Press Releases

Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program Adds Focus on Artificial Intelligence, Next-Generation Leadership

Nominations Open for Program Honoring Companies Leading the Industry into the Manufacturing 4.0 Era

Washington, D.C. – Reflecting significant industry trends, the 2019 Manufacturing Leadership (ML) Awards will add a new emphasis on recognizing emerging individual leaders under 30 years of age and manufacturers that are excelling in the use of artificial intelligence.

Nominations are now open for the 2019 ML Awards. Through December 14, manufacturers and their partners may create and submit nominations online at

In its 15th year, the ML Awards program, presented by the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), honors large and small companies and individual leaders shaping the future of manufacturing. Nominations are accepted from manufacturing companies from across the globe. The program also honors partners that have assisted ML Award–winning manufacturers in achieving transformational breakthroughs.

By winning an ML Award, companies and individuals are able to demonstrate that they are world-class when it comes to driving innovation, operational efficiency, customer value, the use of advanced digital technologies and employee engagement.

The ML Awards program includes categories for manufacturers that are transforming their businesses to succeed in the Manufacturing 4.0 (M4.0) era. The program recognizes outstanding projects as well as outstanding achievements by individual leaders.

For 2019, new and updated categories will raise the profile of outstanding young leaders and manufacturers using artificial intelligence to transform their operations.

“On their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0, companies are recognizing the opportunity of using artificial intelligence and machine learning to increase agility and responsiveness. They are also more keenly aware of the critical need to develop a bench of outstanding next-generation leaders for the M4.0 era,” said MLC Co-Founder and Executive Director and NAM Vice President David R. Brousell. “We are pleased to add categories to the ML Awards for 2019 that recognize these trends.”

Manufacturers and their partners may submit 2019 ML Award nominations in the following project categories.
2019 Project/Company Awards:

  • Artificial Intelligence and Analytics Leadership
  • Collaborative Innovation Leadership
  • Engineering and Production Technology Leadership
  • Enterprise Integration and Technology Leadership
  • Industrial Internet of Things Leadership
  • Operational Excellence Leadership
  • Smart Products and Services Leadership
  • Supply Chain Leadership
  • Sustainability Leadership
  • Talent Management Leadership

Manufacturers may also nominate individual leaders in the following categories:

  • Visionary Leadership Award
  • Next-Generation Leadership

Full descriptions of these categories as well as complete information about submitting a nomination are available at

Recipients of the ML Awards receive global recognition as manufacturing industry leaders and will be honored at the ML Awards Gala on June 12, 2019, at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit in Huntington Beach, California. Partners may also facilitate nominations for their outstanding manufacturing customers. Winners are those companies that receive the highest scores from the ML Awards judges. Partners facilitating winning nominations are also honored publicly.

Past ML Awards project winners have included the following companies:

  • Airbus Operations GmbH
  • Boeing Co.
  • Ford Motor Co.
  • General Electric Co.
  • General Motors Co.
  • IBM
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Merck & Company, Inc.
  • Pixelligent Technologies LLC
  • Raytheon
  • The Dow Chemical Company
  • Under Armour, Inc.

Top individual ML Award winners have included Richard E. Morley, father of the programmable logic controller, industry 4.0 pioneer Dr. Detlef Zühlke, National Council for Advanced Manufacturing Founder Leo Reddy, 3D printing inventor and 3D Systems Chief Technology Officer Charles W. Hull, Ford Executive Vice President for Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs John Fleming and Sir James Dyson, inventor and founder of the Dyson Company.

Submissions may be made through December 14, 2018. ML Award winners will be notified in February 2019, prior to a public announcement. Discounted early-bird nominations will be accepted through October 31.

For more information on the ML Awards, including past recipients, deadline details, examples of completed nomination forms and to create and submit a nomination, visit

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit

733 10th St. NW, Suite 700 • Washington, DC 20001 • (202) 637-3000

Press Releases

Manufacturing Leadership Council Joins Forces with the National Association of Manufacturers

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons today announced plans to continue the NAM’s ambitious organizational growth with the acquisition of the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC). The MLC is a leader in providing best practices, data and insights to manufacturing companies of all sizes on Manufacturing 4.0, the next wave of technological breakthroughs driving innovation in the industry. In keeping with the NAM’s 2020 Vision, the long-term growth plan developed under Timmons’ leadership, this acquisition will expand the association’s reach, operational expertise and diverse array of services available to NAM members.

“We are continuing to implement a vision we laid out more than three years ago when we made a commitment to provide programming that exceeds our members’ expectations and demonstrates what the modern business association should be,” said Timmons. “This acquisition is a milestone for the NAM and enhances the value proposition for our members at a time when trade associations are being asked to deliver an ever-growing array of services in addition to exceptional government relations leadership. The MLC will give the NAM access to unparalleled expertise and knowledge, while expanding our reach in the industry and diversifying our revenue streams—all in service to our mission of building a more successful and competitive manufacturing industry in the United States.”

