CELINA — Business people, university faculty and community leaders gathered for Wright State University Lake Campus’ third annual Regional Summit Friday morning to discuss the move to a global economy.
Special speakers Director of Sales Pat Carus, from Emerson Climate Technology, Sharyl Garner, Chief Administrative Officer of Midmark Corp., and David Cahill, Managing Partner at Avanulo, shared their strategies for competing in a global market.
Carus presented that innovation and development are two areas where the Lake Campus can help students compete in a global economy. He said management planning is a big element of what the company does, and having a plan is essential, including knowing what to do “when things turn to pudding.” Carus also said that future leaders need to focus on making their own way in a company instead of expecting the company to set a course for advancement.
“So many of our people want their career to be driven by the organization, but we want to say, ‘those moves are up to you,’” he said.
Garner said Midmark is now competing globally in India, Italy, and France. The family-owned company, originally a concrete company and now a medical, dental and veterinary equipment company, said they’re looking for people who are prepared for a global economy.
For companies looking to enter a global market, she said, there’s an expectation that some things will be true everywhere, but those assumptions must be shed. She gave the example of efficiency, which sounds like something positive that each company would strive to excel in, but what the company learned in Europe was that efficiency wasn’t a prized commodity.
Workers were paid the same day in and day out regardless of their efficiency because of the government health care program.
Another assumption that doesn’t ring true is that people using the same money will be united in some ways to spend the money anywhere.
“Europe is not the Euro,” Garner said. “People didn’t behave as you would think people with a common currency would behave. Germans want to buy from German companies.”
Risks of expanding internationally have to be made according to data that will control your market, and a company has to know its entry criteria.
The number of doctors, health care system, potential for population growth and who pays for care guided the decision for the company to expand into India and not China.
“International expansion is not for the faint of heart,” she said.
From the Wright State University perspective, she said the university can work to prepare students for a global experience.
Students sometimes have no passport, have never left the country and don’t speak other languages. While people can adapt and succeed in a company without experience, students can look to distinguish themselves by being more prepared.
“We needed local talent,” she said. “Now we need global talent.”
She encouraged the university to help students grow earlier and also to help educate the public, including the students’ families to not be afraid of global expansion.
Cahill, from Avanulo, said as a consult in a global economy he’d learned how to advise companies making a global expansion. He’d started, he said, after a layoff in the recession of 2008, when he’d walked the “trail of tears” with unemployed workers.
“There just weren’t a lot of jobs for balding, pear-shaped, middle management guys,” Cahill said. “We went overseas to get our creds, now we’re back.”
The “cred” he gained was from being willing to go literally anywhere.
“I’ve been shot at, almost kidnapped,” he said about his work overseas.
Mostly, however, he said other countries want to learn the American way of doing manufacturing even if you don’t know their cultures or customs.
“Manufacturing drives society — period. period. period,” he said.
Some guidance he had for people in manufacturing was to not try to save money by making leaders and managers the same people. One person, he said should have the focus of doing the paperwork, while leaders need to be on the floor and involved. The variation among the people working is the greatest difference in manufacturing. One shift can be energetic, getting things done, then the next shift arrives dragging their feet, and slows the process down.
He cautioned companies going into a global marketplace to make sure they spoke the language, giving an example in Brazil where they would paint an overly bright picture of the process, and call that the English version.
The university also offered exhibits, roundtable discussions, and a panel discussion of global opportunities.
Lake Campus Dean Bonnie Mathies said the goal of the annual summit is to start a conversation where people in business can share their knowledge. Some people at the event were probably from businesses considering entering a global marketplace.
From the university’s perspective, she said, there’s a chance to hear what students need to have to succeed in their chosen careers. She said the university looks to respond to the suggestions brought up at the summit.
“We’ve actually already started,” she said. “We’re taking the engineering students to Jenna, Germany. We’re providing international opportunities.