Nearly 250 people will gather tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th at Wilson Community College to celebrate sustainability in manufacturing. Organizations from across North Carolina and the southeast US will convene at 1:00 pm at the event: “Sustainability in Manufacturing: Sharing Environmental, Energy and Waste Reduction Practices.” The event has captured national attention with articles appearing in over 240 media outlets around the US.
Hundreds Expected to Gather to Champion Sustainability in Manufacturing in Eastern NC
March 25, 2014 – Wilson, NC – Nearly 250 people will gather tomorrow, Thursday, March 26th at Wilson Community College to celebrate sustainability in manufacturing. Organizations from across North Carolina and the southeast US will convene at 1:00 pm at the event: “Sustainability in Manufacturing: Sharing Environmental, Energy and Waste Reduction Practices.” The event has captured national attention with articles appearing in over 280 media outlets around the US.
Hosted by the NCEast Alliance, manufacturing sustainability champion Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) will be featured to highlight best practices utilized by leaders at the Wilson, NC tire production facility.
“Being a good steward of the environment and our natural resources is a critical part of doing business today,” said Michael Darr, Wilson Plant Manager, Bridgestone Americas. “We’re proud to be part of this community and neighbors with so many sustainably-minded companies, and we continue to look for ways that we can work together on these important initiatives,” added Darr.
A panel of global manufacturing company leaders from eastern NC will also speak about their sustainability initiatives and take questions from attendees. In addition to Bridgestone, Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant Manager, Calvin Balance and NACCO Materials Handling Group of Greenville Plant Manager, Wim van Dam will share their sustainability success stories.
“Wilson is proud of its very diverse and high quality manufacturers and Bridgestone is certainly one of our companies that exhibits leadership on many fronts” stated Jennifer Lantz, Executive Director of the Wilson Economic Development Council. “We are pleased to be a part of this event that has drawn attention to Wilson and the sustainability achievements of Bridgestone and other international companies within our region,” she continued
Also speaking will be Dr. Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Led by Greer Tidwell, Bridgestone Americas Director of Environmental Management, an optional sustainability workshop geared toward manufactures wanting to take the next steps in developing a sustainability plan will take place after the main event from 3:30 – 4:30 pm.
“To grow our economy, we need to encourage our manufacturers to replicate the actions of Bridgestone and other area companies that have achieved ISO 14001 and 50001 certification,” stated John D. Chaffee, President/CEO of the NCEast Alliance. “We, as community leaders, also need to maintain our commitment to provide the appropriate infrastructure and talent needed to sustain these companies,” continued Chaffee.
Guests were also afforded the opportunity to participate in a tour of Bridgestone. Both the morning and afternoon tours quickly reached capacity. In addition to manufacturing sustainability practices which reduce waste and create environmental and energy efficiencies, the event will also highlight a component of developing sustainable communities. The lunch session, which also quickly reached capacity, will highlight Strategies that Engage Minds (STEM) East – an NCEast Alliance workforce development initiative that is engaging employers and educators to fill the talent pipeline.
Dr. Steve Hill, the Executive Director of STEM East, will lead the session, which also includes representatives of the local school system and community college to describe current actions to develop the talent needed by 21st century manufacturers. STEM East has received national acclaim for its innovative approach to workforce development and in 2014 won the STEM Economic Development and Community Engagement Leadership Award at the STEM Leaders conference. Organizations like the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM) are encouraging industry to be involved in developing a qualified workforce pipeline.
The NCEast Alliance has assumed a leadership role in identifying best practices developed locally or elsewhere and adapting these efforts on a regional scale that responds to the needs of eastern North Carolina. Such efforts include industrial site certification, workforce quality certification and STEM education initiatives in partnership with local economic development offices, colleges/universities, community colleges, public schools, chambers of commerce, and others to improve the competitive position of the region.
A host of partners and sponsors are making this event possible: Bridgestone Americas, WSTi, Cauley-Pridgen Lawyers, Wilson Economic Development Council, Wilson Community College, Wilson Chamber of Commerce and NC State University Industrial Extension Service.
The NCEast Alliance is a regional, public/private, not-for-profit, economic development corporation serving approximately 1.2 million residents within several small metropolitan and micropolitan areas in eastern North Carolina from the fringe of the Research Triangle to the Atlantic Coast. The Alliance provides community capacity building, marketing/lead generation, and assists companies with site location and expansion evaluations. For more information on the NCEast Alliance, visit us at www.nceast.org or visit one of our workforce development sites (NCEast WorkReady Communities at www.ncworkready.org or STEM East at www.stemeast.org).