GRCA to host annual manufacturing summit

READING — The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance (GRCA) will host its annual MFG Summit, as it once again recognizes the role manufacturing plays in the region.

The manufacturing summit will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the Miller Center for the Arts at Reading Area Community College, 4 N. Second St., in Reading.

The event will kick off with a welcome from Jim Gerlach, GRCA President & CEO and Dr. Susan Looney, president of Reading Area Community College.

Timothy Simpson, Ph.D. Paul Morrow Professor of Engineering Design & Manufacturing Co-director at Penn State University, will present the keynote address — “Manufacturing in the Metaverse.” In his presentation, Simpson will look into the future of manufacturing and how its digital transformation will change production and supply chains as we know them.

Simpson’s keynote address will be followed by a panel discussion on talent attraction and retention lead by Alexia Pursley, human resources manager at Arkema. The panel will share insights on how organizational culture plays in to businesses attracting critical talent and retaining those employees.

Two workshops will follow the panel discussion. In the first, Nic Thomas, who handles development and consulting at Gage Personnel, will share timely data in his presentation “Local Wages: Trends, Pitfalls & Analysis.”

The second workshop will be led by Karen Norheim, president & CEO of American Crane Equipment, and Dan Fogarty, COO of the Berks County Workforce Development Board, presenting the recently released “Pennsylvania Manufacturing Competitiveness Playbook” by the PA Manufacturing Council. The report identifies three “game changers” and 10 related recommendations to turn around Pennsylvania’s economic performance in manufacturing, according to the chamber.

Registration for the Oct. 26 event is required: $30 for GRCA members, $40 for non-members. Register at

Parking available in the Front & Washington Street Garage.

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