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Event to look at 'The Road Ahead' for manufacturing sector

manufacturingSTARKVILLE — Furniture-industry experts, as well as government officials, will examine “The Road Ahead” at Mississippi State University’s 2014 Manufacturing Summit.

The fourth-annual summit, to be held April 23, will feature Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for the 11:15 a.m. keynote address. All activities will be held at MSU’s Hassell H. Franklin Furniture Institute, located at the intersection of Blackjack Road and Loxley Way.

Gov. Phil Bryant will deliver opening remarks, via video, at 8:25 a.m.

Registration costs $99, and attendees may sign up and review the complete agenda at www.ffi.msstate.edu/summit.asp.

In addition to Bryant and Reeves, other elected officials scheduled to present include District 1 U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo and Mississippi Department of Transportation’s Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagert of Starkville.

MSU president Mark E. Keenum and institute director Bill Martin will also speak during the morning sessions.

“In today’s global economy, manufacturers must stay abreast of local and global trends, issues associated with manufacturing and potential solutions to problems,” Martin said. “Our purpose is to target specific things that are current in today’s business and transfer knowledge to the attendees.

“We also reach out to the manufacturers to gauge issues important to them,” he added. “We then try to develop the summit around their issues.”

Conference sponsors include the Franklin Furniture Institute, as well as the American Home Furnishings Alliance and Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

Other program participants include:

• Bill Perdue and Andy Counts, AHFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs and CEO, respectively, discussing the regulatory environment and overarching furniture-manufacturing concerns

• Jay Moon, MMA president and CEO, moderating a panel discussion on workforce development opportunities and solutions

• Bruce Lambert, executive director of the Institute for Trade and Transportation Studies, moderating a panel discussion on transportation and logistics related to furniture manufacturing

• Jack McDougle, founder and CEO of the BluTre Strategies consulting firm, discussing the impact of competition on state and national furniture industries

• Greg Brinkman, senior vice president of supply chain at Badcock Home Furnishings, examining discuss collaborative strategies for manufacturers and suppliers

• Pepper Crutcher, a partner with Balch and Bingham LLP, explaining how the Affordable Care Act is impacting the furniture industry

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