Digital innovation in manufacturing


Manufacturing is typically thought of in terms of an old industry that is people intensive. However, in today’s world, manufacturing is quickly adopting and creating technologies which make it a leading edge industry. This discussion will showcase methods in which Ply Gem is leveraging digital technologies in manufacturing, product development and customer engagement.  

Lee Clark-sellers, Ply Gem

Lee Clark-Sellers has been the Innovation Officer at Ply Gem Industries since 2011. In this role, Ms. Clark-Sellers is taking innovation from merely a catch phrase to a resourceful approach to how Ply Gem does business overall and transitions to a culture that is rooted in innovation. Her three key goals include 1) identification of new trends and technologies through a broad external network, 2) quick prototyping new ideas both internally and with external partners, and 3) incubation of those ideas.

In addition to her work with Ply Gem, Lee is a fellow with the Center for Innovation Management Studies at North Carolina State University, and serves on the Industrial Board of Directors at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering and North Carolina State University Technology Incubator. Prior to Ply Gem, Lee held roles at North Carolina State University, Bell Northern Research, Nortel Networks as well as several start-ups.


Justin Nifong, Ty Hagler, Digital Ideation

Learning and applying – maturation of innovative delivery at Blue Cross NC

Grounded in experience and research, learnings from inside an 86-year old health insurer on the challenge of transforming your business. Internal and external case studies highlight the methods, tools, and outcomes that are creating a culture motivated to experiment and attack business opportunities in new ways.

Chris Peronto, BCBS North carolina

Chris Peronto is Vice President of Enterprise Strategy and Innovation at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. He has been with the company for 15 years in a variety of roles and with evolving responsibilities across performance management transparency, strategic planning, business and partnership development and innovation management.

In his current role, Chris leads teams responsible for strategic intelligence, strategic planning, innovation and strategic consulting. Within that work, much of his energy is spent establishing direction and priority for the key areas in which Blue Cross NC will create competitive differentiation and establish sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. In support of that position, the enterprise innovation practice within Chris’ group serves as the incubator and accelerator for business solutions to effectively position Blue Cross NC for long-term success. At their core, Chris and his teams promote understanding and build enterprise engagement in the delivery of objectives that will lead the transformation of how health care is engaged, delivered, and paid for through a single-state Blue’s unwavering focus on affordability, quality of care, and exceptional experience.


Michael roberto, BCBS North carolina

Michael Roberto is a Senior Strategic Advisor in Digital Solutions at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. He got his start with the company 11 years ago leading the Digital Marketing development team. Prior to that he lead technology and digital teams in higher education and digital marketing agencies. Recently, he has been part of the team leading the evolution of how Blue Cross NC delivers and supports our digital member experiences. 



Using human centered design and customer journeys to bring digital transformation and innovation together 

This talk will focus on the use of human centered design and customer journeys and applying those tools to digital transformations.

Jason Rome, skookum

Jason is Director of Digital Strategy and Customer Experience. Skookum provides end-to-end solutions that help boost efficiency, engagement and earnings.


The Fallacy of digital transformation 

Will focus on the fallacy observed when companies attempt large-scale digital transformation initiatives that focus primarily on the digital aspect instead of the transformation aspect that largely involves transforming the people and their behaviors.

Bermon painter, ey digital

Bermon is a senior manager at EY Digital and leads innovation & strategy in Charlotte. In his current role, he leverages his deep expertise in experience strategy, design thinking, agile and lean methodologies, interface design and development to lead initiatives that help organizations create holistic digital products and services that are human-focused and deliver value to their customers.  Bermon is also responsible for building out EY's 30,000 sqft. innovation space that will join the EY wavespace™ network. This new innovation space will expand EY’s digital transformation footprint in Charlotte and help teams get in the mindset of thinking differently, reinforce the value of diverse thinking, and create solutions through design thinking and rapid prototyping.

In his spare time, Bermon stays heavily involved in the local Charlotte tech community and has been organizing various conferences and free community events for the past decade. He also speaks at technical conferences and facilitates workshops around the world. 

Impacting tomorrow’s Innovation Workforce: Are we ready for this Transformation (Revolution)?  

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The speed of Digital Transformation is exponential.  The impact AI is having and will continue to have is exponential.  Today’s Innovators have their hands full to help explain, drive, prioritize and deliver during this revolution.  But are Innovator’s ready and skilled to drive what’s coming? We will discuss some challenges facing Innovators today, and what types of skills will be needed tomorrow.

John f. tuders, belk college of business - uncc

John received his MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he helped launch and now teaches for the last 6 years a course for the Belk College of Business, titled “Design Thinking: Bringing Innovation to Life, Idea to Implementation”.   John also works with the McColl School of Business at Queens University as an active Adjunct Professor within the Marketing department.  John is currently in the process of pursuing his Doctorate in Business at UNCC, focusing on the impact Artificial Intelligence has and will have on the current and future workforce.

