Mark your calendars for October 9 – 11th as the International Fastener Expo takes over the vibrant city of Las Vegas! 

FND sat down for a conversation with Jake Hall, keynote speaker for the 2023 International Fastener Expo. 

Keynote speaker, Jake Hall AKA the Manufacturing Millennial will take to the stage at IFE 2023 to dive into the topics of technology, innovation, and how to get your current and future workforce excited about these advances to the industry.

Plan to arrive at the the exhibit hall early on Tuesday, October 10, the 2023, before the official opening of the Exhibit Hall.

⏰8:30AM – 9:30AM
Keynote Presentation: The Future of Manufacturing, Technology and Workforce

FND: Jake, please introduce yourself to our audience.

JH: Thanks so much I’m really looking forward to being the speaker in a couple of months. I’ve been in the manufacturing industry for 17 years, my background is working for a manufacturer back when I was in high school, and I’ve worked through systems integrators, distributors, and manufacturers during that time. What I do now is, I’m a full-time keynote speaker that travels around the US. I go to manufacturing facilities and look at the technology, talk with leadership teams. So, over that time I’ve become a influencer in the manufacturing space so my goal is to highlight what new technology is going to be impacting manufacturers such as automation, and then how do we do a better job of leveraging and changing our culture being more accepting to the next generation of millennials and Gen. Z’s who we need to bring up and fill the workforce that we have.

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FND: When was the idea for the Manufacturing Millennial conceived? What really sparked you to think that there was this strong need for advocacy?

JH:  The idea for the Manufacturing Millennial started in 2019, I was attending a trade show conference and one of the speakers at the time was talking about future proofing your company as a manufacturer. I was looking across the leadership teams and everyone that was sitting there, I thought for wanting to future proof I’m the only millennial that’s like under the age of 40 that’s in the audience right now, and so that’s kind of where the idea of being a unapologetic millennial in the manufacturing space idea started.

The Manufacturing Millennial content started in 2020 when the pandemic kicked off and we were all told to work from home. I saw when I was in outside sales at the time when I couldn’t go see people anymore. I still wanted to reach an audience. I thought I’ll start doing it by means other than just e-mail and phone calls. I started creating content on LinkedIn which I viewed as the biggest network of professionals in the manufacturing, automation, robotics for skills trade at the time. I started creating content with videos, short form articles, and posting memes related to our industry. My connections of like 200 people at a time grew to thousands within months. Then I said Well that’s interesting, there is something unique here. Our industry wants to see people who are passionate about it, where we’re always talking about the positive things that are happening. Talking about solutions that are making a difference, and are not just the ones that are complaining, complaining, complaining about how dark, dirty, dull, and dangerous our industry is. No, our industry is changing, and we must advocate for that, and that’s kind of how the whole brand started three years ago and now I have 100 million views across my social platforms around content in the manufacturing and automation space and it’s a lot of fun!

FND: Congratulations Jake, that that’s a huge audience to be reaching and for the authentic voice that you bring to manufacturing, automation, and technology. Your voice is really needed out there today. One of the problems that fastener distributors and manufacturers face is that they are generational businesses. In many cases the older generations want to change, but just don’t know where to get started. Since the pandemic, businesses have begun to recognize the need to include the generations that are coming up and allow them help steer us forward. They know how to buy online, they’re comfortable doing almost everything online, they are the future of our industry. Time to give them a voice, time to change up the game and go from brick and mortar to something even more industrious and digitized that will last through the coming years.

JH: Actually, that’s what we’ll cover in the keynote. We’ll talk about the emerging technologies, but we also talk about how manufacturers begin to change the way they have been doing business within their floor in their front office and through like through social media through the digital world that millennials and Gen. Z’s live and communicate in. How do we begin to change to drive the future generation to work for us in industry? I can’t wait to see everyone in Las Vegas!

FND: What do you see as the most promising technologies that are available to manufacturers today and industrial distributors that they should stay informed about and why?

JH: There are many forms of technology that are out there, everything from full level automation to what we’re seeing now, like the industry 4.0 space around solutions designed to improve and make the lives of workers easier and make the tasks easier. What a lot of manufacturers are fighting right now is not about trying to completely remove the worker from a task for an operation, it’s how do we make that workers life easier, so they stick around and do it longer, they won’t have that turnover rate. Things like AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) are always beneficial collaborative robotic systems are great. If you have a worker that’s running back and forth from machine to machine or from your shipping and inventory to a production area, you’re spending half a day just walking, well maybe it’s time to integrate an AMR (Autonomous mobile robots), AGV (Automated Guided Vehicles) into your floor.

