OpExChange Board Announces Leadership Updates

The OpExChange is thrilled to unveil some exciting updates to its Advisory Board. The selection process has brought forth three exceptional individuals who will now join the board – Kevin Batten with Graphic Packaging International, Todd Jamison with Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing, and Ron McKenna with Asten Johnson. Each of these individuals has been acknowledged and commended for their remarkable levels of collaboration and active engagement within the OpExChange.

During the July Board meeting, a new President and Vice President were also elected. Gary Tompkins from the Kidder Group assumed the role of President, while Scott Greene from Southern Fabricators took on the position of Vice President.

Mike Demos, OpExChange Coordinator, expressed his excitement about the path the OpExChange is taking. “We are experiencing unprecedented levels of collaboration and membership is growing throughout the state. Each region is well represented by a dedicated board member. With the strong leadership of Gary and Scott, the OpExChange is poised to expand its reach and make an even large impact.”

Gary Tompkins – OpExChange Board President
Gary is the President and CEO at The Kidder Group. He has a passion for helping companies to become better and thoroughly believes in benchmarking to learn new ideas.

He served on the Board of Directors of The Society of Manufacturing Engineers and APICS for over a decade on each board; he bonded 8 professional societies into the Upstate SC Supply Chain Coalition.

His goals for the OpExChange include adding new member companies to the tribe, and helping facilitate business between members.

Scott Green – OpExChange Board Vice-President
Scott is the Director of Manufacturing with Southern Fabricators. Scott is serving his second term on the OpExChange Board and has been an active member of the OpExChange for over ten years.

Scott has an impressive list of qualifications including: successful implementation of Lean (Toyota Production System); Value Stream Mapping; Standard Work; Kaizen Material Flow; Quality Systems – ISO9001, ISO 14001, ISO45001 and many others.

He also has experience in the automotive, construction and industrial markets.

Kevin Batten
Kevin, a US Army (Retired) Field Artillery officer, served with the 1st Infantry Division during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Following his military duty, Kevin has spent his eclectic career in manufacturing facilities.

As a Lifetime Registered Building Service Mana ger, Kevin spent many years working in production facilities providing production services and industrial cleaning services to his manufacturing customers. Kevin worked several years for PPG Fiberglass in Lexington, NC transforming their operations to LEAN manufacturing operations.

Prior to coming to GPI, Kevin was Manufacturing Superintendent for the JTEKT Koyo tapered roller bearing plant in Orangeburg, SC. He arrived at Graphic Packaging International in June of 2020 and served as the Production Manager. In December of 2020, Kevin became the Plant Manager.

Todd Jamison
Todd is the Continous Improvement Coordinator at Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing. Todd is a results-driven leader who knows firsthand the value of collaboration and continuous learning. He has 20+ years of engineering / manufacturing experience over various industries (automotive, lawn and garden consumer products, aerospace, and metal forming).  He has held various roles in project management, design and development, and operations. He is a native of North, South Carolina, and a product of Orangeburg County School District. He pursued his passion for engineering at the University of South Carolina, where he obtained his bachelor’s degree, and at Georgia Institute of Technology, where he completed his master’s degree. He joined Chrysler as a young engineer and learned the principles and practices of lean manufacturing.

He has been recognized for his abilities to evaluate and revise processes, methods, and practices to increase efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness. He believes each lean journey requires a measure of faith.

Todd is eager to share his expertise and contribute to the development of his home state and local community.

Ron McKenna
Ron McKenna is a global leader in operations, business development, and lean strategic business planning, with a proven track record of success. Ron has been an integral part of AstenJohnson, currently serving as its President. Ron’s passion lies in technical companies that apply lean management, engineered solutions across their operations, and he possesses a wealth of diverse experience that allows him to achieve results. He is interested in how companies can leverage digital and automation to improve performance.

Throughout his tenure with AstenJohnson and JWI, Ron has held various positions that have shaped his competencies as a global leader. His ability to develop and implement strategies that foster a culture of high performance has been instrumental in accelerating the company’s growth and success. Ron is known for his decisive nature, making sound decisions and executing them with precision.

In 2019, Ron McKenna joined the OpExChange, reflecting his dedication to continuous improvement and collaboration within the manufacturing ecosystem in South Carolina. He is passionate about utilizing collaboration to enhance the manufacturing industry and believes in the power of working together to drive positive change.

Under Ron’s leadership, AstenJohnson was recognized as the recipient of the esteemed “Collaborator of the Year” award in 2020. This accolade is a testament to Ron’s commitment to fostering a culture of collaboration and achieving outstanding outcomes through effective partnerships and shared goals.

About OpExChange
The OpExChange, sponsored by the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, is a peer-to-peer network of manufacturers and distributors in South Carolina known for generating success for members through benchmarking and best practice sharing. Member companies host events and share practical examples of industrial automation, lean manufacturing improvements, and leadership development. It is an invaluable resource to South Carolina companies that provides access to others who are on similar improvement journeys. If your company is interested in participating in this collaborative effort to improve both the competitiveness of your operation and South Carolina, contact Mike Demos (Mike@OpExChange.com). More information and upcoming plant visits are available on the OpExChange website www.OpExChange.com.

A full list of the OpExChange Board members is available here: https://www.scmep-online.org/pages/opexchange-board

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