Manufacturing conference transformed into business and tech innovation summit

Shawn Frey of ToolKeepers Custom Tool Kitting & Foam Inserts and Rob Newbold of Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center chat between sessions of the 2017 Tri-State Manufacturing Conference at John Wood Community College. | H-W File Photo/Jake Shane
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 24, 2018 9:30 am

QUINCY -- John Wood Community College is trying to build on the success of last year's inaugural Tri-State Manufacturing Conference.

The conference drew manufacturers from Illinois, Iowa and Missouri to Quincy, but banks and other businesses outside the realm of manufacturing felt it had potential for broader appeal.

"The feedback we received from them was that it was bigger than just manufacturing," said William Stuflick, JWCC dean of career, technical and health education.

So the focus -- and name -- of this year's conference has shifted. This year's event will be called the Tri-State Business and Industry Innovation Summit and will be held at John Wood's Health Center from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 14. Speakers will discuss emerging business trends, training and technology.

The keynote speaker will be futurist Jack Uldrich. Uldrich is a best-selling author and renowned speaker who covers topics such as future trends, emerging technologies, innovation, change management and leadership. Others slated to speak during the conference include Joe Tracy, CEO of Dot Foods Inc.; April Glosser, president of Thrive Market Intelligence; Dimitrios Saranteas of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, and Christian Espinosa of Alpine Security.

"We kind of have two tracts," Stuflick said. "We have a manufacturing tract and a business tract."

Manufacturing breakout sessions will focus on logistics, digital manufacturing and design, and market intelligence. The business sessions will cover cybersecurity, corporate culture, employee retention and career pathways.

"A lot of companies are asking about apprenticeships, about how we get young kids to stay in this community," Stuflick said. "That's going to be a part of the career pathway conversation."

Vendors will also set up at the event, with displays of new technologies and products.

Registration is $50 a person and includes lunch. Registration for high school and college students is $25. The event is open to leaders and employees from small and large businesses.

"It should be a communitywide event," Stuflick said. "The public is more than welcome to come."

John Wood partners with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, Missouri Enterprise, the Great River Economic Development Foundation, Workforce Innovation Board of Western Illinois, Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service, and Quincy University to host the conference.

Registration information is available online at, or by contacting JWCC at 217-641-4971 or

Things to Do