Making it Cool: Gen Z Meets Manufacturing

Making it cool: gen z meets manufacturing


Aspiring roboticists are seeking to change the way we live, work, play and fight wars through artificial intelligence; 3D printing has taken college classrooms by storm allowing art students to create mold models once reserved for technical professionals, and students in institutes of regenerative medicine are actually manufacturing organs for humans and animals. So what makes manufacturing cool? How do we get today’s youth excited about new opportunities in manufacturing? Watch our live broadcast below to find these answers and more.

Want to learn more about manufacturing today? Join us for the 28th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, @ManufacturingWorks.

 This event is moderated by IEI Director Anita Brown-Graham. 


Meet our panelists 


Chris Anderson

Chris has served as Editor in Chief of Wired since 2001. Under his leadership, the magazine has garnered eight National Magazine Awards and 15 additional nominations, including a 2011 nomination for Magazine of the Year, and has won the prestigious top prize for General Excellence three times. AdWeek named Wired to its 2011 Hot List and made Wired its first-ever “Magazine of the Decade” in 2010. Anderson is the author of two New York Times best sellers, The Long Tail and Free: The Future of a Radical Price. His next book will be published by Crown in 2012. He is also a cofounder of 3D Robotics, an open source aerial robotics company. Before joining Wired, he served as a business and technology editor at The Economist. He began his media career at the two premier science journals, Natureand Science. In 2007, Anderson was named to the Time 100, the news magazine’s annual list of the world’s most influential people.


Adam friedman

Adam Friedman is the third director in the Pratt Center’s nearly fifty year history. He is one of New York City’s leading advocates in support of manufacturing and the employment opportunities it brings. As founding executive director of the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN), since 1997 he has led efforts to strengthen the city’s manufacturing sector and promote sustainable development. Previously, Friedman served as executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation and director of economic development for Borough Presidents David Dinkins and Ruth Messinger. He has also taught urban planning courses at Pratt Institute and Columbia University.


Aly Khalifa

Aly Khalifa is an expert in invention development. His firm, Gamil Design, has launched products for some of the most exciting sports brands in the world. Trained as an engineer and designer, Aly has traveled extensively for 19 years to manufacture sporting goods design and technologies around the world. The resulting collaborations have garnered more than 16 patents and have been nominated for a Grammy Award and exhibited in the Louvre.

Additionally, Aly has garnered significant attention as a voice for the creative community, leading to lectures worldwide. He is a co-founder of Designbox, a leading multi-disciplinary workspace of creative professionals. Additionally, he founded and leads SPARKcon, the nation’s largest open source festival that promotes local creative culture.

As an Eisenhower Fellow for 2012, he has been meeting with top leaders in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines to explore the connection between creativity, innovation, design, and manufacturing and impacts on SME development and the global partnerships that emerge. Aly and his wife Beth recently founded LYF Shoes to put their latest patent to work. LYF fuzes technology, just-in-time assembly at the retail shop, and eliminates adhesives in order to achieve a new standard in sustainability. The company was seed-funded by Cherokee Investments Group this summer.


Joe LaRussa, PE 

Joe LaRussa, PE is the director of membership for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). He is responsible for recruitment, retention, and engagement of SME members. Prior to joining SME, LaRussa held various positions in project management, manufacturing engineering, and product development in the automotive industry.  He holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, an M.S. in Automotive Systems Engineering and an M.S. in Engineering Management, all from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been an SME member since 1994, and served in multiple volunteer leadership roles for SME and other non-profit organizations. In 2008, he received the SAE Foundation’s Young Manufacturing Leadership Award, and in 2010 he received the Jeanette Schumacher Alumni Service Award from UM-Dearborn.


AJ Sweatt

AJ Sweatt is an industrial marketing communications & manufacturing business development strategist and consultant with over 25 years of experience. He’s worked with varied industrial businesses and supply chains – groups, associations, OEMs, suppliers, distributors and small & medium-sized manufacturers. AJ is also an editor and writer with over 30 years of experience in technical, business and industrial publications & communications, and a sought-after public speaker. He has also built, managed and curated some of manufacturing’s most-used online communities. He is currently the principal of AJ Sweatt Logic & Communications.