CHICAGO, IL-On Friday, May 11, the Turnaround Management Association (TMA)’s Midwest Chapter held its third of four industry forums at Chicago’s Plymouth Club, this one focusing on what the future holds for the manufacturing industry. A diverse group of panelists discussed this issue in detail before a room full of local and regional business leaders. They covered topics ranging from how they survived challenges such as higher labor and healthcare costs, pollution abatement fees, and higher business taxes; advised on operating strategies and tactics that manufacturing companies can deploy now to improve performance; and tips on capitalizing on a future recovery.

The panel was moderated by Daniel McGuire, a partner in the Chicago office of Winston & Strawn LLP. He concentrates his practice in the insolvency, bankruptcy, and business reorganization fields. The panelists included:

  • Buckley Brinkman, the executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP), a non-profit consulting firm that serves small and medium manufacturers in Wisconsin;
  • Brian Stewart, a certified treasury professional and a director with The Keystone Group;
  • Bill Testa, a vice president and director of regional research in the Economic Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, where he covers the manufacturing industry in the Midwest; and
  • David Westgate, chairman, president and CEO of Jason Incorporated, parent company to a global family of manufacturing leaders within the seating, finishing, components and automotive acoustics markets.

    Panelists discussed the strengthening of the domestic manufacturing industry through reshoring; the general-industry-shift toward lean manufacturing-“in the ’08 downturn, inventory became a thing of the past,” Westgate said; and the need for more skilled labor, among other topics.

    For information on future events and the TMA's Midwest Chapter, visit .