The advanced manufacturing and logistics industry is experiencing its most significant transition in recent times, so much so that this evolution has been coined the next Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. Conexus is positioned to help usher in this new era and advance Indiana’s status as a national leader in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industry sector.
Meet Industry Engagement Coordinator Andrea Kirschling. Before joining Conexus, Andrea investigated cases of housing discrimination as Test Coordinator at the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Prior to her work in Fair Housing, Andrea joined Exodus Refugee as an intern within the Reception and Placement Department coordinating the needs of refugees within their first 90-days of arrival to Indiana.
Since the yearly cost of fuel is about $70,000, as reported by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE), it shouldn’t be a surprise that the trucking industry is eager for advanced technologies that improve fuel efficiency, especially if they also improve safety.
One technology that offers potential immediate benefits and relatively low barriers to adoption is platooning, where two or more tractor-trailers are electronically tethered in a convoy on the highway, allowing them to travel in a close formation with the help of sensors and software technology.
In December 2018, Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch led a group, organized by Wes Wood of Conexus Indiana and including executives from Honda, Rolls-Royce, ArcelorMittal and other Indiana employers on a trip to interact with active duty units on Fort Campbell to see for themselves how a wide variety of military personnel can provide value within Hoosier companies.
The RAMP program has been rebranded as Catapult, graduated 2,500 students in Lafayette since 2015 and expanded to Toyota Indiana in 2017 with more than 100 graduates. At both locations, post-graduate retention rates among employees who participate in the program is above 80 percent and both SIA and Toyota have expanded its program to include all new employees.
Conexus Indiana seeks nominations for the 2019 Andre B. Lacy Vanguard award, which will honor a man or woman who has championed the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries in Indiana.
Our team members make the work of Conexus Indiana possible, but they also make it fun! Each one of them has a unique story to tell and over the course of the year we want to introduce you to our team and get to know them a little better.
First up is Senior Manager of Talent Programs Sarah Harrison. Before joining Conexus, Sarah was a Key Account Manager for NETLOGX in Indianapolis, Director of Admissions at the International School of Indiana, a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative at Eli Lilly U.K. and a Combat Medical Technician in the Army Reserves, U.K.
How do we reach students early to get them excited about manufacturing? That’s the question Purdue University’s IN-MaC (Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center) posed.
One of their answers is school makerspaces that offer an opportunity for elementary, middle and high school students to experience a unique environment within their school walls to explore technology, design-thinking, problem-solving and creative skill sets.
Tong Jin “TJ” Kim, Associate Professor of Industrial Design in the Department of Art & Design at Purdue University, helped IN-MaC design one of the first of these makerspaces, which launched in 2016 at Burnett Creek Elementary School in West Lafayette, Ind.
Stu Kaplan has been involved in manufacturing since he was 8 years old – long before OSHA was established. Now, decades later, he’s on the leading edge of Industry 4.0, manufacturing micro-parts in Shelbyville and engaging high school students to build the next generation workforce to succeed in an increasingly high-tech industry.
Kaplan has not only witnessed the evolution of manufacturing, but he has harnessed the power of technology to operate his small-scale injection molding company on a 24/7 schedule. He makes tiny parts for just about any product you can think of – from medical devices to electronics. And, he’s got a great history of riding the advanced manufacturing wave and embracing technology.
More than 140 college students tackled how to improve manufacturing or logistics operations to drive long-term growth and sustainability in cases simulating real world scenarios. The competition resulted in more than 15,000 in cash prizes for the winning teams, but also gave students a first-hand look at why they should stay in Indiana to pursue advanced manufacturing and logistics careers.
With the support of Indiana’s industry leaders, Conexus Indiana hosted 6 days of case competitions in Indianapolis for post-secondary students from colleges and universities in Indiana and Texas. In addition to the case work, students networked with industry professionals, participated in career fairs and were inspired to be among the new talent that will fill the thousands of high-wage jobs.
The daughter of an Eli Lilly and Company engineer, Abigail Hamilton – Abby – knew early on that engineering as a career appealed to her. “I liked that it’s a field that requires critical thinking and there are no ambiguous answers. It’s driven by facts, not opinions, and it’s technical.”
At 17, Abby was a timid high school student at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis and she was looking for more opportunities to learn about engineering. Mr. Hanson, her teacher for Computer Integrated Manufacturing, a Project Lead The Way course, encouraged her to apply to the Conexus Interns program.
Abby was excited by the opportunity and applied to the program immediately.