AMS Evo NA Hero-Mobile

ams evo na logo


October 30-31, 2024 | The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI

Join the conversation #AMSLIVE


AMS Evo NA Hero-Tablet

ams evo na logo


October 30-31, 2024 | The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI

Join the conversation #AMSLIVE


AMS Evo NA Hero-Tablet

ams evo na logo


October 30-31, 2024 | The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI

Join the conversation #AMSLIVE


The first Automotive Evolution North America conference will help manufacturing leaders and experts at automotive OEMs and suppliers take advantage of increasing localisation, changing skills and production technology in the transition to electrification and sustainability across the region’s factories.

The North American automotive industry is not only bouncing back from recent crises, but also transforming production for an electrified, digital and sustainable future. Automotive OEMs and suppliers are making tremendous capital investment in existing and greenfield plants to build new technology and components, leading a charge to localise vehicle and battery manufacturing in the region.

Although the growth of electrification in the region is clear, manufacturers must manage a complex transition, and one that will have significant implications for manufacturing technology, investment, and jobs not only at automotive OEMs, but also for production at major tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers in the region.

This changing landscape will require the automotive manufacturing industry to be more flexible and leaner than ever before. That’s why Automotive Manufacturing Solutions is launching the first of its Automotive Evolution series of events in North America, bringing together top production leaders, plant directors, manufacturing engineers, equipment, digital and technology experts to explore how we succeed through leaner, greener, more flexible manufacturing.

Confirmed Speakers

Be Informed and Inspired by Leaders and Innovators

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.

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.

Leonel Leal, Ford

Leonel Leal

Advisor, Mobility Industry

Stealth-Mode EV

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.

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.


Eric Anderson

Associate Director, Americas Light Vehicle Powertrain forecasting

S&P Global

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.

Trent Randles, Borgwarner

Trent Randles

Manufacturing Engineering Manager


Bio coming soon...




Evolutionary Strategies in Automotive Manufacturing


Transforming factories, assembly lines and cultures

Automotive manufacturers across North America are designing and redesigning factories to meet requirements for changing technology, EVs and software-defined cars, exploring every opportunity to simplify and automate processes and improve productivity, from gigacasting to artificial intelligence. OEMs and suppliers must carefully consider new tools, investments and partnerships across manufacturing functions – as well as new skills and ways of working. Experts at AMS Evolution North America will share insights not only on the layout, tooling and automation changes in factories, but in how they are training employees, forming new supplier relationships and changing cultures.


Visualising and leveraging value of manufacturing data

As carmakers and suppliers introduce smart production systems and connect industrial internet of things (IIoT) equipment across all areas of manufacturing, they are building large data lakes, for example in tracking part locations in the plant, monitoring machine activity, scanning materials and inventory, to AI-driven algorithms powered by the cloud. But to gain the most value from this data, manufacturers are working on visualisation systems, including control rooms, digital Kanban and digital twins of entire facilities. AMS Evolution North America will delve into how manufacturers can make the most practical and valuable application of production data, making it accessible for teams with goals like preventing plant stoppages, ensuring accurate measurements, continuous improvement, as well as using machine learning and AI to avoid errors and help workers make better decisions.

labour and talent

The diverse skills and talent in urgent demand now, and in the years to come

As automotive manufacturing strives for greater efficiency and transitions to new technology, some roles and functions are set to be eliminated. However, OEMs and suppliers are nevertheless struggling to find talent and retain its existing manufacturing workforce in the face of changing working expectations and the desire for flexibility. AMS Evolution North America will explore how manufacturers can better develop a workforce to meet its changing needs, along with the measure it needs to take to attract, train and retain the diverse and flexible working culture it will need to succeed in the transition to electrification, digitalisation and carbon neutral manufacturing.


Making the most of vehicle and battery localisation

OEM and supplier factory investments are rising across North America, driven by customer demand, global supply chain disruption and government incentives such as the IRA in the US. The region is flourishing with EV and gigafactories in the US, battery suppliers in Canada and expanding output in Mexico. This localisation brings opportunity for OEMs and suppliers to shorten complex value chains in products like batteries packs, while requiring entirely new skills and technology at other locations. At AMS Evolution North America, production experts will share how to capitalise on and attract more local supply, and ensure it helps North American automotive and battery manufacturing to grow and stay competitive.

digital production

Making production more digital, automated and flexible

As they upgrade, expand and build new plants, automotive OEMs and suppliers in North America are introducing digital tools and automation that aims to increase help rather than hinder flexibility, from real-time tracking of parts, predictive maintenance tools for equipment, to the use of smart AGVs, grippers and cobots in assembly. In a time of changing model mix and so much uncertainty, manufacturers want to change speed, powertrains, products, bodies and platforms without significant reconfiguration or downtime. At AMS Evolution North America, plant directors and production experts will share innovations in manufacturing engineering, automation systems and process design that help automotive plants go with the flow.

lean and green

Lean and green in urgent demand now, and in the years to come

Major automotive manufacturers have committed to carbon neutral production across North America, but achieving it requires close coordination with regulators, suppliers and energy providers to manage transitions to renewables and to try new technology, as well as between manufacturing, engineering and purchasing teams to reduce unnecessary complexity. At AMS Evolution North America, learn about the first plants that are achieving carbon neutrality, including ambitious clean energy programmes, and better understand what they require from cross-functional, partners and regulators to achieve their goals.

Should you attend?

Automotive Manufacturing Solutions North America is an opportunity to discuss the recent crises in the automotive industry and and how it is undergoing a major shift towards electrification, digitization, and sustainability. OEMs and suppliers are investing heavily in existing and new plants to build new technology and components, and are focusing on localizing vehicle and battery manufacturing in the region, we'll bring together production leaders, plant directors, engineers, and technology experts to discuss and explore this transformation.

  • Manufacturing leadership: Senior manufacturing executives, plant directors and leaders in key functions aiming to optimise processes, technology, reduce emissions and develop staff to meet the needs of changing automotive production
  • Plant management: Experts managing production and assembly lines, aiming to improve workflow, manufacturing visibility, automation, reduce costs and bottlenecks to ensure production targets are met
  • Manufacturing engineers: For those leading on the design, development, and improvement of manufacturing processes and systems. Experts will explore new tools and technologies, integrating robotics and systems, and optimising brownfield and greenfield plants for electrification and sustainability
  • Quality Control and maintenance specialists: Strategies for testing, measuring and inspecting production and tooling at various stages of manufacturing, and tools for analysing data and using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to identify defects or non-conformities, and carrying out preventative maintenance to minimise downtime