Frank talk: MAGNET launches podcast series to spark conversations on manufacturing's future

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Last week the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) launched its new podcast series “MAKE IT: Frank Conversations on the Future of Manufacturing,” featuring frank and insightful conversations between MAGNET president and CEO Ethan Karp and Northeast Ohio manufacturing leaders about innovation, Industry 4.0, embracing next generation talent, and reinventing the future of manufacturing.

“I’m super excited about these podcasts,” says Karp. “They come out of asking, ‘How do we take our blood pressure in this industry?’ to know what needs to happen.”

Karp says many of the conversations touch on MAGNET’s Blueprint for Manufacturing in Northeast Ohio, which recognizes a changing marketplace that demands innovation and the need to source cutting-edge, forward-thinking talent in the industry.

“We ask these manufacturing leaders how they run their companies and what’s important in this region,” he says. “We hope these stories about their companies will impact our community.”

The inaugural episodes take listeners behind the scenes at fascinating companies, from global giants to start-ups, each with a remarkable story to tell:

  • Cleveland Whiskey CEO Tom Lix: Find out how Lix launched a truly disruptive product by creating a distillery that’s actually a technology company.
  • Delivered, Veroot, and Ark Transportation CEO Andrew Hurst: Find out how Hurst juggles being CEO of three logistics companies, while constantly innovating.
  • Lubrizol president & CEO Rebecca Liebert: Trace Liebert's journey from a small farm in Kentucky to becoming the CEO of a global chemical manufacturing giant.

  • Lincoln Electric chairman, president and CEO Chris Mapes: Explore how Lincoln Electric is revolutionizing its business and products through Industry 4.0 technology.

  • NexGen Interactive managing partner Kevin Johnson: Discover why NexGen is making significant bets on EV smart chargers and robots.

  • Malley’s Chocolates chairman, Brian Gale: Learn how Gale transformed his first manufacturing company into a lucrative unicorn, growing revenue 20 times before selling. 
These 20-minute podcast episodes—which are available on Apple, Amazon, and Spotify—provide compelling deep dives into topics such as innovation, Industry 4.0, embracing next generation talent, and transforming the future of manufacturing. 

Behind the Scenes of MAGNET’s new podcast and video seriesBehind the Scenes of MAGNET’s new podcast and video series“These are people who are coming together and making advances in all manufacturing pillars— including how they try to take care of their people, how they are investing in new technologies, how they are innovating and taking advantage of trends like electric vehicles and sustainability, and overall how they see the future of Northeast Ohio Leadership,” explains Karp. “When we went after the big, well-known folks in the region, they were happy to participate. They do care about the local region’s success in manufacturing.” 

Yet, Karp says these leaders also acknowledge there is still critical work to do for the region to reach its full potential in manufacturing success. 

“It’s not all roses and sunshine, but I want people to be inspired by what these companies, as manufacturers, can do and what the industry does for the region— to say together they can do more,” he says. “The challenge in the Blueprint is to identify where we are falling down, or falling behind, and improve on those areas. We are changing people’s minds about manufacturing.” 

The idea to bring the Blueprint alive through podcasts came when MAGNET board member Scott Cade connected Karp with producer Maggie Kashmir and co-producer Tony Rossello of New Jersey-based production company Certain Pictures. 

“We’re not selling anything, we’re just adding a missing component to the picture of Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing landscape,” explains Karp, who adds that MAGNET also created a video series. “We have 75 people at MAGNET, and it’s our responsibility to share these stories and advice. We want this to be helpful.” 

Karp says the whole experience was energizing and will bring a new perspective to Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing industry. He likens these stories to pulling back the curtain on what the manufacturing world is really like. 

“It’s not often we get to see and hear what’s actually happening behind the factory walls in our region’s leading companies,” he says. “This series gives us a rare view that I think anyone in manufacturing—or anyone who likes a good leadership story—will find valuable and, I hope, entertaining.” 

To join the conversation and stay updated on new episodes, share Karp’s LinkedIn post and follow the hashtags #magnetvideo and #magnetpodcast.

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.