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AHFA announces lineup for this month's Manufacturing Summit

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The American Home Furnishings Alliance and the Franklin Furniture Institute have announced additional speakers and panelists for the Manufacturing Summit to take place here March 27.

Manufacturing executives, government officials and academics will focus on challenges and opportunities facing the Mississippi manufacturing sector at the event, on the campus of Mississippi State University here.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to welcome attendees and share his vision for manufacturing in general and the state's furniture industry in particular.

AHFA and the Franklin Furniture Institute are co-producing the summit. Sponsors include CertiPUR-US, the Mississippi Manufacturers Assn., the MSU College of Forest Resources and the MSU Extension Service.

Registration is $99 for AHFA members and $139 for non-members, including light morning refreshments and lunch. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and the program is slated from 8:50 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register online, go to www.ahfa.us and click on EVENTS.

Presentations will include:

+ "Lessons Learned in the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index," by Jack McDougle, senior vice president of the Council on Competitiveness, Washington, D.C.

+ "Consumer Buying Attitudes and Behavior," by Nicole Ponder, MSU College of Business

+ "Solutions for Surviving the Skilled Labor Shortage," by Bill Renick, workforce investment area director for Three Rivers Planning and Development District

+ "Where Are We Now? TB 117-2013 and Prop 65," by Bill Perdue, AHFA's vice president of Regulatory Affairs

Two panel discussions are planned.

Invited to discuss "How Collaboration between the Private Sector and Federal Agencies Can Accelerate Manufacturing Growth" are:

+ Matt Erskine, U.S. Department of Commerce
+ Doug O'Brien, U.S. Department of Agriculture
+ Earl Gohl, Appalachian Regional commission
+ Chris Masingill, Delta Regional Authority
+ Hassell Franklin, Franklin Corp.
+ Bruno Policicchio, Max Home Furniture
+ David Rumbarger, Community Development Foundation

Jay Moon of the Mississippi Manufacturers will moderate "Obamacare: Implementation Concerns for Manufacturers." Panelists include:

+ Mike Chaney, Mississippi Insurance Department
+ Rusty Berryhill, Kevin Charles Furniture
+ Jim Taylor, Huntington Ingalls Inds.
+ Pepper Crutcher, Balch & Bingham LLC.

CertiPUR-US is also on the agenda to provide a brief overview of its certification program for polyurethane foam.

Hotel accommodations for the Manufacturing Summit are available at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville for $111 a night. Call (662) 615-9664 by March 12 to receive the group rate.

AHFA's second Manufacturing Summit is slated for Aug. 22 at the Greensboro, N.C., Airport Embassy Suites. Program details will be announced later.

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