents don’t get where they are by staying in their office all day staring at a computer.

Innovation, research, development, and growth don’t come from a spreadsheet but instead by working with others and listening to new ideas from outside sources.

How does one do this?

We suggest starting at an annual meeting or conference such as the AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting.

Harvard Business Review said it clearly:

“When executed well, these meetings are certainly worth the time and expense. They can serve as a powerful catalyst to align leaders, develop solutions to problems, introduce new strategies, and fuel collaboration across the organization. But many companies squander this rare opportunity to harness the collective knowledge of their frontline leaders.”

There are many benefits to taking time away from the daily routine and getting away from the physical building where you work. Here are some great reasons to sign up for a conference or business event today:

Solace in numbers

Chances are someone before you has already gone through what you are experiencing. Another company has faced or is currently facing the same challenges as you and your team. Hearing from your peers shows you are not alone, and it can lead to solid solutions that make everyone stronger in the long run.

Sitting at a table and talking to one of your competitors might not seem like a good place to air your dirty laundry, however, the idea of these conferences isn’t to see your industry get smaller and less important in the world of manufacturing, it is to come together for the betterment as a whole. Your competition might just have the solution you need. Interactions such as these can build lasting relationships among leaders and might even lead to future business ventures.

Expert insights

Another reason you should go to a conference is you are going to get the latest information available about challenges the industry is facing. A good event presents attendees with subject matter experts in areas important to members (economic forecasts, workforce challenges, succession planning, R&D, supply chain, and so much more). Access to these experts gives you the chance to ask questions you might never get to otherwise.

Bringing these experts in house could cost $30,000 (easily) for one visit — but with your registration fee, you get access to four or five of them while still getting the same great information you can bring back to your plant floor or company. It is an investment that will have an ROI for years to come. Additionally, many of these conferences or events give you presentations that you can reference later. This is an added benefit you can share with your team.

Building up your team

Not everyone brings multiple people from their company with them due to expenses but when they do, there are many added benefits. Most leaders have a VP or director they are grooming or mentoring for the next level in the company. There is no better way to help build their confidence and relationships in the industry than by bringing them to an event where they can meet people in the same space. This allows you to divide the networking, and it shows your employees that you trust them and want them to succeed. It also allows protégés to build their contact list and meet people they normally wouldn’t have time for.

On the back end, when you leave the office, you are showing your managers you trust them to handle whatever comes their way. It demonstrates to your employees that you have complete faith that they will get the work done, and you don’t need to be there watching their every step. This kind of hands-off leadership allows new leaders to emerge and feel confident back at the factory.

Take a break

Lastly, but probably most importantly, going to an event or conference is a much needed break from the routine that can set in at the office. Creative thinking doesn’t happen in a space where you are seeing the same computer screen every day inside the same four walls, sitting in the same old office chair. In fact, for some leaders, that office only means work and stress.

Giving yourself the opportunity to get away from your plant, your company, your home, or even your town and state, can free the mind to look at things with a fresh perspective. It will allow you to take time for just yourself to think. Today, we don’t have much time to think about anything, much less anything new and exciting, because we are usually putting out fires and handling what is in front of us.

Don’t become chained to your desk chair. Don’t get stuck in a routine that doesn’t allow for new ideas or innovation. Sign up for a summit; join a roundtable exercise, or travel for a conference (such as the AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting) and see what kind of thinking you can really do when you give your mind  the time.

Upcoming Education

Fundamentals of Gear Design and Analysis
January 18-20  |  Clearwater Beach, Florida

Gain a solid and fundamental understanding of gear geometry, types and arrangements, and design principles. Starting with the basic definitions of gears, conjugate motion and the Laws of Gearing, learn the tools needed to understand the inter-relation and coordinated motion operating within gear pairs and multi-gear trains. Basic gear system design process and gear measurement and inspection techniques will also be explained. In addition, the fundamentals of understanding the step-wise process of working through the iterative design process required to generate a gear pair will be reviewed. Learn the steps and issues involved in design refinement and some manufacturing considerations. An explanation of basic gear measurement techniques, how measurement equipment and test machines implement these techniques, and how to interpret the results from these basic measurements will also be covered. 

Analytical Gear Chart Interpretation
February 10

This course is an introduction to the methodology of analytical gear inspection and the evaluation and interpretation of the resulting data. The application of this information to identify and correct manufacturing errors will be explored. Additionally, it reviews chart interpretation and applies inspection data to understand the causes and cures of manufacturing errors. Many chart examples are used to understand cause and effect.

Detailed Gear Design
February 22-24

There is a distinct difference between “designing” a gear and “optimizing” a gear design. In this course, we will address the optimization process via an understanding of those factors beyond basic bending and pitting ratings. Optimization may focus on load capacity, economy of production, or minimization of overall gear system envelope. In this course, we will learn how to improve gear designs via optimization and gain new insight into concepts presented through illustrations and demonstrations. Explore all factors that go into good gear design from life cycle, load, torque, tooth, optimization, and evaluating consequences.   

The AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting is a chance to gather with fellow gear industry insiders. (Courtesy: Mark Skalny)


2022 Fall Technical Meeting Call for Papers
Deadline: January 14

It is required that all drafts of your paper be submitted electronically via the online portal as a Microsoft Word document. Read AGMA’s Guidelines for the Preparation of FTM Technical Papers to assist you in the preparation of your paper. Note: Please review the guidelines carefully even if you have previously presented an FTM paper, as various items have changed. Take a deep dive into the gear industry at AGMA’s Fall Technical Meeting (FTM). This meeting brings together top researchers from across the globe who will provide the latest information on their peer-reviewed gear industry research. Network with the industry experts, academics, and engineers; ask your burning questions; and see what is in the future of this industry.

AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting Speakers Announced
2022 AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting
March 31 – April 2  |  Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

The exclusive, members-only meeting is back in person with an unparalleled lineup. From supply chain management to economic forecasts, this year’s meeting will host some of the greatest experts in the industry to speak directly to the gear and bearing leaders. There will even be a curated roundtable workshop for a hands-on experience that will leave you with great ideas to bring back for your strategic plan.


  • Ken Gronbach: Demographer, futurist, and author, KGC Direct.
  • Jim Meil: Principal industry analyst and economist for ACT Research Co.
  • Afshin Molavi: Director, emerge85 Lab, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
  • Erica Orange: Executive vice president & chief operating officer, The Future Hunters.
  • Zal Phiroz, Ph.D.: Business & supply chain expert, InsightEconomics.
  • Joe Theismann: Entrepreneur, former quarterback, Washington Redskins, ESPN & NFL network analyst.

Calendar of Events

February 22-24 — Detailed Gear Design — WebEx

February 23 — Aerospace Committee Meeting — WebEx

February 24 — Metals and Metallurgy Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 1 — Gear Accuracy Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 2 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 3 — Nomenclature Committee Meeting — WebEx

March 1-3 — Detailed Gear Design — Online

March 9-10 — Integration and Trade-offs in Gear and Bearing Systems — Virtual Course

March 22-24 — Gearbox CSI — Concordville, Pennsylvania

March 31-April 2 — AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting — Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

April 4-8 — Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing — Chicago, Illinois

April 14 — Gear Accuracy Committee Meeting — WebEx