ROLLING HILLS, IL  -- The Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) is pleased to present an accomplished slate of keynote speakers at its Innovation Summit. The event features four longtime lean and innovation advocates converging at the Irvine Marriott to share exclusive insider knowledge with attendees.

“Our speakers represent a cross section of innovative lean thinkers that we’re proud to share,” said Jerry M. Wright, P.E., summit chair. “We’re confident each presenter will provide a unique perspective that will transform the way our attendees approach business and life.”

Keynote speakers include:

Dick Rutan, adventurer, test pilot and lecturer, who in December 1986 completed a nine-day, three-minute and forty-four second non-stop and non-refueled flight around the world, set records that remain unchallenged today. He will share stories of his adventures and lessons learned, in the air, with attendees.

Rich Sheridan, CEO and chief storyteller, Menlo Innovations, advanced from the kid programmer in 1971 to the subject of a Forbes cover story in 2003. Sheridan will present his speech, “The Business Value of Joy,” which examines how intentionally focusing your company's culture around joy creates the opportunity for a more passionate, engaged team and sustainable, profitable business results.

Jim Morgan, president, EMC Network, is the Director of Global Body Exterior and Stamping Business Unit Engineering at Ford Motor Company and winner of the 2007 Shingo Prize for Excellence in Manufacturing Research. Morgan will share how Ford learned to bring innovation to the forefront of everyday activities throughout the company and bring innovative thinking to the design and development of Ford Motor Company’s next generation Product Development System.

Thomas D. Kuczmarski, president, Kuczmarski Innovation, Inc., the author of six books and a nationally recognized expert in the innovation of new products and services has helped hundreds of clients, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 corporations, learn to systematically unlock the value of innovation.

The Innovation Summit features two distinct educational tracks: Enabling Innovation and Breakthroughs and Progressive Thinking and Collaboration. It is designed to explore how companies can move beyond making tiny product and process improvements and calling them innovative. Speakers from lean startup and large company backgrounds will share their experiences providing attendees a compact learning and idea interchange. Each track will feature a variety of speakers from different creative facets and ample opportunity for networking among presenters and fellow attendees.