Breakout Sessions With Industry Experts

Productivity and Performance Through Improved People Practices

The biggest determinant of success lies beyond any manufacturer’s plant, machinery, technology, and processes. Human capital is the leading source of competitive advantage. Unfortunately, people are complex and many manufacturers struggle to hire, deploy, and retain them. In this workshop, Dr. Matt Poepsel will teach participants how to demystify the full lifecycle of people practices using simple and actionable frameworks and tools. After this hands-on workshop, participants will walk away with fresh ideas and tangible action plans they can immediately implement.

Matt Poepsel, Ph.D., Vice President of The Predictive Index

Matt Poepsel, Ph.D. is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & The Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He is also a U.S. Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

From Hollywood To Manufacturing: How to Inspire the Next Generation

Christine Holly Ngo, the host of the podcast Making Things Fun, Cool, & Sexy, will share her story of how she went from being a Hollywood red carpet reporter to a Bay Area manufacturer. She will share the challenges she had to overcome to get to where she is today, as well as the accolades she has earned since transitioning careers. Christine will provide attendees with specific tips on inspiring the next generation of manufacturers, as well as resources everyone can use to encourage young people to consider careers in manufacturing.

Presented by Christine Holly Ngo, VP of Operations & Business Development for Silicon Valley Elite Manufacturing


Christine Holly Ngo is Vice President of Operations & Business Development for Silicon Valley Elite Manufacturing (SVE) and the host of the podcast Making Things Fun, Cool, & Sexy. She serves on the AMBayArea Board of Directors and is the lead for the AMBayArea Women in MFG Peer Group. Christine is also an ambassador for Women in 3D Printing’s Silicon Valley Chapter. She is passionate about manufacturing and is on a mission to help bring manufacturing back to America. Christine received her Bachelor of Science degree from San Jose State University, her MBA from Pepperdine University, and certificates from Harvard Business School & Oxford University business programs.



Why Employing High School Students Can Change Your Workforce and Culture for the Better

Learn how students help strengthen your workforce today while creating a ripple effect that influences your industry into tomorrow. To effectively diversify and impact your workforce pipeline, employ high school students from underrepresented communities and by doing so, provide life changing career experiences for youth who bring high value now, contributing to your workplace needs while gaining early access to professional networks and developing newfound awareness to pursue and excel in manufacturing careers. Integrating such direct investment in local youth and your pipeline helps root your corporate culture in positive social impact and strong workforce development. It’s a win-win all around.

Presented by Kristin Thomas, Director of Partnership Development for Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay
and Blaine Torpey, Superintendent of the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program

Kristin Thomas is the Director of Partnership Development at Cristo Rey De La Salle East Bay, a college prep high school in the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland. In this role, Kristin supports the school’s innovative Corporate Work Study Program. Kristin has spent 15 years working at nonprofits building CSR programming that ensures equity in education, a talented and diverse workforce, and social justice.

Blaine Torpey is the Superintendent of the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program. He has over 15 years of experience in education, specifically in supporting underserved student populations and supporting systemic change in large organizations. As Superintendent, Blaine brings personal and professional experience that allows him to support the organization from a place of theory and practice. 

How Bay Area Manufacturers Can Leverage a National Laboratory to Scale Up

Antheia, a synthetic biology biomanufacturing startup company, partnered with the Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Process Development Unit (ABPDU) to scale-up its cutting edge, bio-based analgesics. ABPDU is part of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The collaboration between the ABPDU and Antheia is a great example of how the public sector enables commercialization of new products. Antheia is commercializing biomanufactured analgesics in the Bay Area. Eric Sundstrom, a Staff Scientist of Bioprocess Engineering at LBNL within the ABPDU facility, and Kristy Hawkins, the Co-Founder and CSO of Antheia, will describe the collaboration and value that partnering with the National Laboratory has provided to Antheia.

Presented by Eric Sundstrom, Ph.D., Staff Scientist of Bioprocess Engineering at Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory and Kristy Hawkins, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CSO of Antheia

Eric Sundstrom, Ph.D., is a Staff Scientist of Bioprocess Engineering at LBNL within the ABPDU facility. At the ABPDU, Dr. Sundstrom has led numerous private sector projects and basic research programs, all geared toward expanding the US Bioeconomy through biomanufacturing.

Kristy Hawkins, Ph.D., is Co-Founder and CSO of Antheia, a synthetic biology biomanufacturing startup company in the Bay Area. A graduate of CalTech, Dr Hawkins has contributed to the success of a number of companies over the past 16 years.  

How Robotic Process Automation Increases Revenue, Reduces Costs, and Boosts Profits

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the next generation of digital transformation for manufacturers. RPA frees up front-line workers from repetitive processes, so they can focus their time on high-value work. This session will feature a case study focused on a large multinational food packaging manufacturer that saves over 15,000 labor hours annually by implementing RPA across 28 production facilities.

Presented by Thuan Ngo, VP of Data & Software Services for ZAG Technical Services, Inc.

Thuan Ngo is the VP of Data and Software Services for ZAG Technical Services, Inc. He has more than twenty years of significant IT experience culminating in managing and delivering quality solutions and services. As an established organizational leader with extensive experience driving business growth through innovative ideas, he has honed an excellent ability to effectively communicate even the most complicated technical concepts to a wide range of audiences, while continuously delivering cutting-edge solutions. He has extensive experience designing and implementing major expense-reducing, revenue-enhancing, business flexibility improvements working in diverse environments.

Practical Strategies for Carbon Reduction Within Manufacturing

This presentation will explore fundamental strategies for carbon reduction in manufacturing. We’ll examine the current carbon footprint of the industry, highlighting key areas of energy consumption and waste production. Next, we’ll explore common improvement approaches, like adopting renewable energy sources, implementing energy-efficient technologies, and assessing packaging opportunities. Case studies of successful carbon reduction initiatives in leading manufacturing companies will be presented as well as covering current state of reporting regulations. Finally, we’ll discuss best practices including organizational strategies for creating accountability toward continuous reduction.

Scott Anderson, Audit Partner with Sensiba LLP

Scott Anderson is a Partner with Sensiba LLP and has over 20 years in audit and accounting, specializing in financial and sustainability reporting for private businesses. Passionate about the food and beverage, action sports, and consumer products industries, he consults on growth planning, acquisition strategies, process improvement, risk management, and operational efficiency. He earned the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s FSA credential in 2021, enhancing his consultation on environmental, social, and governance metrics. Scott lectures in accounting at the UC Santa Cruz, holds a business, economics, and accounting degree from UC Santa Barbara, and is a licensed CPA in California.

Logistics Efficiency: How to Keep Shipping Costs Down to Maximize Profit

Understanding global logistics trends, economy fluctuations, and your company goals are the key to reducing costs and maximizing logistics efficiency. Logistics is an industry with many variables. Shiproad SFO’s Shelley Verducci will review the things companies can control to help ensure smooth processes, efficient costing, and flexible planning. This Session will inform manufacturers on yearly planning, service level options, local and global warehousing, freight insurance, and more.

Shelley Verducci, Managing Director of Shiproad SFO

Shelley Verducci is the Managing Director of Shiproad SFO. She has worked in global logistics since 2009 working her way up from a sales consultant to running a global logistics firm. Shelley’s passion is to educate and empower leaders to understand global logistics trends and processes, so they can make the best decisions for their companies.

More Breakout Sessions To Be Announced









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Bring your team to take advantage of breakout sessions with industry experts sharing knowledge and resources, plus keynote speaker, exhibits, hosted happy hour, and more.