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Future Food Manufacturing Facilities

  • 18 Oct 2023
  • 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Gilbane, 123 N. Wacker Drive, Floor 26 Chicago IL 60606


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The past few years have transformed our lives and businesses. What is needed today in a successful food manufacturing facility? Join us as a panel of experts discusses how they are adjusting their facilities, approaches, and playbooks to deal with the new realities of manufacturing and business.


Key questions addressed will include: How are new supply chain realities, labor challenges, and automation changing how we manufacture food & beverage?  How have consumer desires and preferences changed? How have industry expectations changed? And how will we adjust our manufacturing processes, strategies, tactics, and teams to best meet these evolving expectations?


5:00PM   Doors Open/Networking

5:30PM   Panel Discussion Begins

6:30PM   Q&A with Audience

6:50PM   Networking

7:30PM   Event Closes


DaP. Bender, CEO, Proven Partners Group (PPG)

Dan is the CEO of Proven Partners Group in Elgin.  He has over 35 years of experience working in consumer-packaged goods with a specific focus on contract manufacturing.  His work history includes brand management (Pepsi Co), management consulting (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) and executive leadership roles with private equity portfolio companies.  Dan has an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern.  

Mike Conway, Vice President, JLL

Michael Conway is Vice President at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a globally recognized real estate firm headquartered in Chicago, with operations spanning over 80 countries.  Within JLL, Michael specializes in serving occupier clients in the Food & Beverage industry, drawing upon his profound understanding of their distinct real estate needs.  Skilled in leveraging labor analytics, he aligns the site selection process with clients’ labor requirements and is known for securing advantageous lease terms.  Keeping abreast of market trends, Michael provides timely, data-driven insights.  He taps into JLL’s extensive network to ensure streamlined transactions.  Furthermore, his acumen in identifying economic incentives guarantees competitive occupancy costs, fostering the growth and profitability of his clients.

Misa Ilkhechi, Co-Founder, VP of Product of Partnership, Formic

Misa co-founded Formic to simplify automation for manufacturers. As a childhood tinkerer turned engineer, he saw factories' hurdles in embracing automation. Formic’s solution? A pay-as-you-go model that ensures systems work without burdening manufacturers with risks or high costs. Misa's vision for Formic: leading the automation shift in two years and dominating the industry in a decade. The mission: make automation accessible and affordable.

Monique Kilgore, MBA,  Director of Operations, The Hatchery

With over 15 years of experience, Monique excels in managing and inspiring diverse teams to maintain operational excellence and adherence to top-tier quality and compliance standards at The Hatchery's food and beverage manufacturing facility.

William Madden, Ph.D.,  Senior Partner, Whole Brain Consulting

Senior partner, William Madden Ph.D., has worked in the food industry for the past 20 years. He specializes in big-picture operations and supply chain management and contract negotiation between food companies and contract manufacturers.  Madden has helped everything from start-ups to multimillion-dollar businesses find perfect-match contract manufacturers, setting them up for long term success. He is also the author of “Separating the Con Man From the Co Man – A Guide to Contract Manufacturing" (Train of Thought Press, available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon).

Sherman Shwartz, Industrial Center of Excellence Leader, Gilbane Building Company

Sherman Shwartz brings over 40 years of construction experience managing large capital programs across various industries, including food and beverage, pharma/bio, life sciences, and general industrial/manufacturing. As Gilbane’s Industrial Center of Excellence Leader, Sherman is a resource for project teams to meet unique project challenges and requirements. Having managed over 100 manufacturing and industrial facility projects totaling over $50 billion in construction, Sherman thoroughly understands specific drivers and trends in the industrial market. He leverages his knowledge of current trends, best design practices, construction solutions, and operational issues to ensure successful projects for Gilbane’s clients and project teams.

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