The MLC provides its membership access to real-world insights from other manufacturing professionals on topics such as artificial intelligence, predictive maintenance, augmented and virtual reality, robotics, additive manufacturing, current workforce digital readiness and cybersecurity. MLC co-founder David R. Brousell will continue to lead the MLC’s day-to-day operations as vice president and executive director, reporting to NAM Chief Operating Officer Todd Boppell, who successfully negotiated and executed the deal on behalf of the NAM.

“The NAM is a natural home for the MLC. It’s a win–win for our current members, and we look forward to sharing our resources and programming with a growing number of manufacturing leaders,” said Brousell.

“Thanks in part to the NAM’s leadership, manufacturing in America is seeing incredibly strong growth, and the MLC is committed to providing the cutting-edge insights on the advanced technology, organization and leadership requirements of Manufacturing 4.0, a pivotal trend that is redefining industry competitiveness in the global market.”

As part of the acquisition, the MLC’s staff will join the NAM team.

Press Releases

2018 Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program Honors Leaders of Industry Transformation

Automation pioneer Dick Morley, Dow’s Peter Holicki, IBM, and Universal Robots receive top honors

At the 14th Annual Manufacturing Leadership (ML) Awards Gala, produced by The National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Council, winners of the 2018 ML Awards gathered at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa where they were recognized for their outstanding manufacturing achievements.

The program’s distinguished panel of expert judges honored Peter Holicki, the top manufacturing executive at The Dow Chemical Company, as the Manufacturing Leader of the Year for his multifaceted achievements in 2017, which included leading Dow’s historic capacity expansion while maintaining unprecedented worker safety levels, helping to drive Dow’s Manufacturing 4.0 transformation and innovations in preparing the next-generation manufacturing workforce.

IBM was selected as Manufacturer of the Year in the Large Enterprise category. The much-deserved award recognized IBM for establishing itself as a paragon of Manufacturing 4.0 transformation by innovating the use of advanced technologies such as machine learning but also by embracing the notion that leadership and a reskilled workforce will be necessary to drive digital transformation.

Manufacturer of the Year, Small/Medium Enterprise was awarded to robot manufacturer Universal Robots. The company was recognized for its pioneering work in creating and popularizing collaborative robots, which are helping manufacturers of all sizes cope with intense cost pressures and customer demand for high mix, low volume production.

“All of the top winners of the 2018 Manufacturing Leadership Awards can be proud that they are at the forefront of driving Manufacturing 4.0 transformation,” said David R. Brousell, Co-Founder of the Manufacturing Leadership Council. “I congratulate these manufacturers and the leadership teams that made their achievements possible.”

Also honored at the ML Awards Gala was Richard E. Morley, father of the programmable logic controller, who was presented with the Manufacturing Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. As a pioneer in plant automation, Morley helped establish a firm foundation for the Manufacturing 4.0 digital revolution that is now gaining momentum.

Ten recipients of ML High Achiever Awards were also announced. The High Achiever Awards are presented to a select group of ML Award-winning projects. These ML Award winners received the most votes from the judges in each of the 10 ML Award project categories.

Winners of the High Achiever Awards were:

  • HP Inc. in the Collaborative Innovation Leadership Category for its Open Materials Platform Project;
  • IBM Corp. in the Data and Advanced Analytics Leadership Category for its Watson Approach to Optical Quality Project;
  • Merck & Company in the Engineering and Production Technology Leadership Category for its Design, Evaluation, and Implementation of Single-Use Components for Ebola Zaire Vaccine Drug Substance Manufacturing Project;
  • Johnson Controls in the Enterprise Technology Leadership Category for its Enterprise IT Tools Supporting JCMS Project;
  • Bosch Mondeville in the Internet of Things in Manufacturing Leadership for its Factory of the Future Project;
  • Triumph International in the Operational Excellence Leadership Category for its Lean Enterprise Transformational & Sustainability Model Project;
  • Universal Robots the Smart Product and Services Leadership Category for its UR3, the UR5, and the UR10 Project;
  • Merck & Company in the Supply Chain Leadership Category for its Product/SKU Optimization Project;
  • The Dow Chemical Company in the Sustainability Leadership Category for its Sustainability – Leading the Industry Initiative;
  • IBM Corp. in the Talent Management Leadership Category for its Competency & Talent Acceleration for Advanced Manufacturing Initiative.

Winners of the Manufacturing Leadership Partner Awards were also recognized. These technology providers played key roles in helping many ML Award winners achieve outstanding performance.

Winners of the Manufacturing Leadership Partner Award include: Adexa, Inc.; Autodesk; Demand Management, Inc.; iBASEt; JDA Software Group; Leading2Lean; Macola Software; Oracle Corporation; Quintiq; Teradata.

Learn more about the Manufacturing Leadership Awards program.