2023 WHMA 30th Anniversary Annual Wire Harness Conference Preview

By Christine Siebert

The 2023 WHMA 30th Annual Wire Harness Conference is on February 14 to 16, 2023, at the Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

This year is the WHMA Annual Wire Harness Conference’s 30th Anniversary. This conference has become one of the few investments that allow learning, growing, sharing, and discovering new approaches to many aspects of the wire harness industry. The 2023 WHMA conference has several noted industry experts and thought leaders that will take to the keynote stage to deliver insight on the industry, economy, business challenges, manufacturing technologies, and more. It also includes peer-to-peer networking, best-practices roundtables, a technical education workshop, and an Exhibit Hall with industry-leading suppliers.

Technical Education Workshop

WHMA is holding a technical education workshop on Tuesday, February 14, 2022, from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Wire Harness Assembly for Operators (WHO) overview presented by Carlos Plaza, Director of Education Development, IPC.

In this workshop, you can join us for an overview of the WHO program. This workshop will show you how companies that invest in professional development significantly reduce time‐to‐full productivity, rework, lead times, and employee turnover. But not all training programs are created equal. IPC has leveraged the experience of industry experts and learning specialists to create the most effective wire harness training programs in the world of electronics. Join us to learn how you can begin reaping the benefits of IPC’s new suite of courses and materials for wire harness operators.

The Wire Harness Conference

The Wire Harness Conference beings on Wednesday, February 15, with opening remarks by Joe DeMan, Chairman of the Wire Harness Manufacturer’s Association (WHMA) Board of Directors, and President of Interconnect Dynamics. DeMan is a 34 -year veteran of the electronic component and wire harness industries, having owned, co-owned, and sold several harness and cable organizations throughout the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Joe is currently the president of Interconnect Dynamics Inc., an Amphenol Global Solutions Provider, providing many services in the wire and electronics industry. Joe also sits on the board of IPC and remains a dedicated supporter of WHMA’s LEAD, EDUCATE, CONNECT mandate.

On Wednesday, February 15, at 9:00 am, the Opening Keynote will be given by Dan Thurmon, Peak Performance Coach & Work/Life Balance Expert, with his presentation titled, “Off Balance on Purpose: Improving Work-Life Alignment.” Thurmon is a teacher of peak performance, an author of impactful books and presentations, and a lifelong student of success, happiness, and achievement. Dan Thurmon is on a mission. To encourage attendees’ uniqueness and contributions. To discover a sense of purpose and greatness. To have meaning at work and in their lives. Thurmon graduated with honors with a business degree at the University of Georgia. He applied the lessons in sales, management, and marketing to his entrepreneurial ventures in real-time.

Thurmon will discuss the incredible challenges of COVID have impacted every aspect of how we live and how we work. It’s now crystal clear that there isn’t a “work life” and a “home life.” You get ONE life, and improvement starts with handling what matters most.

This keynote will help you embrace lifelong learning and stretch into the next opportunity, leveraging your past experience into present action and future success. Dan amplifies his messages with exciting stunts and interaction, making the learning memorable. Your audience will talk about this presentation for years to come!

Featured speaker, Peter Zeihan, Strategist, Thinker, Futurist, Speaker will present on Wednesday, February 16 at 10:30 am with his presentation titled, “Manufacturing in a New World – Part 2.” Zeihan is a New York Times bestselling author whose first three books — The Accidental Superpower, The Absent Superpower and Disunited Nations — have been recommended by Mitt Romney, Fareed Zakaria and Ian Bremmer. Peter is also a highly sought-after public speaker. With a keen eye toward what will drive tomorrow’s headlines, his irreverent approach transforms topics that are normally dense and heavy into accessible, relevant takeaways for audiences of all types.

Peter’s fourth book, The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization, was published in June 2022 and was a New York Times bestseller.

During his presentation, Zeihan provides an update on how the world has shifted since he last spoke to our audience.  Using geography as his analytical foundation, hear his predictions on the near-term impact current international events have on the US. 

On Wednesday, February 15 at 1:30 pm, our featured speaker, Kit Welchlin, Professional Consultant, Minnesota Speakers Association Hall of Famer will present “Effective Leadership: It’s not Just Positional; It’s Personal – Become the Leader People Want to Follow.” Welchlin has worked in the manufacturing field for over 25 years as C.E.O. and Chairman of the Board of 3 manufacturing companies in 3 states. He received his Masters Degree in Speech Communication and Business Administration and has been public speaking since the age of 9.

