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Leaders Gathered There.

Exec Roundtable Full Size

GAM President & CEO Lloyd Avram was joined by (from L to R): Stuart Countess, President & CEO, KIA Georgia; Tim Baucom, President & CEO, Shaw Industries; and Patrick Lenz, President & COO, Toyo Tires North America Manufacturing.

We're all in this together.

GAM recently hosted its major 2024 Spring Meeting. Based on member survey responses, it was among our best ever.  

The discussions, the socializing, the food, the location – and exploding golf balls during the members’ tournament – made the event truly memorable. It was great to see everyone engaged and having a great time.  

This success was built on the great response we got from our 2023 Fall Meeting, where we test drove some “new things”. One new thing was to host a panel discussion with three CXO’s representing some of the smaller manufacturing companies in our Association. The set up was simple: Each CXO would be asked to comment on their top three internal and external business issues. We’d then open the floor to member questions and dialog. This panel turned out to be a real hit. Members loved hearing from members, comparing business insights and swapping war stories from the factory floor.  


Whatever we’re dealing with, we’re not alone.  


So, following the maxim “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, we ran this panel back and did it again at our Spring Meeting. This time with three CXO’s from among the largest manufacturing companies in Georgia. Serving as moderator, I was joined by Tim Baucum, President and CEO of Shaw Industries, Patrick Lenz, COO of North American Manufacturing for Toyo Tires, and Stuart Countess, President and CEO of Kia Georgia.  

During our time on stage, these three leaders shared external concerns about cybersecurity, geopolitical risks, expansion challenges and supply chain. Then we turned the page and discussed internal risks. Not surprisingly, workforce dominated the discussion. This part of the conversation ran the gamut from employee development and upskilling, to managing changes in workplace expectations and planning for leadership succession. Real meaty stuff from top to bottom.  

During the discussion, I filled a page with notes and commented to the audience that I thought I had a working outline for a Harvard Business Review article. The conversation and insights were that good. And like the Fall Meeting, our members thoroughly enjoyed the session. So much so, we ran out of time and left a long list of audience questions unanswered.  

Reflecting on the session, I was struck by audience head nods as they visibly agreed with our CXO panelists on issues.  “Cybersecurity” – my problem, too. “Succession planning” – oh, that’s how Shaw does it. “Expectations from the new generation of workers” – we’re not alone.  

The big takeaway: It doesn’t matter if you are Kia producing 350,000 vehicles a year, or Southern Metalcraft custom fabricating small runs of superior quality metal products, there is tremendous operational commonality. Put another way, Georgia’s manufacturers are dealing with a bevy of shared denominators.  

Solutions are found through free sharing of best practices at GAM events. I’m proud that our Association curates the community of leading Georgia manufacturers.  

Come join the conversations at our Workforce Seminar in June and our Fall Meeting in November. 

Registration is open for our annual Workforce Seminar, happening June 13-16, in Hilton Head, SC. Click here to learn more.

You can also RSVP for our upcoming Fall Meeting, held at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Oconee, November 19-21, to receive a special reminder when early-bird registration opens: RSVP here.

GAM signature events are just one of the ways our members connect with other industry leaders. Thank you to all our members who join us.  

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