Many thanks to Kevin Nolan, president and CEO of GE Appliances, a Haier company, for speaking to The Stamford Partnership‘s TechHub audience tonight at Third Place by Half Full Brewery in Stamford. Thanks also to Peter Denious, president and CEO of AdvanceCT, for moderating the fireside chat.
Nolan, a Stamford native, shared details of CoCREATE, the recently announced small appliance microfactory and “co-creation community” to be established in Stamford by GE Appliances. He also shared his insights and opinions on innovation, modern manufacturing, entrepreneurship, workforce development – and on Stamford.
“I’ve seen the change in Stamford,” Nolan said. “It is just incredible what going on with this city … when you look at the demographics, vicinity, there’s really no other place in America that has what you guys have going on here in Stamford.” Thunderous applause ensued.
Nolan explained how CoCREATE will bring its products to life in a new way by letting the surrounding community influence them from the very beginning and play an active role in their development. The program will offer three key elements:
(1) an innovative community makerspace for the public to put their ideas into action;
(2) hands-on manufacturing experience for students; and
(3) unique brand and product experiences for consumers looking for inspiration in the kitchen and home space.
He also drew parallels to the successful FirstBuild program of GE Appliances in Louisville, KY, after which CoCREATE is modeled.
Additionally, Nolan touted technology for enabling manufacturing to be successful in a larger number of markets than “in the old days” because it eliminates the need for large-scale mass production. For example, thanks to 3D printing, a more diverse range of products can be produced on a smaller scale, saving time and resources, and meeting consumer demand for customization.
On workforce development, he stressed that labor shortage is a critical problem nationwide, which is why initiatives like CoCREATE are essential for engaging with students and providing them with the hands-on education and training needed for securing employment.
“We really need to teach Connecticut that manufacturing is cool,” Nolan said. “If our country is going to get where we want it to go, we have to be able to make things [instead of outsourcing overseas]. We have a bright future if we can get our youth to be engineers and to like math and science.”
StamfordNext is proud to sponsor TechHub a collaborative of programs that helps people and companies get the resources and skills they need to thrive in our tech-enabled world. It provides events, resources, and insights for our community, and develops the tech industry in our region.