2018 Speakers, Presenters, and Panelists

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Florian Kremser

Florian is the Logistics Planning Specialist at BMW Group where he has worked for two years. He is in charge of supply chain planning and overseas supply. Before working in automotive, he attended the University of Applied Science Wuerzburg-Schweinfurt where he studied business. 

Drew Cockman

Drew is the Packaging Planning section manager at BMW manufacturing in Greer, South Carolina. He has worked in automotive for over 20 years and has experience leading global, cross functional teams across a broad base of manufacturing and product technologies, organizational structures, and international cultures.

David Lester

David is a packaging engineer at Magna Parts Decostar where he has worked for about 12 years. David is a problem solver and enjoys helping his coworkers work through problems that can be solved through packaging. 

J.K. McKenzie

J.K. is a Packaging Engineer at Volvo Car Group where he has worked for almost 3 years. He has seen tremendous change take place from the start of his career with Volvo since production started last spring. J.K has a packaging science degree from Clemson University. 

Arie Ooms

Arie is the Director of Logistics of the Americas at Senator International. He has diverse experience in Industrial Engineering and Solutions Management to guarantee realistic and effective new solutions to logistics and supply chain problems. 

Robert Blankenburg

Bob has more than 34 years of experience in the automotive industry including positions in General Motors’ vehicle assembly plants, manufacturing engineering, product engineering, and program management.  He currently leads the planning, development, and implementation of RFID solutions for GMs Assets Solutions.

Ronald Mills

Ron began his career at GM in 1985 as a graduate of Hiram College. He has since worked in many positions and was awarded the GM Chairman’s Honors in 2004. Under his leadership, GM is focused on transforming Vendor Tooling Management.

Chris Helms

Chris will be a panelist on the Alternative Packaging Panel. Chris is the President of TreeBrand Packaging which specializes in wood packaging applications such as pallets and crates, as well as corrugated plastics. He has worked in the packaging industry for over 20 years.

Robert Stafford

Robert is a Packaging Engineer at Draexlmaier Automotive. Previously, Robert worked for Nissan North America after graduating from Clemson University. He will participate as a panelist on the Parts Supplier Panel which will answer questions to parts packaging problems. 

John Lasitter

John will be participating in the Alternative Packaging Panel. He is the Packaging Engineer Manager at IPS Packaging where he has worked for almost 2 years.  He has worked with the automotive packaging industry for 8 years and has a packaging science degree from Clemson University.

Parker Neal

Parker is the Eastern Regional Manager for Monoflo International, the industry leader in returnable packaging for both automotive and non-automotive markets. He has worked in the packaging industry with Monoflo for 8 years with 6 of them dedicated strictly to automotive packaging. He will participate in the packaging panel.

Bob Furlo

Bob is a packaging professional who started his career with GM after graduating from Michigan State University’s packaging program in 2000.  He is now working for MPC, an automotive powertrain parts manufacturer.  The broad customer base that MPC supply parts allows Bob to be a part of the latest packaging automotive industry trends and advancements.

Kevin Landmark

Kevin is a Technical Sales Manager based in Michigan with Zerust anticorrosion packaging of Northern Technologies Intl. Corp. Prior to the technical sales role, Kevin worked several years for Zerust as a Technical Service Engineer. Kevin earned his PhD in Applied Physics at the University of Michigan with a focus on nano-materials. He is excited to be part of the Alternative Packaging Panel.

Dana McBrien

Dana McBrien is the Guiding Architect for AutoSphere, a digital supply chain system developed by information technology and packaging specialists, Surgere, Inc. McBrien worked for Honda for 34 years and held a number of roles in supply chain management, including his most recent role as associate chief advisor.

William Wappler

William Wappler is the president and CEO at Surgere Inc. With over 14 years experience at Surgere Inc. William navigates the global challenges surrounding packaging and its influencers within the supply chain uncovering  cost savings and creating control. Surgere's proprietary RFID technology and COS 2.0 container management software lead the industry in providing packaging supply chain intelligence.

Jeff Palus

Jeff is beginning his 20th year with ArtiFlex.  ArtiFlex is vertically aligned that includes building tooling,  assembly equipment and automation, stamping, assembling, ecoating, and sealing parts for 30 plus years. Jeff is participating on the Part Supplier Panel.

Eric Abed

Eric assumed his role as Operation Lead Packaging Planning for the PNW2 Network in 2018 where he is responsible for all aspects of inbound and outbound packaging for Greer 1 packaging plant. Prior to that he was Lead Packaging Planner for NAFTA Export.