Smart Manufacturing Blog

Welcome to your source for all things smart manufacturing. Whether you’re looking for expert insights, hard data, or actionable tips for your plant floor, we’ve got you covered every week of the year.

7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing

Now Available!

Get your copy of the 7th Annual State of Smart Manufacturing and hear from 300+ manufacturers in this new survey report!

Get Inspired by Unstoppable Leaders at PowerPlex 2021

May 17, 2021
PowerPlex Unstoppable Speakers

What does the word unstoppable mean to you?

For us at Plex, unstoppable is a way of life. It means breaking barriers. It means hearing the phrase “that’s impossible” and responding with “just watch us.” It means never backing down, no matter the odds.

This year’s main stage experiences at PowerPlex will feature some of the most remarkable and inspirational people you’ve ever heard of. They’ll discuss heartwarming stories of personal triumph, lifechanging setbacks that were narrowly overcome, and incredible journeys into unexpected territory.

Who are these people are and what does unstoppable mean to them? We thought you’d never ask.

Heidi Sipe

Superintendent of Umatilla School District, Co-Chair of FIRST Executive Advisory Board

Umatilla, Oregon is the type of rural town most people drive through but never think twice about. But all that changed earlier this year when PBS premiered a documentary chronicling the unlikely rise and success of the school district’s robotics program.

We’ve all read articles encouraging STEM interest in our youth, but few took initiative like Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe. Against all odds, she helped the district’s robotics team reach the world championships. That’s right; a team with almost no funding was thriving in a town where poverty used to keep kids from dreaming big.

While Heidi didn’t act alone, she was pivotal in bringing hope to a community that rallied around its youth, motivating them to believe in themselves and chase their dreams. It was a challenging but rewarding experience, as you’ll hear from the details only Heidi can give.

Dave Lavery

Scientist and Roboticist, NASA

Most of us can’t even operate our kids’ remote-controlled toys in the driveway while Dave Lavery is among the brilliant roboticists literally putting robots on Mars.

For 12 years, Dave was in charge of NASA’s Telerobotics Technology Program where he was responsible for Planetary Exploration Research. Today, Dave is the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration at NASA, a title that sounds like something out of Star Wars. His efforts put multiple rovers on Mars – including Perseverance, which is navigating the red planet as we speak. We’re talking about decades of work that are ushering in a new era of American space activity and rewriting the history books.

With Mars under his belt, do you know where Dave has set his sights on next? Jupiter. But first, he’s swinging by PowerPlex to discuss the importance of persistence, outside perspective, and the value one person can bring to an organization.

Sarah Barrett

Co-Managing Director, Barrett Petfood Innovations

Whether we refer to them as furbabies, floofballs, or children, those of us with pets know that buying them food is a ritual. But for Sarah Barrett, making that pet food is the ritual.

During a summer off from college, Sarah returned home to the family farm in Minnesota and jumped at the opportunity to help her dad with his new fertilizer business. Once Sarah and her brother Tom realized their machinery was better for making pet food, the rest was history. What was once a small business on the brink of foreclosure is now a company with over 250 employees producing more than 150 different types of pet food. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the company has doubled revenue every year for the last decade.

How did Sarah’s family business persevere while others failed? Find out from the person who lived it.

About the Author

Plex Team

Plex Systems, Inc., a Rockwell Automation company, is the leader in cloud-delivered smart manufacturing solutions, empowering the world’s manufacturers to make awesome products. Our platform gives manufacturers the ability to connect, automate, track and analyze every aspect of their business to drive transformation. The Plex Smart Manufacturing Platform includes solutions for manufacturing execution (MES), ERP, quality, supply chain planning and management, Industrial IoT and analytics to connect people, systems, machines, and supply chains, enabling them to lead with precision, efficiency and agility.