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ICOSPA Congress a Big Success

icospaMetalforming manufacturers from around the world gathered in Grand Rapids, MI, on September 14-17 for the 16th International Council of Sheet Metal Presswork Associations (ICOSPA) Congress.  Three hundred metalforming industry executives attended the successful event to discuss key industry business issues, review new technologies and share industry-specific management practices.

ICOSPA comprises metalforming trade associations from England, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and the United States.  Its international Congress takes place every three years, hosted and organized on a rotating basis by one of its six member organizations.  Held in the United States for the first time since 1993, the 2008 Congress was hosted by PMA.

Highlights of the Congress included well-known keynote speakers, reports from the six ICOSPA countries and plant tours of worldclass metalforming facilities, all of which revolved around the theme of the 2008 Congress—“Shaping the world of metalforming—connecting ideas, best practices and people.”  A number of social events were held as well to optimize networking, including a special reception for next-generation leaders. 

The keynote speakers were:

  • John Snow, chairman/CEO of Cerberus Capital Management and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Jack Perkowski, chairman/CEO of ASIMCO (author of Managing the Dragon, How I’m Building a Billion-Dollar Business in China), who discussed the impact of world economics on the metalforming industry. 
  • Brian Krinock, vice president, production engineering for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc., and Fred Keller, chairman/CEO of Cascade Engineering, who reviewed the world market of metalforming—products, devices and beyond. 
  • James Hackett, chairman/CEO of Steelcase Corp., and John Kennedy, chairman/CEO of Autocam Corp., who conducted presentations highlighting the latest innovations in metalforming.

Also during the Congress, the six ICOSPA countries reported on key issues faced by the metalforming industry in their nations.  Topics included best practices for supplying to the automotive industry; technical innovation in sheet metal forming; development of high-tensile-strength steel-processing techniques; professionalizing purchasing within subcontracting industries; metalforming and the environment; and recruiting, training and apprenticeships.
Participants also enjoyed plant tours of eight local worldclass manufacturing companies: Trans-Matic Mfg. Co., Haworth Inc., GHSP, Shape Corp., GR Spring and Stamping, Irwin Seating Co., Pridgeon and Clay, and Steelcase Inc. 

Thanks to the ICOSPA Congress Steering Committee for planning an outstanding event!

Chair: Bruce Walker, Walker Corp.
Kent Bank, Minneapolis Washer & Stamping, Inc.
Jeff Clark, Waukesha Tool & Stamping, LLC
Bob Clay, Pridgeon & Clay, Inc.
Fathi El-Farghali, SEYI Presses
Jody Fledderman, Batesville Tool & Die
Brian Gillespie, Plexus Systems, Inc.
Tim Gleason, IMS Olson LLC
Ralph Hardt, Feintool Cincinnati, Inc.
Cindy Keat, The Su-Dan Corp.
Dennis Keat, The Su-Dan Corp.
Nels Leutwiler, Parkview Metal Products
Leo Martin, Blow Press
Mike Mehwald, Atlantic Tool & Die Co.
Chip Michaelsen, ODM Tool & Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Bernie Rosselli, Stewart EFI, LLC
P.J. Thompson, Trans-Matic Manufacturing Co.
Jim Zawacki, GR Spring & Stamping, Inc.