Welchlin’s presentation will discuss how Leaders persuade and influence others through high-impact Communication. Effective leaders are communicators that build and sustain both positional and personal power! Participants will learn the six criteria of personal credibility, the top ten characteristics of effective leaders, the three skills to long-term effectiveness, how to select appropriate situational leadership styles, and how to take charge and grow winners.

The first featured speaker on Thursday, February 16, at 8:45 am presented by Chistopher D. Lee, Ph.D., SPHR, Professor, Author and Managing Director, Diversified Search Group titled, “How to Leverage Human Potential for Organizational Success.” Dr. Christopher is an author, former Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) for William & Mary, the nation’s second oldest university. Dr. Lee is an expert in alternatives to traditional performance management, recruiting, retention and talent management and leadership. Currently Dr. Lee serves as a Managing Director for Diversified Search Group, an executive search industry pioneer.

Dr. Christopher’s presentation will discuss how Every employee can get better at their position, perform better, and become more engaged and satisfied with their work given the right environment and support.  The average manager can help their team deliver world-class performances given the right mindset, skill set, and tool set.  Learn about a pioneering performance improvement system that transforms managers and supervisors into 21st-Century leaders who bring out the best in others to produce unlimited organizational outcomes.

On Wednesday, February 16 at 9:45 am, the featured presenter will be Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist, IPC, with his presentation titled, “The Future Forces Fueling the Wire Harness and Cable Assembly Industry.” Dubravac is a WHMA member favorite with his insight on global electronics industry issues, including supply chain resiliency/uncertainty, trade wars, skilled workforce shortage, and the expanding role of electronics in the global economy.

DuBravec’s presentation will discuss the numerous forces that are exerting myriad pressure on the wire harness and cable assembly industry. Economic uncertainties continue to shape near-term market dynamics and technology advancements are driving innovation and defining what the future might hold. The global economic slowdown is bringing with it both challenges and opportunities. The wake of the pandemic has forced businesses to operate differently. At the same time, technological shifts are reshaping the future. Wire harness and cable assembly manufacturers will increasingly be called on to supply solutions tailored for new needs.

The last presentation will be given by featured speaker, Pamela Barnum, former undercover police officer & Federal Prosecuting attorney, Trust Strategist & Nonverbal Communication Expert titled, “Major, Minor, and Micro Nonverbals – The New Body Language Skills You Need to Win.” Barnum worked undercover in the Drug Enforcement Section for many years. When Barnum graduated from law school, she left policing and accepted a position as a federal prosecuting attorney. She spent countless hours in the courtroom, perfecting her proficiency as a trust strategist and body language expert. Following a successful 20-year career in the criminal justice system, Pamela studied corporate negotiations in graduate school. 

On both afternoons, WHMA will be holding Best Practices roundtable sessions. You will be able to obtain specific industry knowledge from industry experts in a small group format. Bring your ideas and questions.

Golf Outing and Networking Events

“In recent years our annual meeting has grown from being a regional networking event to a full-scale leadership conference, bringing together some of the brightest minds in our industry for networking opportunities. This allows for front line discussions surrounding current issues such as labor availability, material constraints, best practices, and a host of other issues aimed at the success, preservation and growth of our industry.” Joe DeMan, WHMA chairman.

Tuesday, February 14 at 8:00 am, WHMA will host their Annual Golf Outing at the Sandia Golf Club. Nothing compares to connecting with your peers on a golf course! Add some friendly competition with our contests for: Longest Drive, Longest Putt, Best Scoring Team, and Closest to the Pin Off the Drive. 

After the golf outing at 5:00 pm, WHMA will hold its “First Timer Session.” Are you new to the Industry and WHMA? You don’t want to miss this event where first-time conference attendees will learn how to get the maximum benefit from WHMA, followed by a reception with our Exhibitors.

On Wednesday, February 15, WHMA will have networking opportunities during breakfast and lunch with the Exhibitors. Then at 6:00 pm, join WHMA at the Wednesday Evening Networking Event at The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Enjoy an unforgettable dinner and cocktails as you mingle and explore the museum and how nuclear science continues to influence our world.

On Thursday, February 16, WHMA will again have time to network and visit the exhibit hall during breakfast and lunch. Then at 4:30 pm, relax with a glass of wine and snacks at the Wine and Cheese Reception.