Mhlnews 1593 Forrest Sawyer

ProMat 2009: Highly Anticipated Keynote

Dec. 1, 2008
Along with hundreds of exhibits, ProMat will also offer a keynote presentation addressing what many experts have called the most important challenge facing material handling: the changing workforce.
Forrest Sawyer

Tuesday, 9:00 am
Along with hundreds of exhibits, ProMat will also offer a keynote presentation addressing what many experts have called the most important challenge facing material handling: the changing workforce.

With Baby Boomers set to retire in great numbers, manufacturers, distributors and warehousing professionals are seeing the beginning of major shifts in workplace demographics, including a declining working population through 2025. The result: a shrinking workforce and an immediate loss of supply-chain experience.

The ProMat keynote, titled “Building the Workforce of the Future,” will provide an in-depth look at this looming crisis and examine what companies can do to adapt to these changes, attract and retain the next generation of workers and take advantage of new competitive opportunities.

Renowned television journalist Forrest Sawyer will moderate a panel of five experts at the forefront of this important issue. Panelists will offer real-world perspectives on the looming changes as well as practical ideas that will help attendees adapt.

The keynote is free to registered show attendees and starts before the show opens.

Forrest Sawyer is one of America's most respected television journalists, with more than 24 years of experience reporting from around the world. He is a veteran of ABC, CBS and MSNBC. He has anchored the ABC magazine programs “Day One” and “Turning Point,” as well as “World News Sunday,” and “Good Morning America.” For a decade, Sawyer was the primary replacement anchor on ABC's “Nightline.”

Keynote Panelists

Rob Hoffman
Director of business development, Chicago Workforce Board
Rob Hoffman has been the director of business development at the Chicago Workforce Board since April 2007. He is charged with creating a training regime for the transportation, distribution and logistics sector in Chicago. He develops entry-level training, highschool preparation, a comprehensive system of modular, incumbent training, as well as curricula for more specialized associate and four-year degrees.

In April 2008, Hoffman became, concurrently, director of Chicago LEADS, a mayoral initiative to improve the focus of publicly funded, pre-employment preparation and recruitment systems. In partnership with business, LEADS strives to shape the creation of a new, integrated education, training and recruitment network that is responsive to current and future demand for skilled labor in the logistics industries.

From 2000 to 2007, Hoffman was a founding member of World Business Chicago, the region’s award-winning, nonprofit economic development agency. He specialized in the attraction and retention of distribution, air, land and water transportation as well as manufacturing industries.

Hoffman also actively promotes the need to not only maintain existing transportation infrastructure but also expand it to meet the demand that will arise as the nation’s population grows and world trade doubles in the next 20 years. He is a member of Chicago’s Business Leaders for Transport, the Intermodal Task Force and the Midwest Regional Transport Planning Group and advises the City of Chicago and State of Illinois on freight-related economic trends.

Before joining World Business Chicago, Hoffman led the Industrial Marketing and Sales practice at the Chicago Manufacturing Center (CMC), a consulting organization that concentrates on assisting small- and mid-size manufacturers in the six-county area around Chicago.

Prior to CMC, Hoffman was a career diplomat with the British Foreign Service for 25 years where he served in 17 different countries. He specialized in trade matters, assisting British firms to export and/or invest in the local market. For the last eight years of his diplomatic career, he served in Chicago and Miami where he focused on encouraging U.S. firms to expand their presence in Europe by investing in operations in Britain.

Sharon Carrell, SPHR
Director, sales and operations management development programs, McKesson Corp.
Sharon Carrell has been with McKesson for more than eight years, and in her current position is responsible for three management development programs. Two are operations programs; one recruits directly from college campuses and the third develops high-potential, internal operations employees. The third program recruits college seniors from universities that offer sales majors or certificates and train students to become hospital or retail sales managers. Carrell also began the first summer intern program for operations in McKesson Pharmaceutical.

Before joining McKesson, Carrell was the director of human resources for TTI Inc., a global distributor of passive electronics. She was responsible for starting the first human resources department at TTI.

She achieved her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation through the Society for Human Resource Management.

Bruce Mantz
Executive vice president, Automated Distribution Systems LP
Bruce Mantz has an extensive background in all facets of retail distribution. Specifically, Mantz possesses detailed knowledge of operations, plant design and construction in automated material handling environments.

Some of his accomplishments include the design and renovation of five Macy’s/Bamberger’s distribution centers. During this time, he held titles of senior operations manager and fashion center manager.

Subsequent to his career at Macy’s, Mantz was responsible for the project management, design and implementation of a 700,000-square foot, state-of-the-art distribution facility for Burlington Coat Factory. He then moved on to Glitterwrap where he successfully consolidated the company’s manufacturing, distribution and corporate operations. Mantz directed start-up operations of all the aforementioned facilities as well as lowered costs and established more efficient operational procedures for each of his employers.

In 1994, Mantz began an association with Automated Distribution Systems (ADS) that started with the design and development of the company’s systems and equipment. His role continued into responsibility for the operations of the plant where he has been able to use his management and operational skills to run the ADS facilities. In 2005, ADS expanded its existing operation by acquiring a 640,000-square foot, fully automated facility in Gaffney, S.C. Mantz assembled a team of senior managers and department heads to assist him in the operations of every phase of the ADS multi-facility network.

Josh Dennie
Production control manager, Optimax Systems Inc.
Josh Dennie is a 2006 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial and systems engineering. Through RIT’s coop program, Dennie worked in several different industries. He has been employed by Optimax Systems, General Mills and Walt Disney World, spending time on projects that include prioritization scheduling for a job shop, effective use of waste cereal and the dynamics of attendance patterns.

Currently, Dennie is employed as production control manager at Optimax Systems, located outside of Rochester, N.Y. Optimax is a provider of high-precision optical components. Dennie’s responsibilities at Optimax include overseeing raw-material inventory and transportation, process engineering, manufacturing scheduling and discrepant material operations.

Kim Absil
Delivery unit general manager, Sears Holdings Corp.
Kimberley Absil is a general manager for Sears Holdings. She handles home delivery of appliances in Ft. Pierce, Fla. She has been with Sears for six years.

Absil had been inventory and shipping manager in the distribution facility in Jacksonville, Fla. Prior to managing a shift, Absil went through a Sears logistics management trainee program to learn the supply-chain network, which involved working in the stores, distribution centers and home delivery.

Absil graduated from Iowa State University in December 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in transportation and logistics.


ProMat will offer three educational workshops, covering leading-edge material handling and logistics topics in hands-on, classroom-style settings. Separate registration and workshop fees apply.

Monday, Jan. 12, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
W01: Basics of Material Handling–A One-and-One-Half Day Workshop
Instructor: H. Lee Hales, president, Richard Muther and Associates

Wednesday, Jan. 14, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
W02: Inbound Logistics and Handling–A One-Day Workshop
Instructor: H. Lee Hales, president, Richard Muther and Associates

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
W04: Sustainability for Manufacturing and Distribution Facilities–A One-Day Workshop
Instructor: Eric Woodroof Ph.D., chairman, Certified Carbon Reduction Manager Program; secretary, Association of Energy Engineers; board member, Certified Energy Manager Program.