Executives join forum on manufacturing.

Top-level executives from some of South Carolina's largest and most influential companies are coming together in Greenville on Oct. 9 for a forum on how higher education can best partner with industry to meet the needs of advanced manufacturers.

Clemson University President James P. Clements will host the 45-minute forum at Greenville ONE at 6 p.m.

The forum is intended as an important step in an ongoing conversation between the higher education community and advanced manufacturers, according to a university news release

Six confirmed panelists are:

Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing

Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America

Scott Clark, chairman and president of Michelin North America

Dochul Choi, senior vice president, global business and technology strategy, Samsung Electronics America

Wolfgang Rubrecht, vice president, strategy and business development at Siemens

Tim Hardee, president of the South Carolina Technical College System

Clements said the number of high-level executives who have agreed to participate underscores the importance of higher education to the success of advanced manufacturing.

"Higher education plays an important role in moving new technologies to the marketplace and in creating a well-qualified workforce," he said in the news release. "This forum provides a great opportunity to establish a dialogue with some of the state's most influential advanced-manufacturing leaders. We look forward to continuing an important conversation that will ultimately lead to new and improved programs, helping promote job creation and economic growth."

For states along the Interstate 85 corridor, manufacturing is a cornerstone of a combined $1.9-trillion regional economy, accounting for more than 1.57 million jobs in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

South Carolina alone has 239,500 manufacturing jobs, which is 11.7% of nonfarm employment, according to the association.

The Oct. 9 forum is the latest in a series of Clemson efforts to support and accelerate advanced manufacturing, according to the news release. The organizing force behind those efforts is the Clemson University Center for Advanced Manufacturing, led by director Mark Johnson.

The Vehicle Assembly Center, an assembly line built for research, opened last spring as part of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Clemson officials...

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