Confirmed Speakers

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C. Glover - Copy

Chris Glover

Chief Executive Officer

Volkswagen Chattanooga

Chris Glover graduated from the University of Cape Town, South Africa with a degree in Electronic Engineering in 1987.
Glover’s lifelong career with Volkswagen then began, where he has held positions within information technology, product management, manufacturing planning and production. More than half of these positions were international assignments in Germany, Brazil, China, Mexico and now the United States.
After a decade with Volkswagen of South Africa, Glover began his international career with 2 assignments in production in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 2004-2007, Glover led Production Planning and Industrial Engineering at the Curitiba plant of VW Brazil. He returned to South Africa as Division Head for Production from 2007-2010 and Division Head for Production Planning from 2010-2012. Thereafter, Glover spent 7.5 years in Shanghai as Head of Production Planning for SAIC Volkswagen from 2012-2019, where he was responsible for the planning and construction of seven new vehicle factories, including the first all-electric vehicle plant in Anting, Shanghai. He then spent 2.5 years as Vice President of Production and Logistics at VW Mexico in Puebla before joining the team in Chattanooga, Tennessee at the beginning of 2022.
As President and CEO at the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant, Glover has overseen the successful launch of the ID.4 in 2022 and the factory’s transformation to become Volkswagen’s North American hub for electric vehicle and battery assembly. With Chattanooga now entrenched as a key player in the VW Group’s international strategy, Glover and team are now setting their sights on the future growth of the plant to meet the increasing demand for electric mobility in the North American region.
Glover speaks four languages: English, Spanish, German and Portuguese. He is married with 3 children.

Abby Chitwood, Panasonic Energy (web)

Abby Chitwood

Director of Expansion Engineering

Panasonic Energy of North America

Abby Chitwood is the Director of Expansion Engineering in charge of new product introduction at Panasonic Energy of North America. In her role at the Gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada, she leads a cross-functional team of engineers through new process development, the introduction of new technologies, and the design of optimised factory layouts, while also maintaining the Hazardous Material Inventory Sheet she created to assess risk and develop building code policy. Chitwood oversees the design and layout of new factories to optimise utilisation, ensures efficient and ergonomic workflows are in place and appropriate mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems exist, and leads regulatory compliance efforts that improve cost per gigawatt-hour. She is also a key player in Panasonic’s global collaboration with the Japanese engineering teams and has extensive experience in presenting business growth at the Gigafactory. In her previous role at Panasonic, Chitwood led a team of 40 engineers in battery manufacturing across areas including electrode, winding, assembly, and formation of cells – including utilization of design review based on failure mode to assess equipment. She also served in various capacities at the company as a battery engineer. Chitwood is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Oregon State University where she earned an Honors Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Minor in Biology, Pre-Medicine. She is the recipient of the 2022 STEM Star Professional Award, 2021 Global Panasonic President’s Award, and 2019 US Panasonic President’s Award.

Leonel Leal, Ford

Leonel Leal

Head of Vehicle Advanced Process and Innovation Strategy

Ford Motor Company

Leonel Leal is an innovative leader in advanced product and manufacturing engineering, with a broad range of experience across pure electric vehicle manufacturers, including Tesla and Faraday Future, as well as industries outside the automotive industry. He joined Ford this year to take on a new role responsible for next-generation advanced feasibility for manufacturing of EV architectures and software-defined vehicles in the carmaker’s Model e division. In the role, he is helping to improve integrated engineering, product and manufacturing development, including design for manufacturing processes. Leal previously held advanced and senior manufacturing engineering roles at Tesla and Faraday Future, including advanced manufacturing strategy and vehicle and battery integration. He went on to be senior director of global advanced manufacturing engineering and digital transformation at white goods manufacturer Whirlpool, and later led vehicle design engineering at Amazon, leading on engineering technology for future last mile-delivery technology. He has a Bachelor of Science in product design from Stanford University.

Brian Breuhan

Brian Breuhan

Sr. Manufacturing Engineer, Advanced Technology

General Motors

Brian Breuhan has over 20 years of experience working in mechanical design, project engineering and project management within the automotive engineering/manufacturing industry. Brian has held various professional leadership roles for nonprofits, including, Executive Board Member for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Metro Detroit, Industry 4.0 Advisory Council for Automation Alley and a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for Wayne State University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Wayne State University and a Master of Science in Engineering Management from Central Michigan University.


Humam M. Alwan

Software X Quality Management - Reactive Problem Solving Master & Instructor


Coming soon...

Paul Stephen, Ford Motor new

Paul Stephens

Manufacturing Transformation Lead

Ford Motor Company

Paul Stephens in an innovation leader across Ford’s manufacturing, playing a critical role in transforming the carmaker’s vehicle production, especially for electric vehicles and greenfield plants. Since February 2023, he is responsible for next-generation manufacturing innovation initiative to improve production efficiency and lower costs. His main focus is on new electric vehicles and platforms, and production at Ford’s upcoming EV factories in Tennessee and Kentucky. Stephens has been with Ford for more than eight years in a variety of manufacturing engineering roles across various model launches and tooling, and across vehicle operations for forward vehicle launches. He a degree in mechanical engineering from Kettering University.