IJohn lives in Harrisburg, N.C. with his wife Lisa, and their three children, Claudia, Joseph, and Vincent.  He coaches youth sports (baseball, football and basketball) and is an active Executive Coach (Volunteer) for local college students.  John is also the Chairman for IntersectionsCharlotte and Advisor for IntersectionsUNCC, a new Faith based Christian Fellowship that brings together current and future business leaders along with church leaders.

Identifying the pillars of digital transformation  

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is developing a standard that will integrate the various "Pillars" of Digital Transformation.  These Pillars represent technology and operational verticals that are needed by organizations to compete in tomorrow's complex world.   Connecting devices, machines, systems and workforce will enable the solutions that will form the foundation of Industry 4.0 and the Enterprise of Tomorrow."  Digital Transformation is the driving force that will enable efficient development of future products and services.

Lee stogner, IEEE

Lee Stogner serves in Executive Positions in several corporations that drive improved business performance using technologies that include Business Innovation, Digital Transformation, Project Management, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Lee has over 35 years of design, consulting, project management and business development experience across a range of industries. Lee has driven growth at companies that include Digital Equipment, Fluor Corporation, Rockwell International and Liquidax Capital. Customers around the world have benefited from Lee's expertise and leadership.

Throughout his working career, Lee has been active in both local and international professional activities. Lee is the Chair of the Carolinas' Engineering Cluster and a past Director of the IEEE Board of Directors. Today, Lee is active in promoting the development of the Internet of Things through his participation in the IEEE Smart Grid Initiative, the IEEE Transportation Electrification Committee and as a Member of the IEEE Internet of Things Initiative, IoT.


Health Care Panel - Redefining customer engagement and experiences with digital transformation 

2018 marked a record year, with $14.6B of venture funds backing digital health solutions.  While the use cases are plentiful, most strive to improve engagement between care teams and patients, to promote alternative patient behaviors and/or provide an enhanced care experience.

We will hear from 3 health leaders about their experiences thus far, noting that many of their lessons learned apply to other high-complexity, risk-averse industries.

Panel Moderator - Bill garrison, RTI


Bill Garrison is Principal for RTI’s Center for Health Care Advancement. Bill works to help organizations operationalize key strategies in response to changes in the health care environment.

Prior to leading RTI’s Center for Health Care Advancement, Bill was an executive and consultant. He has worked for Fortune 500 health insurance companies, multi-billion-dollar health systems and private equity backed growth firms.

Bill’s areas of expertise include enterprise and business-unit strategic planning, joint venture evaluation and execution, business development and marketing. Bill has an MBA from The Wharton School of Business University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Economics from Northwestern University.


Panelist - Jay Gerhart, Vice President, Consumer Strategy Atrium Health [Formerly Carolinas Healthcare]

See LI Profile here.


Panelist - John Jenkins, MD SVP Clinical Care Officer, Connected Care Cone Health

See LI Profile here.

IoT, Connected Devices, and their Impact on Consumer Product Innovation  

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The Internet of Things (IoT) and its associated technology has completely disrupted the consumer product landscape and has also been dubbed the 4th industrial revolution. The evolution of the technology in this space has radically changed the “what” and “how” of product development for the good, the bad and the silly. The early days of connected technology provided blue ocean of possibility for product developers, but was the playground of the tech savvy. The massive influx of products to the market and the aggressive influx of dev tools has made development easier, but a minefield of “me too” products.

 This talk will discuss the history and evolution of IoT, how it has impacted the consumer product community, and what to expect in the coming years.

jeremy Losaw, enventys partners

Jeremy Losaw is the Director of Engineering at Enventys Partners, a full service product development and launch agency in Charlotte, NC. He guides product development programs for inventors, startups and established firms from napkin sketch to production in diverse market sectors like IoT, connected home, consumer goods, sports/sports protective, and many more. He has built the IoT development team at Enventys Partners to serve the increasing demand for smart device development and many of his projects have been successfully launched via crowdfunding.

Jeremy is also a an established writer and speaker. He has been contributing articles for technical magazines for nearly ten years and currently writes for Inventors Digest magazine about prototyping techniques, new technology and IoT.

Before joining Enventys Partners, Jeremy served various roles in NASCAR. He worked for Robby Gordon Motorsports as a race engineer before joining Toyota Racing Development to build the first driver training simulator for NASCAR drivers. He holds an M.S. Mechanical Engineering from Clemson and a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Union College (NY).

Accelerating Digital Transformation Using Crowdsourced Innovation

Digital Transformation is changing how organizations operate and deliver value. To succeed in the digital era, companies must harness the innovative ideas of their employees, customers, strategic suppliers, and partners. There must also be a clear path to take these ideas through to impact. This discussion will highlight case studies and practical steps to help your company deliver on the promise of digital transformation at hyper-speed.

virginia lee williams, planview

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Virginia, VP Global Innovation Management Solutions, leads the Planview Spigit customer-facing organization focused on ensuring customer success and growth. Virginia brings over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing leadership roles in a variety of technology industries. She has served as a champion for her customers during her entire career. At every company. In every part of the world. She reveres customers and thrives on motivating others to be the best they can be. Crowdsourced Innovation is not only a practice for Virginia – but also a heart-felt passion.