From the CEO: Golden nuggets from the highest attended AME SE Region Summit

AME | June 28, 2024

This week, I am honored to share the highlights of our AME Southeast Region Lean Summit in Nashville, Tennessee.

First, I want to congratulate the summit team for organizing a week of learning and networking that netted the largest attendance in AME SE Region Summit history! Congratulations to Summit Chair Jerry Pfister and his amazing team consisting of Steve Ebbing (keynotes), Wesley Farris (sponsorship/networking), Hank Czarnecki (workshops), Jared Norflis and Burgess Oliver (tours), Mike Burns (large groups), and AME Home Team members Desiree Dolecki, Sara O’Hara, Barb Clayton, Jessi Elder, and Meghna Kamboj. Of course, kudos to the entire SE Regional Board, SE Region President April Schmidt, and all the volunteers, including Cenise Waites, for an outstanding week.

Summit Chair Jerry Pfister shared, “I appreciate all who attended the Nashville Lean Summit. It was inspiring as we watched you learn, share and grow together. From the welcome reception’s networking through the tours, workshops and keynote speakers, I am encouraged about tomorrow’s committed and engaged lean leaders.”

This summit left an indelible mark on all who attended. From captivating keynote speakers to enriching workshops, this event was a celebration of sharing, learning and growing. The summit featured world-class keynote speakers. Their insights and reflections resonated with everyone present.



Keynote speaker Crystal Davis shared how to “Bridge the gap: rethinking culture.” Her core message was that AI is essential for the future of work, and preparation for its integration is crucial. She shared the significance AI will play in the future workplace and that organizations must prepare now to adopt new technologies. She left us with the message that AI and humans can positively coexist and that AI tools support and improve continuous improvement (CI) and lean methodologies. AI will be integrated into various aspects of work, from office tasks to manufacturing processes.


Keynote speaker Cindy Hinds excited attendees with “Be the Bacon! Developing leader volition to your lean transformation through coaching.” Her core message was that change starts with personal responsibility and proactive action and that to “be the bacon,” we must embrace full commitment and involvement in the lean race. If we focus on the process, results will follow, and the right approach and continuous persistence are crucial. She shared that effective coaching and strong management support are key to sustaining lean initiatives, and dedication to problem-solving is essential.


AME events are always known for their world-class tours, and the AME Nashville 2024 Lean Summit exceeded all expectations. We toured A.O. Smith Corporation, Bath Fitter, Delta Faucet Company, Schneider Electric, Trane Technologies and Vanderbilt Medical Center. Attendees raved about the learning opportunities.

We explored workshops around topics like:

  • 8-step problem-solving
  • Creating a lean management system
  • Leadership for an engaged culture
  • Impactful leadership about how to engage and motivate your teams
  • Transformational leadership effectiveness about ensuring organizational buy-in regarding key initiatives, effective problem-solving and root cause analysis
  • Principles of lean manufacturing

Of course, the most impactful element was the opportunity to network with fellow practitioners and our generous sponsors. Thank you to sponsors TMG, Curtis&Co, the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions. We forged lifelong connections, formed collaborations and exchanged impactful ideas.

As I reflect on this remarkable event, I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to this summit. SE Regional Board Director Steve Ebbing said it best, “What a great week we had at the AME Lean Summit in Nashville! The plant tours, workshops, and especially the keynote speakers, Crystal Davis and Cindy Hinds, were all outstanding! It is great to be part of AME.”

If you want to experience more events like this, don’t forget to register for the AME Atlanta 2024 International Conference on October 28 - 31, 2024. Celebrate our 40th anniversary of the conference with us! At AME Atlanta 2024, we will CONNECT. EVOLVE. TRANSFORM. Hosted at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, the conference will include 30+ sessions focused on:

  • Developing an evolving workforce
  • CI tools and culture: Connecting the dots
  • Nurturing thriving learning organizations
  • Coaching the practice of problem-solving together
  • Striking a balance: Integrating people and AI

Need to make the case to your leaders to invest in AME Atlanta 2024? Download this letter.

Thanks again to everyone who makes this AME community such a joy. As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.