20 Manufacturing Innovators and Thought Leaders You Should Know
As Industry 4.0 transforms manufacturing, there are two driving forces: theory and practice. Theory is the realm of the futurists and thought leaders who outline where we could be. Practice is owned by the people on the shop floor, from line workers all the way up to the c-suite.
Hand in hand, thought leaders and operations innovators are guiding digital transformation in factories across the world. By sharing and learning from each other, they are able to design and implement new solutions for OT/IT convergence.
The people on this list are at the forefront of manufacturing technology. They are already shaping how the factory of tomorrow will work, and they’re working on what’s coming next.
Check out the brief bios and links below to get up to speed on the future of manufacturing.
The operations innovators
Ronald Van Loon, Principal Analyst and CEO, Intelligent World
Ronald is a Top 10 Global Influencer in AI, Machine Learning, Digital Transformation, Business Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics. In 2020, he leveraged this experience to start Intelligent World, a thought leader, analyst, and influencer network for tech, AI, data and analytics enthusiasts.
Kristin Taylore, CEO/Co-founder, Radical Plastics
Kristin spent 27 years in the plastics industry before founding Radical Plastics in 2019. Her company’s proprietary technology blends conventional plastics with a naturally occurring catalyst to create a product that is biodegradable. She has a BS and MS in plastics engineering from University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Follow Kristin: LinkedIn
Glen Starkey, President, Director of Engineering & Sales Progressive Components
Glen has led engineering and manufacture of components for the production tooling industry for over 30 years. At Progressive Components, Glen has designed and developed more than 15 patented products. He is also immediate past Chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers Mold Technologies Division, on the Board of the American Mold Builders Association and leads the mold makers group within the Plastics Industry Association.
Follow Glen: LinkedIn
Dr. Marcel Vollmer, CEO, Prospitalia Group
Marchel spent over 14 years at SAP, and in 2017 he was promoted to Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President. In January 2022, he started a new role as CEO of Prospitalia Group.
Read this: What is Industry 5.0?
Linda Grasso, CEO, DeltalogiX
Linda is the CEO of the digital transformation consulting firm Digital Business Innovation. In 2021 she founded the blog DeltalogiX, where she and her team have written extensively on digital transformation and related topics such as IoT and automation.
Giuliano Liguori Founder, Digital Leaders
Giuliano is a digital transformation thought leader and has helped companies with effective OT and IT convergence for over 15 years. In 2007, he founded Digital Leaders, where he promotes digital transformation, industry 4.0, and AI adoption. He is also an executive board member of CIO Club Italia.
Read this: Adapt or die: How business must adapt to Industry 4.0
Helen Yu Founder & CEO Tigon Advisory Group
Helen is a best selling author and founder of Tigon Advisory Group. Using her CXO-as-a-service model, she has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for her Fortune 500 clients by addressing strategy-to-execution disconnects. She is also a Global Top 20 thought leader in 10 categories, including digital transformation, AI, cloud computing, Cybersecurity, IoT and Marketing. In 2021 she joined BriteCore as SVP of Services.
Nicole Wolter, President & CEO, HM Manufacturing, Inc
Nicole has been an operations leader at HM Manufacturing for over 13 years. Her tenure started in 2009 as a purchasing agent/buyer, and in 2017 she was promoted to president and CEO. She also serves on the boards of mHUB, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and Technology & Manufacturing Association (TMA) for which she is treasurer.
Operations Specialist and Consultant
Christian is an operations specialist and consultant. He brings four decades of engineering, production, and management experience to his consultant work, helping clients transition to industry 4.0. He also specializes in big data, IoT, robotics, 3-D printing, as well as leadership, accountability, and employee engagement.
Read this: Smart Factory – Industry 4.0
The thought leaders
Peggy Smedley, President/Editorial Director, Specialty Publishing Co
Peggy is an author, radio host, podcaster, content influencer and futurist. She has spent nearly 25 years writing and speaking about IoT, AI, construction, sustainability, infrastructure, and digital transformation. The Peggy Smedley Show has over 750 episodes and her latest book, Sustainable in a Circular World, was published in 2021.
