Revolutionizing the Industry
Those looking for the future of advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML) need look no further. Rising 30 honors AML’s emerging leaders—those bringing exceptional leadership and innovative thinking to bear on the industries’ toughest challenges.
Each year, 30 honorees under the age of 30 are selected and celebrated, drawing attention to those with the collaboration, energy, and creativity to change the way the world does business. And they’re just getting started.
Nominations for the Class of 2023 are now closed. This year’s honorees will be announced in May.
Rising 30 Class of 2022
Jack Anderson has earned respect on two continents with his work at PWR Group. Recognized as a driver of advanced manufacturing adoption, he leads a team that develops innovative ways to apply new manufacturing techniques using existing equipment. After joining PWR in Australia in 2014 and working in a variety of production roles, Anderson came to the U.S. to help set up and train staff at PWR’s North American facility (formerly C&R Racing). He decided to remain in the States to expand PWR’s footprint into new industries and geographic areas while, as he puts it, “growing the engineering team in North America to continue to take over the world.”
PWR North America
Although she’s been with Cook Medical just a few years, Brittany Busse already has been credited with transforming manufacturing operations for an entire department and helping the operations team save millions of dollars by applying lean manufacturing principles. With an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis degree in biomedical engineering, she is applauded for technical skills, ability to build relationships with cross-functional teams and natural leadership – all of which are cited as playing a role in helping to reduce manufacturing scrap by more than $2 million, cut the cost of manufacturing by $1.4 million and reduce time to manufacture devices by 68%.
Internships and a hands-on college engineering program allowed Matthew Cooper to graduate from Western Kentucky University and immediately hit the ground running in his manufacturing career. Arriving at Subaru of Indiana Automotive in 2018, he quickly found himself as a project lead that earned him and his team first place in the 2019 Subaru of Indiana Automotive Plant Wide Kaizen Competition and 3rd place in the firm’s international Kaizen competition. Matthew led quality planning and development activities for one of the Subaru of Indiana’s largest projects: the transfer of transmission assembly from Japan to Indiana. Now, Matthew leads a dynamic group of engineers that cover 90 suppliers for all Body and Chassis components.
Supplier Quality Engineering Group Leader
Subaru of Indiana Automotive
Spending hours in the garage tinkering with his dad put Max Faiman on a course to drive innovation at one of Indiana’s oldest firms. Joining Indiana Furniture when it was beginning to modernize one of its key product lines, he quickly helped to update existing processes and introduce new ones in order to accommodate a new partnership. Since then, he has continued to contribute on both new and established product lines, driving numerous process and product improvements. Now the firm’s leaders say they turn to him when they have problems that don’t have obvious answers and rely on him to contribute new ways of thinking for a firm that’s been around for more than a century.
Although still in high school, Vivian Galey already has earned professional certifications, logged hours of additive manufacturing experience, presented solutions to business leaders and garnered enough credits to graduate with one year of college in the books. A senior working with Perry Central High School’s Commodore Manufacturing, she helps local companies solve actual workplace engineering issues, has designed a product she hopes to market soon and helps to increase the program’s business with area employers. The first female high school student in the nation to earn the National 3D Printing Certification from Stratasys, she has become an expert in additive manufacturing and is working hard to train students to fill her shoes when she graduates.
Additive Manufacturing Manager
Perry Central’s Commodore Manufacturing
Shortly after Malachi Greb left a steady manufacturing project management job to launch Elite Automation, he ran into a problem: COVID-19. Firms stopped welcoming new vendors into their lobbies and held off on new projects. A born problem-solver with an Ivy Tech degree in advanced automation and robotics, Malachi turned his attention to social media, continually posting YouTube videos about technical topics and eventually rising to No. 3 on LinkedIn in terms of social media presence for automation companies. When manufacturers re-opened their doors, his phone started ringing. Today the former one-man show has grown to a dozen employees, designing, programming and installing industrial automation systems to the tune of nearly $1 million in sales in 2021.
Kalese Howse knew from her freshman year at University of Tennessee-Knoxville that she wanted a career in engineering and manufacturing, which, she says, provides a unique environment to interact with many different people and see the direct results of her acts in a production system. What she didn’t realize until later is how important helping people develop would become to her. As a Safety Operations Manager, she has improved processes and implemented new programs for Toyota, but her bosses are equally enthusiastic about her work with her team. Seeking to help her colleagues develop through feedback, stretch assignments and benchmarking, she has earned their respect and driven ongoing improvements. Further demonstrating her commitment to helping others grow, she also has excelled at recruiting college candidates for co-op and full-time positions.