We’ll also talk about like technologies on the digital side. What is generative AI, what is ChatGPT doing to make your life easier? If you’re out there and you’re writing memos all day, or you have to write a new case study, or need to write instructions on how to run the machine, maybe start focusing on how we can use generative AI to do that from a from a work side. But also, generative AI can be one of those things that alleviates the front office as well, from HR or a sales or marketing perspective it can create marketing campaigns for you. It can go through resumes or job descriptions and look for key topics that match what you’re looking for. It can be designed that if your job descriptions maybe aren’t inclusive, to let’s say invite women to be a part of your job offer because your job description says is he needs to be able to run this machine, he needs to have years of experience. All of a sudden a female reads that and says oh jeez the immediately just think it’s going to be a male I might as well not even apply for it you’re like that advice you’re limiting the you know the resources and the market that you could have come and work for you so those are all different types of technology that are out there that can you know do small things to make the workers on the floor in the front office their jobs a little bit easier.

It goes on beyond that as well when we look at you know there’s a lot there’s so many great stories that I’m going to bring to this keynote but you know some of the examples is changing up the work week where you know for so long been picking up this like five hour work week that existed and when you look at what millennials and Gen. Z’s now have a flexible work between Amazon flex, working for a Grubhub or drive app company. They have that flexibility. We as manufacturers need to say listen the standard 5-day work week might not be the best option for us anymore. I know dozens of manufacturers that have switched to 4-day work weeks. I know a couple that are even doing 3-day work weeks right now. Of course, it’s got to match your production and your work style but it’s those things that you need to explore such as what if you did a working parent job, where they must drop their kids off at school and they must pick them up as well. They might not be able to do a traditional 40-hour work week. What are you doing to create a 30-hour work week, nine to three each day, where you can still then have those resources available. You change your production design layout to match and you’re going to attract 20 to 30 or more people on your floor that you might not even know existed.

FND: Jake, what advice would you give to a young person that might be considering a career path in manufacturing? Excite a young person about why it’s not you know that dirty greasy job anymore.

JH: The one thing I would start with is there’s so many directions you can take to get to a career in manufacturing. You can go and work for a skilled trades program, you can go and work for a manufacturer to get trained there. You can get a two-year associate degree; you can get a four-year degree. and engineering school there’s so many different paths that lead to a successful career in manufacturing. So, that’s where I would start. The one thing about manufacturing is there’s so many career path opportunities to advance as you grow within the company. So, that’s number one. The second one is I would say manufacturing has really shifted over the last ten years. We’re adopting more technology, more innovation, more future and robotics where yeah there are going to be the dark and the dirty aspects of jobs, but what we’re doing is we’re taking technology to alleviate those jobs to make them simpler. So, that’s the biggest approach that I’d have.  

The other big thing is if you’re a person and you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up, and you’re a junior senior in high school, don’t go get a four-year degree and graduate with $35,000 in student debt when you don’t know what you want to do. Go and work for a company, go and get paid to work for a manufacturer. Get paid for your job, but also get paid to go to school. Get an apprenticeship, become a journeyman. There are so many amazing opportunities and avenues to a career in manufacturing. That’s why there are over 11,000,000 people working in manufacturing in the United States. People think that manufacturing left, it didn’t leave it all. If you look at the size of manufacturing here in the United States, it’s like a $2.4 trillion industry. If you were to take that industry and make its own country it would be the 7th largest economical country in the world!

FND: Jake I noticed you’ve got that Cubs hat on; you’ve always got that Cubs hat on! Tell us about your favorite sports team and if you think they’re going to clinch the division? What’s your take?

JH: I am a diehard Cubs fan! Obviously, I wear my Cubs hat wherever we go! it’s going to be tough, the Brewers have a really easy second season second-half schedule I’m hoping right now I think we’re half a game let’s see, we’re recording this on August 16th so I think we’re now one game out behind the wild card and like 3 1/2 games or games behind the Brewers right now in the social Division I have we have we’re able to start winning some games on our easier schedule for the next 12 to 14 games I think we got a chance to make the playoffs so we’ll see how things go and but it’s been a really fun last month to watch after the trailer round from the MLB All Star break so I think we I think we got a chance right now.

FND: Go Cubs! We are looking forward to seeing you on the expo floor at the International Fastener Expo! Any last word you want to put in?

JH: I’m just looking forward to seeing people there, networking and learning about all the new technology that’s happening in the fastener industry.

Plan to arrive at the the exhibit hall early on Tuesday, October 10, the 2023, before the official opening of the Exhibit Hall.

Keynote speaker, Jake Hall AKA the Manufacturing Millennial will take to the stage to dive into the topics of technology, innovation, and how to get your current and future workforce excited about these advances to the industry.

⏰8:30AM – 9:30AM
Keynote Presentation: The Future of Manufacturing, Technology and Workforce

DSC04450.jpgConnect with Jake:



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