From the CEO: Pride for AME’s world-class Champions Club

AME | September 22, 2023

You hear me talk a lot about how proud I am that AME has a world-class Champions Club. This is one of the best places for senior leaders, lean influencers and C-suite executives to network for peer-to-peer learning. It is an exclusive group that delivers experiential learning and strategic value to leaders. AME Champions Club members come from diverse industry backgrounds; all unified around a vested interest in lean principles and the shared desire to pioneer thought leadership.

Champions meet in person for site visits to benchmark excellence in industry. Complementing these in-person site visits are virtual roundtable discussions with highly sought-after speakers on topics relevant to current industry challenges. These events provide bilateral value through a unique sharing of knowledge from business to business and speaker to audience. More importantly, champions develop long-term relationships, not only with industry experts but also with their fellow leaders.

Last week, I was honored to participate in a Champions event in St Louis. Champions members were able to experience the most incredible learning event thanks to AME Champion Club director Marc Kuzik; Cheryl Jekiel; AME conferences and events manager Sara O’Hara; St Louis AME Consortia facilitator Jonathan Jones; host companies Barry-Wehmiller, Cambridge Air Solutions, and Hunter Engineering; and many others behind the scenes.

The week began with a visit to Barry-Wehmiller, an amazing organization focused on Building a Better World Through Business. We heard how people and performance can work in harmony and how holding people accountable is a kind thing to do. Bob Chapman, chairman and CEO, shared, “Business could be the most powerful force for good in the world if leaders would embrace the awesome responsibility of leadership.” He also stated, “How can everyone matter when no one is held accountable?” Chapman’s book "Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family" is an international best seller.

From there, we visited Cambridge Air Solutions, whose tagline “Enriching Lives” was evident everywhere. We attended their daily morning meeting, where team members shared personal and professional thoughts, sharing authentic engagement and joy. AME people-centric leader director and Cambridge VP Meg Brown shared, “The morning meeting is the heartbeat of our culture and our continuous improvement engine. It is a powerful foundational daily habit.” Their core values of care, courage, respect, safety, leading teams/team members, continuous improvement and quality resonated with the Champions.

Finally, we visited Hunter Engineering Company, a company founded in 1946 and led by president Beau Brauer, where we observed technology and people working together again in harmony. We observed an engaged team working alongside unbelievable innovation. AME Champions were awed by the collaboration and the fact that Hunter exports to customers in 130 countries.

AME Champions Club at Hunter Engineering Company

JELD-WEN director of the transformation management office and new AME Champion Jen Borden shared, “Every moment and interaction of this champions club event (my first in-person) has reawakened and reinvigorated me to get back on track and stay on course. I had gotten so wrapped up in the immediate needs and urgent tasks at hand that I allowed myself to stray away from my passion and true north. The people I met and interacted with helped me realize that I had strayed and that it was within my control to stay there or get back on track. I am still processing and internalizing these powerful insights and moments. I had allowed 'the chaos' to be an excuse for not doing what I know is foundational – deeply respecting people and continuous improvement. Not only are these champions the best and brightest strategic and operationally excellent minds in the country, but they are also the most down-to-earth, genuine, and caring group of people I’ve ever been involved with. I am grateful and honored to be a member of this amazing community. I look forward to calling on these new friends and mentors to help me continue my personal and professional continuous improvement journey.”

AME Champions will convene this year at the AME Cleveland 2023 International Conference, where they will get exclusive access to the remarkable lineup of AME keynote speakers. It’s a networking event our Champions value highly for the ideas and relationships that flow from the rich, candid discussions.

I’m so proud of the work our AME Champions Club engages in and how much it has grown over the years. It truly puts AME’s mission to share, learn and grow into practice. Thank you again to all the people who worked to put on this St. Louis Champions Club event, especially our host companies, Cambridge Air Solutions, Barry Wehmiller and Hunter Engineering.

Want to learn more about the champions? Reach out to See you in Cleveland!

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.