Safety Operations Manager
Toyota Motor Manufacturing
Michael Hurst enjoys working on continuous improvement projects, especially on big efforts that impact efficiency across the firm’s plants. One recent example: He used his skill and knowledge to develop a reporting application that automates Stellantis financial reports. Displaying each plant’s daily financial performance by day, week and month, it helps teams identify and address problem areas. Leadership was so impressed that the application has been implemented in all of Stellantis’ North American plants. Meanwhile, his success in utilizing cost deployment for the Kokomo casting plant has helped teams identify and attack plant losses and has led to his being asked to give presentations on the dynamics and strategy of cost containment.
Jack Lopez says his career in advanced manufacturing started with a fascination with the many materials an atom can be arranged into. That passion led to a materials engineering degree from Purdue University, where he also participated in a co-op program that landed him at Praxair Surface Technologies. Upon graduation, he accepted a full-time position with the firm, where he spent four years as an additive manufacturing engineer. He helped advance the firm’s material portfolio for additive manufacturing metal powders by evaluating chemistry and laser powder bed fusion (LBPF) process parameters. He recently returned to Purdue to pursue a Ph.D., with a focus on LBPF of novel alloys and composite materials.
Additive Engineer/Graduate Researcher
With Purdue University degrees in both occupational health science and environmental health science, and a Certified Safety Professional designation from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, Jessica Meeks has taken her skills to a few firms since she graduated, but always with the same mission: promoting the health and safety of employees in any workplace environment. With experience at a St. Louis-area Amazon fulfillment center, at Cummins sites in Columbus, Indianapolis water treatment and distribution facilities and now, with Adidas in Indianapolis, she has assumed roles with increasing levels of responsibility and leadership. She aspires to be a regional or multi-site manager in health and safety while also being a key player in the decisions regarding environmental compliance.
Health & Safety Manager
With a background informed by Project Lead The Way classes in high school, time spent tinkering with his dad and with friends, and a desire for self-education, Bryan Ott made an immediate impression at California Closets. He was promoted to inventory and production specialist after less than a year with the firm. His bosses credit him with reducing waste and driving innovation through new approaches to raw material inventory and with winning significant cost savings through a collaboration with the purchasing department. At the same time, they acknowledge that Bryan brings other assets to the firm that are perhaps less tangible but no less important: a zest for life and positivity that spreads throughout the organization.
Inventory and Production Specialist
Driven by an entrepreneurial energy, Brandon Ruggles arrived at Lacy Diversified Industries (LDI) with two start-ups under his belt, experience with a global consulting firm and his own business running on the side. LDI leadership says he has applied that energy to the firm’s portfolio of advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, driving business improvements that have direct impact on the bottom line. Praising his ability to relate to people from the boardroom and the shop floor, his bosses credit him with completing projects that previously failed and getting buy-in from hesitant leadership, in part due to his ability to distill complex topics into common-sense terms. His insights have delivered where they matter most: increased profits and reduced spending.
Manager, Strategy and Operations
Lacy Diversified Industries
Natalie Scott came to Indiana from California seeking the “true college experience.” She found that and a career. Attending Purdue University, she earned a degree in industrial engineering and also participated in two internships with Cummins, which led to her current role supporting the company’s electric school bus operations. Instrumental in helping to relocate the company’s electric vehicle components line from California to Columbus, Natalie generates timelines for change implementation, coordinates and manages implementation tasks and executes on-time delivery, earning praise from bosses for going “above and beyond.” One key success: Natalie led three successful supply chain generational changes, introducing more than 150 new parts and changes on time per the customer’s requirements.
A passion for nature and for helping people led Christopher Tracy into a career as an environmental engineer. A willingness to tackle any task – regardless of whether it could require his working “below” his aptitude or stretching to meet challenges that test his expertise – has made him valuable to his bosses at Heritage Environmental Services. One key achievement: developing a system to track manifest ages to ensure that waste moves through Indiana in an environmentally compliant and appropriate way. With a bachelor’s from The Ohio State University and master’s from Purdue University, Christopher intends to pursue his Professional Engineer’s license.
Junior Environmental Engineer
Heritage Environmental Services
Joining Rolls-Royce as part of its supply chain graduate rotation program, Kyle Varble has enjoyed a fast ascent, gaining a ranking as the youngest Global Commodity Manager across Rolls-Royce’s international operations. In that role, he has responsibility for 11 direct reports, 120 global suppliers and an $80 million annual spend in a group that produces propellers and waterjets supporting 90% of the U.S. Navy’s fleet. Along the way, he has negotiated more than $5 million in cost savings, managed suppliers across international boundaries and won the respect of a team that includes people twice his age. With a degree from Indiana State University and an MBA in progress with the University of Illinois, Kyle is dedicated to recruiting other young professionals into the supply chain industry.
Global Commodity Manager
The Rising 30 awards program launched in 2021 with an inaugural class of honorees who set the stage for this year’s class.Past Recipients
Know a Rising Star?
Nominations for the Rising 30 Class of 2023 closed Jan. 20. Nominations for the Class of 2024 will open later this year. Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.