APEX Annual Meeting Highlights

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Brian Hanson (APEX), Barbara Philibert (Industrial Technologies Group), Joel Larson (Barko Hydraulics), and Steve Burgess (National Bank of Commerce) at the APEX Annual Board Meeting.


APEX hosted our Annual Board of Directors and Investor-Member Meeting and Reception on January 30, 2020, at Pier B Resort in Duluth, MN. Barbara K. Philibert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chicago, Illinois-based Industrial Technologies Group (ITG), joined us as the keynote speaker. She shared insights about how manufacturing will continue to transform with innovations in technology.

“The impact of manufacturing is critical to the U.S. economy and is a fundamental building block of rural communities,” stated Philibert. “Manufacturing is evolving at a rapid pace – it’s not dead, and it’s not dying."

Manufacturing is a crucial component of the U.S. economy, employing 12.8 million people and representing approximately 11% of the nation’s GDP. In 2016, 75% of the nearly 250,000 manufacturing companies in the U.S. employed fewer than 20 people. As these skilled workers approach retirement and the skills gap continues to increase, the manufacturing industry is looking toward technology for automated solutions.

“As part of a global economy, small manufacturing businesses face significant challenges regarding logistics and supply chain costs, employee recruitment, finding, and sourcing capital,” continued Philibert. “These are very real, yet solvable challenges when we all work together.” Philibert cited the importance of organizations like APEX as being part of the solution.

Data from Microsoft suggests that although automation will replace 73 million jobs by 2022, over 130 million new jobs will be created and need to be filled in their place. Philibert encouraged investor-members to embrace the digital transformation because finding innovative ways to incorporate automated solutions into the supply chain will ensure the manufacturing industry can weather predicted challenges and continue to grow.

"Manufacturing is a significant and dynamic component of our regional economy. Barko Hydraulics, with their niche position in their industry, is one great example among hundreds of successful manufacturers,” said Brian Hanson, APEX President and CEO. “Barb reminded us that we must continue to lead with innovation. We can strengthen the APEX region by employing automation, data management, and the power of artificial intelligence within the manufacturing sector.”

Category: APEX