Pictured from left are Dannon Butts, Brian Tapajna, Cenise Waites, AME CEO Kim Humphrey, Josh Buchanan, Amy Roosien, Megan Trainor, Chad Daniel, Eugene Saunders and Brian Fields.

NNS Well Represented at AME Annual Conference

Published November 23, 2022

Newport News Shipbuilding participated in the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) International Conference in Dallas, Texas, in October with shipbuilders attending in person and virtually. This year’s theme was “Embrace Disruption.”

This continues NNS’ ongoing relationship with AME, which fosters the exchange of knowledge in enterprise excellence, exploration of improvement methods, exchange of best practices and networking to improve competitiveness and value.

NNS was well represented during the conference, with Industrial, Mechanical, and Systems Engineering (IMSE) Director Dannon Butts and IMSE Manager Amy Roosien presenting a session on navigating continuous improvement in disruptive times.

“It was an honor to update the AME community on the shipyard’s continuous improvement journey over the past decade. We’re making real progress,” Butts said. Roosien added, “All companies feel the struggle of transformation. It is nice to be able to exchange ideas, stories, and spirit with everyone in such an engaging forum.”

In addition, Dr. Latitia McCane, director of education at The Apprentice School, was part of a panel that discussed recruiting and retaining the workforce.

IMSE Manager Josh Buchanan is AME’s director for the Emerging Leaders Program. The cohort for 2022 presented their capstone projects. “The conference was a great opportunity to absorb the industry best practices,” Buchanan said. “The cohort did an outstanding job.”

Cohort member Megan Trainor (O97) said “collaborating with industry leaders has further developed my leadership skills and has strengthened my ability to disrupt positive change.”

AME panelists for a discussion on “Recruiting and Retaining the New Collar Workforce” included Jake Lopez, executive director of SkillsUSA Texas; Casey Roberts, executive director of New Horizons Regional Education Centers, Virginia; Gay Berryman, ASC/ITC director for Education Services Center, Texas; Glenn Marshall, AME Room MC; and Dr. Latitia McCane, director of education at The Apprentice School.

Virtual attendees were treated to the keynote speakers, exclusive sessions and tours. Content was recorded for continued viewing. “A common theme of the conference was to always put your people in the forefront, which has a positive end result. Employees will be empowered, take ownership and be a strong catalyst in solving problems,” said Jennifer Hilliard (X57)

Another virtual attendee, Nishon Carter (N960), called the virtual tours and sessions “inspirational and reinvigorating.” “We were able to experience unique perspectives and applications from practitioners around the globe,” he said.

Tyler Ashworth (X51), also attended virtually. “The sessions challenged us to embrace disruptions as opportunities, to realize empathy is at the heart of innovation, and to ‘slow down to speed up’ (do things right).”

AME President and CEO Kim Humphrey was pleased to welcome the NNS team. “NNS attendees were able to share, learn and grow in all areas impacting shipbuilding. It was exciting to see the efforts and enthusiasm around continuous improvement at NNS,” she said.

Brian Tapajna (X51) coordinated the effort for NNS employees to attend the conference. “I am humbled to have the opportunity for others to learn and grow. I was extremely proud of NNS to stand before other change agents and discuss the challenges all industries face. We are charged, full of ideas and contacts. Annual attendance is a must do,” he said.