The expanded 2005 National Manufacturing Week Conference, sponsored by ASME, showed marked improvement over last year's event, according to Mike Critser, conference director. Participants numbered well over 1,300, came from 38 states and 11 countries and represented job titles from executive and senior level management to engineering, IT and plant operations.

High-level keynotes were just a few of the high points at this year's event. Day one kicked off with a standing room only presentation delivered by Alcoa Chairman/CEO Alain Belda. He shared his unique perspective on the global market transformation underway driven by population and technology trends in the BRICK (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea), and the opportunities and challenges for today's innovative manufacturers. Insightful keynotes were also delivered by Claus Heinrich, executive board member SAP; James Champy, chairman of consulting for Perot Systems; Jim Berges, president of Emerson; and Harry Ghuman, vice president-Manufacturing & Distribution Industries, Oracle Corp. (Transcripts available at

A Manufacturing Town Hall Meeting, presided over by John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, sponsor of National Manufacturing Week, allowed manufacturers to ask questions of key Bush Administration officials, including Don Wainwright, chairman, U.S. Department of Commerce Manufacturing Council, and Al Frink, assistant secretary for manufacturing and services, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Show sentiments mirrored survey results conducted by the NAM. "Our survey tells us that the manufacturing recovery that gained real momentum last year will continue to strengthen in 2005,"