Art of Innovation Conference to Focus on Manufacturing

Small aircraft in flight

Designs for flight vehicles were showcased at the 2013 Art of Innovation Conference. Photo by Armando Tellez.

For the second year in a row, California State University, Northridge’s College of Engineering and Computer Science will host the Art of Innovation (AOI) Conference for students, educators and professionals in the community.

Taking place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 20, the event will focus on the latest accomplishments in all areas of innovation, including quality management, manufacturing processes, supply chain management, product design, assistive technology, university-industry collaboration, engineering education and entrepreneurship. Attendees will meet and network with other industry professionals and educators to discuss challenges related to innovation and entrepreneurship in the 21st century.

“This event is crucial to CSUN and the engineering communities in the San Fernando Valley, as this is a one-of-a-kind conference on innovation in the [region],” said Shereazad “Jimmy” Gandhi, a co-chair of the conference. “Considering the competitive advantage that innovation can give local industry, it is a fantastic opportunity for businesses to come together and learn from — as well as discuss with — others in the innovation domain.”

The conference is organized by Gandhi, director of the Ernie Schaeffer Center of Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and Ileana Costea, chair of the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management. The event will be co-hosted with Aerojet Rocketdyne’s In2:InThinking Network 2014 Forum and is set to feature keynote speakers Ed Tackett of RapidTech and Michael Scully of BMW.

Tackett is the director of RapidTech with the National Science Foundation Center for Additive Manufacturing at University of California, Irvine. Beyond his 16 years of experience with additive manufacturing and product development, he has worked with more than 700 start-up companies, some of which have become Fortune 500 members.

Scully, the creative director of global design for BMW Group DesignworksUSA, was the lead designer on the Team USA bobsleds that took three medals at the Winter Olympics in Sochi earlier this year. He has led the design and development of a series of innovative carbon fiber BMW bobsleds, leading to 23 medals for the U.S. in the 2014 World Cup.

Two panels will be held at the conference. The first, “Innovation and Manufacturing,” will feature Jane A. Skeeter, CEO of UltraGlas; Peter Athanas, senior consultant for California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC); Daniel Feiman of Build it Backwards; and Charles Chase, senior program manager of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. Topics will include the alignment of market needs with manufacturing capabilities, the negative impacts of not innovating and “game-changing innovation transition.”

The second panel, “Growth through Innovation,” will feature speakers from CMTC. Moderated by Virginia Green, a specialist in innovation and growth management, the speakers will be Dennis Grogan, a senior consultant on enterprise transformation, and Elizabeth Glynn, a senior consultant experienced in exporting and global business. A Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.
The conference also will include an educator’s competition and poster display. Selected educators who have been working on innovative projects in their respective fields will present their work at the AOI conference during the “Innovation Paper Winners of Educator’s Competition” session.

The poster display portion of the event will be open throughout the day. Accepted work will be displayed in the main conference room.

For those in the area the day before the main AOI conference, a pre-conference workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 19 in the Northridge Center of the University Student Union. Reservations are required. The pre-conference workshop will feature Dale S. Deardorff, director of innovation and strategic thinking for the Rocky Peak Leadership Center, on the topic of “The Course in Creativity.”

Registration will be available to participants the day of the conference. Faculty registration is $125, and student registration is $40. Payment may be made with credit card or check only.

“Bringing experts from industry and academia to the AOI 2014 Conference offers the needed cross-pollination of experience and know-how from both sides,” Costea said. “Sharing lessons learned and networking will enhance the engineering community knowledge on applying innovative ideas with an entrepreneurship spirit. Another hidden agenda is to excite young people into STEM so that they can have rewarding engineering careers, and employers can get a more creative and qualified work force.”

Parking on the CSUN campus in student lots is $6 per day. For more visitor information, please visit the Department of Police Services.

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