Trent Randles, Borgwarner

Trent Randles

Manufacturing Engineering Manager


Trent Randles has worked for Automotive Tier-1 suppliers for the last 10 years including Plastic Omnium, Magna Seating and BorgWarner. Holding various engineering positions in operations, design, program launch and engineering leadership has given him a unique perspective of the manufacturing industry. Throughout his career he’s led multiple digital transformation initiatives involving Digital Twins, Augmented Reality, and Cyber-Physical Production Systems.

In his current role as Manufacturing Engineering Manager at BorgWarner, he continues to promote digital technology advancement through educating others, coaching his team, and developing key partnerships.

Trent holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology Management from University of South Carolina – Upstate and a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. He is passionate about advancing technology in manufacturing, learning from others in this area and being a mentor to those seeking knowledge about it.

Lars Carlstrom, ItalVolt resized

Lars Carlstrom


Statevolt - Italvolt

Lars is a Swedish-born entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience across multiple industries, with particular focus on real estate and recently green industrialisation. He is passionate about supporting the global energy transition to power the world more sustainability and is a strong advocate of advancing low carbon energy solutions. Lars believes that battery cell factories can be used as a dual-track solution for advancing the energy transition and economic development. He advocates for building battery cell factories in areas which have experienced economic decline or underinvestment. By focusing development in these areas, battery cell plants can help generate employment opportunities and deliver direct and indirect economic benefits. In 2021, Lars founded a company that plans to build a 45GWh battery plant in Italy, which will be the country’s largest, independent, battery cell factory. The battery cell factory will focus on creating new opportunities for re-skilling and upskilling workers in Italy’s automotive industry. Italvolt is supporting the green industrialisation of Italy, and Europe, more widely, by delivering battery cells which will help drive decarbonisation across a variety of industries. In 2022, Lars founded Statevolt, which is planning to build a 54 GWh battery factory in Imperial Valley, California. The Statevolt project will focus on developing a new, ‘hyper-local’ business model for battery development. The arrangement will see the business source its key feedstock, lithium, and power, from local sources, to minimize the environmental impact of production and build a more sustainable and secure supply chain. The unifying aim of Lars’ work in building battery cell plants is to support economic regeneration, green industrialization, and good jobs, in Italy and USA.


Eric Anderson

Associate Director, Americas Light Vehicle Powertrain forecasting

S&P Global Mobility

Eric Anderson serves as Associate Director, Light Vehicle Powertrain forecasting for the Americas at S&P Global Mobility (formerly IHS Markit), performing research and forecasts on light vehicle production, electrification and competitive forces around the region. He has an in-depth understanding of market conditions, OEM electrification and platform strategies, product lifecycles, as well as the regulatory environment. This also entails understanding consumer habits, preferences, trends, and macroeconomic conditions expected to play out in the market. Prior to joining S&P Global, Eric worked for a global Tier 1 automotive supplier and played a key role in their North American supply chain and logistics operations. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Western Michigan University and a Master of Business Administration from Walsh College.


Raj Sohmshetty


Wayne State University Office of Business Innovation & Technology Commercialization

Raj Sohmshetty is a recently retired employee of Ford Motor Company where he had served in various technical and people leadership roles. His experience spans automotive product development, manufacturing, and technology development. In his most recent role as a Technical Specialist in Ford Research & Advanced Engineering, he led research projects related to Industry 4.0, AI/ML, robotics/automation, manufacturing data analytics, and future mobility systems. Raj has published over 25 conference and journal papers, reviewed technical papers, and chaired sessions for SAE and Smart Manufacturing and Automation Conferences. He has received over 60 patents in automotive design, manufacturing, and future mobility systems fields and multiple Trade Secret Awards.
Raj Sohmshetty holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras; a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio; & an MBA degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Raj Kawlra, Stellantis

Raj Kawlra

ex-Head of NA Stellantis Production Way Deployment

Stellantis (Retired) Manufacturing Consultant

Coming soon...

Daimler Truck North America

Jud Estes

Quality Engineer

Daimler Truck North America

Coming soon...

Screenshot 2023-09-25 at 16.20.06

Victor Gaylor

Quality Auditor


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Dan Skulan

Dan Skulan

General Manager – Industrial Metrology


Dan Skulan helps companies increase production throughput, maximize flexibility, and ensure optimal part quality in precision metal manufacturing using both CNC and Additive technologies. Backed by a global team of industrial metrologists, he works consultatively with companies who wish to achieve higher levels of productivity by incorporating Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Principles. Dan holds degrees in Electronics Technology, Industrial Manufacturing and Marketing and has over 35 years practical experience with manufacturing process evaluation, design, and automated process control.

2022-02-09 Greg Telsonic-0280

Greg Ruscak

Engineering Manager


Greg joined Telsonic right after completing his studies as Mechanical engineer at Wentworth institute of Technology in 2015. He started working as applications engineer in Telsonic’s applications laboratory in Boston. Ever since then, he’s been working creatively and systematically to meet demanding customer needs by solving some of the most challenging applications and engineering problems. Many of these projects have made it successfully into production and are now present in a broad spectrum of automobiles, trucks and many other vehicles and products. These accomplishments, along with his focus on continuous improvement using his six sigma experience and scientific approach, led him to become the Engineering Manager serving the Americas market from our Boston location. His emphasis in our Linear, Torsional, and PowerWheel® technologies has helped to expand the application spectrum for the automotive industry.