Announcing Savvy Consortium's

New Product Development & Engineering Conference XXIX:  

Innovation Engineering Leads the Economic Recovery

What is expected of product design engineering in the uncertainty of 2020?  Product development engineering has driven product growth since 2005 and continued to drive growth through the 2008 recession. 

What about the economic recovery of 2020?  The Savvy Consortium Conference XXIX features engineering managers who are navigating this recovery today.  These speakers are leading product design, development, and innovation engineering for their firms. They are building the bridge to economic success “from both ends”.   What is engineering being asked to do over the next 12-24 months?

  • Execute on roadmaps
  • Maintain productivity levels in WFH environment
  • Add capacity to production to meet schedules (for essential businesses)
  • Pivot budgets: up or down, depending on market conditions
  • Support corporate plans
  • Shift project prioritization/focus
  • Engage with customers in new ways (with loss of trade shows/expos/in person visits)
  • Develop domestic supply chain

This Savvy Conference XXIX is about applying the right tools with the right mindset to successfully impact the economic recovery of 2020.

Wednesday, September 30

2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Pre-Conference Workshop: Develop a Learning Organization to Drive Innovation Engineering
  • Steve Heinecke
  • Corporate Scientist (ret)
  • 3M
Steve Heinecke will demonstrate how to accelerate productivity and customer-focused results through building a learning organization based on authentic mentorship. He will share his tools and methods, knowledge and experiences from his 42+year career at 3M. Steve successfully drove innovation forward at 3M, despite many challenges and obstacles. He continues to mentor others and is frequently called upon to provide his expertise to aspiring scientists and engineers. This knowledge rich workshop will equip you to lead the economic recovery in your organization.

Thursday, October 1

7:30 a.m.
Intro to Savvy Consortium of Product Development and Innovation Engineering Managers
  • Jim Jacobs, Co-Founder
  • Savvy Consortium
  • Beth Lasseter, Director of NPD Management Services
  • Savvy Consortium/Optima Associates
8:00 a.m.
Welcome and Introduction to Conference Theme: Leading the Economic Recovery
  • King Banaian, Dean of the School of Public Affairs
  • Professor of Economics
  • St Cloud State University
8:30 a.m.
Keynote Presentation: Rising to the Challenge: Integrating Engineering and Manufacturing to Meet New Demand
  • Tom Kennedy
  • President and CEO
  • TSI, Incorporated
9:45 a.m.
Employee Relationships in Today’s World of Work
  • Alex Cirillo, Jr
  • Vice President (ret)
  • 3M
In our “Covid-19 world”, organizations are facing challenges maintaining their company culture as well as the productivity and camaraderie of their employees. Work/life balance, employee development, career trajectory and many other traditional organizational issues have been upended as we careen from day to day. In the midst of all this, Savvy members are asking: 1. How to build relationships with new employees. 2. How to build relationships with coworkers. 3. How to be visible to their larger organization. These questions are timeless, but the answers are very much dependent upon the context of today’s world of work. How can we use the constraints of today’s changing workplace to improve and strengthen our employee relationships? We’ll take a look.
10:45 a.m.
Journey to Excellence: What Matters Most
  • Ellis Jones, Vice President
  • EHS&S and Business Continuity
  • Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Team health is the basis for performance excellence. At a time when team health and safety is more critical than ever, Ellis Jones will show the strategy Goodyear deployed to achieve organizational excellence, which is essential for the economic recovery of today. After Goodyear suffered four deaths in one year at one plant, Ellis led his team to create an action plan focused on governance, compliance, and leadership training. He used visual management of monthly operations to review team performance. He and his team learned that environment shapes culture, culture shapes performance and performance drives results. Ellis will share his key learnings and insights to enable you to manage your processes, build team health and execute on your strategies.
11:45 a.m.
12:45 p.m.
Customer Requirements: Opportunity for Simple, Smart Design ‘Engine’ that Drives Customized Machinery Operations
  • Kevin Weiss
  • Vice President of Operations
  • Delkor Systems, Inc.
Customer requirements at high demand levels created many opportunities for Delkor to simplify its manufacturing operations. Kevin Weiss presents his ‘Delkor Core Products Program”. Delkor has evolved operations comprised of simply ‘machines on hand’ to several, redundant layers of machine and component availability which produces increasing product volume. The impacts are many: the value to customers by having machines readily available is a considerable benefit. Kevin will demonstrate how and why the operating efficiencies reduce waste and simultaneously gain output from building in subassemblies. In addition, the purchase costs resulting from buying in volume generate better product margins. Simultaneously, Kevin is implementing a CPQ (configure-price-quote) system that integrates seamlessly Delkor’s operations. This system increases product volume, reduces customization and increases quoting automation. Additionally, CPQ impacts a variety of work tasks: it reduces lead times and the number of revisions, it minimizes quoting errors and stops the duplication of work while better qualifying sales opportunities. Improving ways to better address customer requirements with reduced time to produce at lower cost and shortened time to shipment generates work and takes time. Kevin will demonstrate this system and the maturity level (80%) of this ’transformational engine’ which generates Delkor’s profitable flow through this pipeline of standard products.
1:45 p.m.
People, Process & Priority Changes: Leading Through Uncertainty
  • Rick Bauer
  • Director of New Media Qualification
  • Donaldson Company
3:00 p.m.
Panel Presentation: Engineering Operations Pivots, Innovative Customer Interaction, Engineering Expectations to Drive Business Development
  • Gary Kassen, Director of Engineering, CNH Industrial
  • Tim Matuseski, Director of Engineering, Cobham
  • Dave Huebner, Director of R&D, Loram
  • John Heckel, Director of Engineering, Toro
  • Mark Jennen, Director of Engineering, Graco


Design engineering managers, department heads, chief engineers, functional department engineers, product engineers/marketers, directors of product engineering, change management pilot leaders, product test engineering managers, process improvement managers, product engineering development team members and leaders, and all who are responsible for improving product innovation, product development and process improvement in their product engineering operations. The conference is not open to academics, consultants, authors or gurus.

Over 1000 people have participated in Savvy conferences and learning events. They are design engineers, systems engineers, technical and scientific people; product development teams leaders, knowledge specialists, engineering departments heads, engineering support group leaders, continuous improvement managers, process excellence managers, talent build managers, knowledge system managers, and others whose mission is people development, process improvement and productivity increase.

Partial List of Firms attending Savvy Sponsored Product Development Events:

Toro, Eaton, Timken, Dana, Sauder, Medtronic, McDonalds, General Mills, TSI, Goodyear, Cooper, Amano Pioneer, Diebold, John Deere, Pella, Genie, Pella, Schram, Cabot, Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, Boston Scientific, Nexen, Masonite, Steris/US Endoscopy, Inovonics, UTAS Aerospace, Wil-burt, Cabot Electronics, Cooper, CNH, GE Medical, Crown, Keithley, Knowles, Parker, Actuant, Deluxe, Tennant, Henny Penny, 3M, Shram, Diamond, Emerson, Terex, Ditch Witch, Waterous, HGST, RT technologies, Altec, Toyota, Saris, Andersen, Wet Design, Sub Zero, Harley Davidson, Autobag, CA Companies, Beckman Coulter, Donaldson, Seagate and participants from many other manufacturers that are implementing continuous improvement in their product design engineering organizations.