Apprentice School SME Scrapbook
Society of Manufacturing Engineers SME Chapter in Virginia 217

SME - ICAM (International Conference of Agile Manufacturing)

(L-R) Chris Guthrie, Stephanie Roscoe, Jason Boyd, Valentino Crawford, Kareem Solomon, Ron Toxey.

After the conference participants and volunteers were given the opportunity to take a cruise on The American Rover. (L-R) Dave Tilman, Dr. Alok K. Verma  (ODU), Stephanie Roscoe.

A Meeting of the Minds 

Since the first International Conference on Agile Manufacturing (ICAM) in 1997, the International Society of Agile Manufacturing (ISAM) has promoted research, education, and international collaboration to solve worldwide manufacturing problems. Through the organization of conferences, workshops, tutorials, training and other professional activities in academic environments, fellow engineers, business men and women, and members of academia have been able to synergize in a non-threatening atmosphere. Since then, this same conference has been held in various countries including: the U.S., India, China, and the U.K. Just last year ICAM 2005 was held in Helsinki Finland.

ISAM was founded in 1995.  Their main goal is to accelerate the international exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge with the hope of crossing natural barriers of discipline, field of technological application, and international borders. Along with many other professional operations, the ICAM platform facilitates and promotes ISAM’s main goal.

In 2006, the theme of the conference was LEAN and Agile Transformations and Hampton Roads was given the distinct honor of hosting this prestigious event at the Waterside Marriot in downtown Norfolk.  Among the numerous sponsors for the event were our very own Northrop Grumman, Old Dominion University, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).  The Apprentice School Student Chapter of SME was fortunate enough to partner with the student chapter at ODU in volunteering to assist the presenters, organizers, and guests throughout the three day event.  Many of them were invited to participate in some of the shops and lectures as members of the simulations, or as performers of various “players” in demonstrations of manufacturing processes and workflows. 

Many Members of the Northrop Grumman family played pivotal roles in the conference. Keynote speaker and Vice President of Process Excellence for Northrop Grumman Newport News Jennifer Boykin delivered a speech titled “The Road to Process Excellence” on the final day of the conference.  She gave a very broad yet detailed presentation on some of the ways in which Northrop Grumman uses LEAN Six Sigma Principles in the development of processes and value streams to effectively balance the Navy’s needs for a technologically-advanced fleet with a shrinking budget in an efficient manner.  Glenn Marshall, a member of the Process Excellence Strategy Team and a Facilitator for Operations Supply Chain Management, served with Joe Maggiore of the Ford Motor Company as Industry Program Chairs advising on topics and speakers to be presented.  Dave Tilman, Manager of the Apprentice School Advanced Programs, and Jacqueline McCuiston, Manager of Process Excellence Learning, served as members of the Organizing Committee working with faculty of ODU and many other leaders of local industry and engineering societies to coordinate and administer the conference.

Conference attendees and a small number of apprentice volunteers were given the pleasure of touring the plants of two leading local area businesses.  Stihl, Inc. hosted the visitors, and the apprentices who assisted in conducting the tour, at their 700,000 square foot manufacturing and warehousing plant located in Virginia Beach.  Attendee were allowed to walk the factory floor in an effort to understand how Stihl deals with, and overcomes, such issues as resource waste and line synchronization to remain one of the world’s leading producers of handheld outdoor powered equipment.  Other volunteers and guests were invited to tour Howmet Castings in Hampton, Virginia.   Howmet is recognized as a world leader in large structural casting and airfoil production.  Visitors were permitted to view the manufacturing processes used by Howmet to blend production floor efficiency with experienced craftsmanship to meet the demands of an ever-changing marketplace.

The Apprentice School Chapter of SME, in partnering with Old Dominion University’s Chapter, and the Organizers of the International Conference on Agile Manufacturing, played a tremendous role in the hosting of the guests staying and learning at Norfolk’s Waterside Marriot.  Many of the volunteers were presented with Certificates of Completion for various courses of study.  Others were given Certificates of Appreciation from the conference for the role they played in coordinating and assisting the speakers with their presentations.  The event was a testament to the commitment that Northrop Grumman and The Apprentice School have made to developing young men and women into world-class shipbuilders for the future.  By allowing these young people to experience an exchange of ideas of such scientific magnitude, and exposing them to a taste of the ideas governing the manufacturing principles of tomorrow, they reaffirm their dedication to the Shipyard and the NAVY of the future.