Crain’s [M]Power event provides a strategic forum for NEO manufacturers

October 13th, 2015

Talan Products CEO Steve Peplin was among nearly 400 area manufacturing executives who attended the Crain’s Cleveland Business [M]Power event on Sept. 30 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.

The event was designed as a forum for manufacturing company leaders throughout Northeast Ohio to exchange ideas and discuss the challenges facing the area’s manufacturing industry, both now and in the future.

“It was a really engaging event, with a lot of the big manufacturing companies in attendance,” Peplin says. “It was great to see how so many people in our industry want to take an active role in helping shape where we’re headed.”

Peplin was among three regional leaders invited to participate in the panel discussion “What Keeps Northeast Ohio Manufacturers Up at Night?” Peplin joined Shiloh Industries CEO Ramzi Hermiz and Ohio Aerospace Institute President Mike Heil to discuss the challenges faced by area manufacturers, and how to address them.

“I talked about Talan and how I worry about us losing our edge,” Peplin says. “It’s our passion, our mojo – essentially, it’s our culture. Complacency is the enemy as we try to grow from a $40 million company to a $100 million company with hundreds of employees. Could we lose what makes us special? And how do you try to keep that sizzle that sets our company apart?”

Peplin and the other panel members also discussed the future of the economy and how government incentives could impact manufacturing companies.

“We’ve had economic growth for six or seven years,” Peplin says. “So when the business cycle ends, will we have a slow downturn or another sharp downturn, like the last recession?”

Prior to the panel discussion, Aleris CEO Sean Stack delivered the event’s keynote address, followed by breakout sessions focused on topics of interest to manufacturers, such as workforce development, operating in foreign markets and cash flow management.

Manufacturing continues to be a critical industry in Northeast Ohio, which is why Peplin would like to see more events like [M]Power – where industry stakeholders can discuss their pain points and share strategies to address them.

“Ohio has more manufacturing per capita than any other state, so we really are the heart of manufacturing,” Peplin says. “Events like this are an opportunity to come together and discuss the important topics that are going to affect all of us moving forward. It was really an eye-opening experience for me.”

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