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Smart Manufacturing Magazine Names AMT MTConnect Director Top Leader

“Manufacturing is a team sport,” says Russ Waddell, AMT’s managing director of the MTConnect Institute, who was recently named as one of the top 25 leaders transforming manufacturing by SME, a professional association committed to advancing manufacturing.
Jun 15, 2021

“Manufacturing is a team sport,” says Russ Waddell, AMT’s managing director of the MTConnect Institute, who was recently named as one of the top 25 leaders transforming manufacturing by SME, a professional association committed to advancing manufacturing.

Honorees were identified by SME Media’s Smart Manufacturing magazine in consultation with manufacturing experts from across a full range of industry segments and disciplines. “These 25 luminaries in manufacturing are pushing the pace of change in our industry, paving the path that leads to elevated quality, improved productivity, increased profitability, and higher employment here in North America,” said Robert Willig, executive director and CEO of SME.

MTConnect has led the way for smarter factory production by offering the world’s first and most comprehensive royalty-free data dictionary of common machine tool and equipment terms.

Reaction from Russ

When asked about the honor, Waddell credits the nearly 400 industry volunteers who have worked tirelessly since 2008 to advance the standard. “This recognition symbolizes all the collective work that has been done and encourages us in our continued efforts,” says Waddell. “I’m the middleman at the core of industry stakeholders who come from machine tool builders, control manufacturers, end users, software companies, and system integrators. I make sure everyone knows what needs to get done, remove any barriers, and help move things along.”

The SME editor wrote, “When Waddell, an economist by training, envisions smart manufacturing of the future, he sees work-from-home machinists making six-figure salaries to keep five to 10 machines running profitably.” With technology optimizing shop workflows, the best machinists are using data to maximize production to make more parts – and naturally increase profits. The more they can optimize, the more they can work from home and earn.

The editor also noted Waddell “has an opinion worth paying attention to.” He believes manufacturers who apply the latest round of new technologies – that we are seeing in the early 2020s – will serve everyone in the industry really well.

So what’s Waddell’s advice to anyone who wants to be recognized for their work? “Help others first.”

AMT president weighs in

“From two different perspectives, we were quite excited when we learned Russ was named to SME’s top 25 leaders transforming manufacturing list,” says AMT President Doug Woods. “The first being the recognition, which we have had here for quite some time of Russ’ range of skills and passion for the manufacturing technology industry and desire to give back and make it better. His background at AMT in strategic analytics, business intelligence platforms, data-centricity, and technology – along with a willingness to constantly educate himself and reach out and engage members and industry experts have propelled him to this top level in the field.

“The second perspective was in the area which Russ has taken on such a key leadership role, specifically MTConnect. The fact that top industry talent like Russ – and two other individuals also being honored this year in SME’s top 25 – are connected to the world’s first free, open, interoperability standard for the manufacturing technology industry shows the importance of open standards in accelerating the adoption and utilization of transformative technologies!”

The two other luminaries involved with MTConnect and named to the SME list are Moneer Helu, supervisory mechanical engineer and program manager of the Model-Based Enterprise program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Andy Henderson, chief technology officer at Praemo. Helu is currently an MTConnect advisor, and Henderson was involved earlier in his career.

What’s next?

Although Waddell is pleased with how ubiquitous MTConnect has become in North America, he is acutely aware of new challenges on the horizon. There is still plenty of legacy equipment to connect, but Germany and China have now introduced machine tool data standards, which will require coordination to ensure all three standards can be translated to each other. He is energized by this new set of challenges and looks forward to global harmonization for machine tool standards.

For more information and to view an interview with Russ, visit https://tinyurl.com/854ema2u.

The April 2021 issue of Smart Manufacturing magazine is available at: https://www.sme.org/smemedia/smart-manufacturing-magazine/april-2021 

Kathy Keyes Webster
Managing Editor – Content
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