Henrik von Scheel, Strategist, Code Red
Henrik is a speaker, futurist, and strategist at Code Red, where he advises clients on digital themes and modern management. In 2019 he received the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award for his work in industry 4.0. He is also a professor at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.
Jonny Williamson, Editor, TheManufacturer.com, Hennik Group
Johnny is a B2B content producer, journalist, and thought leader. For over ten years he has written about manufacturing, business growth, sustainability, innovation, and digital transformation, which has made him an invaluable resource for analysis and insights on the future of manufacturing.
Read this: The Future of Work: Manufacturing
Gary Mintchell, Founder, The Manufacturing Connection
Gary is a writer, consultant and thought leader on Industrial technology. Since 1971, he has worked for manufacturing companies and for publications that focus on manufacturing and automation. In 2009 he founded The Manufacturing Connection, where he taps his vast experience to advise clients on Industrial Internet of Things, Smart Manufacturing, and IT/OT Convergence. Since 2020, Gary has also served as a Strategic Advisor at SIoT Analytics.
Read this: Pondering Automation Company Strategies
Allison Grealis, President, Women in Manufacturing Association
Allison has been promoting and supporting women in manufacturing for over a decade, first as the president of the Women in Manufacturing Association and, since 2016, as president of the Women in Manufacturing Education Foundation (WiMEF). Prior to this, she spent nearly 20 years with the Precision Metalforming Association, working her way up to Vice President of Association Services.
Read this: Together We Go Further
Maximillian Ge, IoT Industry 4.0 Adoption Researcher, University of Cambridge
Maximillian has been at the University of Cambridge for over 13 years. In that time he has studied and led programs on industrial design, entrepreneurship, chemical engineering, biotechnology and computer science. In 2020, he began his research on IoT and Industry 4.0 with a focus on UK industry executive education, notably in the field of manufacturing.
Thorsten Wuest, Associate Professor, West Virginia University
Thorsten has been an associate professor of Industrial and Management Systems in the Engineering Department at West Virginia University since 2015. His focus includes a wide range of industry 4.0-related topics, such as multi-stage smart manufacturing systems, hybrid analytics, and AI in manufacturing. He has been named one of SME’s 20 most influential professors in smart manufacturing.
Tony Radoszewski, President & CEO, Plastics Industry Association
Tony is a veteran leader of plastics manufacturing associations. For over 13 years he served as president of the Plastics Pipe Institute. In 2019 he joined the Plastics Industry Association as its President and CEO. Before entering the association space, Tony clocked over 25 years of leadership experience in plastics manufacturing.
Ryan Delahanty, Executive Vice President/Sales, Vice President of Plastics Media Brands Gardner Business Media
After over three years as Group Publisher for Advanced Materials and Processing Brands, Ryan was promoted to EVP Sales and VP of Plastics Media Brands at Gardner Business Media. Ryan brings on-the-ground insights to his publications by visiting suppliers to gain into manufacturing technologies. This also allows him to help manufacturers better attract customers from his publications’ readers.
Jim Callari, Editorial Director, Plastics Technology Magazine/Gardner Business Media
Jim has been Editorial Director for Plastics Technology Magazine for nearly 13 years, and had editorial duties for Plastics World Magazine starting in 1988. His position allows him to maintain a deep knowledge of the state of the industry and insight into how it has changed over more than 30 years.
Read this: Petoskey Plastics Expands to Texas
Follow Jim: LinkedIn
Mike Nager, Author of Smart Manufacturing Terms You Need to Know!
Mike is an author, speaker, and thought leader with nearly a quarter of a century of experience in the world of industrial automation. He has written two books on industrial automation: Smart Manufacturing Terms You Need to Know! and The Smart Student’s Guide to Smart Manufacturing.
Industry 4.0 is here. The thought leaders and operations innovators on this list have already begun to shape the future of automated manufacturing. Follow these experts to make sure your business is ready for the next generation of manufacturing innovation.
To learn more about Industry 4.0 and beyond, read What Will 2022 Bring for Manufacturers?