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Automate to Innovate: Panel Discussion with Manufacturing Automation Mag.

July 29, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

The global manufacturing industry has long touted the benefits of Industry 4.0 technologies – improved productivity and product quality, reduced operating costs, competitive advantage. For many Canadian manufacturers, the list of reasons not to automate was long, topped by perceived expense and insufficient testing at scale.

But the COVID-19 pandemic is necessitating rapid change.

During the height of the lockdowns, manufacturers were forced to close, reduce operations or furlough workers. Consumer demand shifted unpredictably and supply chains, particularly those concentrated in gravely affected regions, suffered bottlenecking so great shelves were left empty for weeks.

Operations have now mostly reopened, and manufacturers have had to make accommodations. Production requirements remain the same but have been hampered by staffing challenges and increased safety measures.

To help manufacturers prepare for a potential second wave of the coronavirus and long-term competitiveness, Manufacturing AUTOMATION and Canadian Plastics have partnered to bring industry experts together in a FREE virtual summit focused on how automation will prove integral to our “new normal,” and on how to implement it.



Moderator: Kristina Urquhart
Bernadeen McLeod, President & Founder, Mentor Works
Blair de Verteuil, Vice-President Operations, Life Sciences, ATS Automation
David Jeffrey, Regional Vice-President, Central Canada, Salesforce
Shelley Fellows, Chair, Automate Canada

Our presenter will be joined by industry experts to discuss how manufacturers can enable Industry 4.0 technologies in a roundtable and audience Q&A led by Kristina Urquhart, editor of Manufacturing AUTOMATION. Topics will include funding, planning an innovation strategy, determining primary investments, best practices for testing and scaling, enterprise risk management, and automation’s true cost.

Bernadeen McLeod, President and Founder, Mentor Works

Bernadeen McLeod is the president and founder of Mentor Works, which works with Canadian businesses to develop government funding plans. Bernadeen worked in the corporate arena for 18 years as an executive and general manager in the manufacturing sector.

With considerable expertise in government funding, both on a federal and provincial level, Bernadeen understands the aspects most critical to a successful Proactive Funding Plan™. She plays to win, and recognizes the importance of cash flow and margins. This enables her clients to succeed and access larger government funding wins than otherwise available.

Blair de Verteuil, Vice-President Operations, Life Sciences, ATS Automation

Blair de Verteuil is vice-president of operations of the Cambridge Life Sciences Division of ATS Automation Tooling, Inc.

Blair is a Professional Engineer and graduate of the Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering program from Queens University. He began his career with ATS in 2001 as an automation engineer and has held progressive roles since then as an applications engineer, project manager, director of program management, general manager and most recently as VP of operations.

Blair is a dynamic and passionate leader that believes in empowering people to create an engaged team culture. He is a strong advocate of leveraging innovative ideas and technologies to advance ATS Automation’s product and service offerings.

David Jeffrey, Regional Vice-President, Central Canada, Salesforce

David Jeffrey is a regional vice-president at Salesforce Canada, where he guides a team of enterprise account executives covering Central Canada. Salesforce is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software that helps Canadian businesses find, win, keep, grow and track information about their customer base.

During his 11-year career at Salesforce and as both an individual contributor and RVP, he has helped customers transform their business with Salesforce. His work helped reach customers and lead to some of the largest, commercial new business transactions in Canadian commercial sector.

David’s career prior to Salesforce included roles with other SaaS leaders such as Eloqua and Google (acquired Postini). He also spent over seven years with Adobe, during which time they acquired Ottawa-based Jetform Corp., where he covered the financial services sector and Big Five banks in Canada. David’s sales career started over 20 years ago at Xerox Canada.

Shelley Fellows, Chair, Automate Canada

One of the founders of Radix (now AIS Technologies Group) and a graduate of the University of Windsor, Shelley was part of the management team that led Radix to be recognized as one of Profit’s Fastest Growing Companies in Canada in 2006 and 2016, to receive Product Innovation Awards in 2007 and 2015 from the Windsor Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards, and to acquisition by mold-making leaders, Active Industrial Solutions, in 2016.

Shelley was recognized in 2019 as one of the “Canadians to Watch in the Automotive Industry” by Automotive News and was a 2016 recipient of the ATHENA Award for her work supporting women in science, technology, engineering and math careers. Shelley has held positions on many boards and committees, including WETech Alliance, Workforce WindsorEssex, WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation and the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Shelley is currently the chair of the Automate Canada industry association and is on the leadership council for ProsperUs, a regional “cradle-to-career” transformation initiative.


July 29, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

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