The Third Time is the Charm?

Thursday, October 24. A fairly typical Michigan fall day. Overcast, cool with a tad bit of wind...What made this day different than any other fall day in West Michigan??

The Michigan Chapter of the CWG met again!!

Might be dull and boring to you, but for us it was actually a large milestone. You see, in our prior 2 meetings, we had held them after business hours in restaurants (ok, brewpubs mostly)...This time, we had our meeting during business hours at the Siemens facility in Holland Michigan. The Siemens folks were kind enough to welcome us in and provide a meeting space large enough for our little group. Yes, we did grow a bit, with a final attendance of 15 people (a couple of whom dropped in and out as their time allowed).

Siemens Meeting



















We had quite a few people that had not been involved with any type of CWG activity before, so we started out with me (the "old timer") giving an overview of what the CWG is about, along with the roots of how the CWG got started. An interesting side note here is that we found it's time to convince the Board to get us some more meaningful member stats. All I had access to were from 2006. Which doesn't mean the stats don't exist, just that they are not common CWG member knowledge. Heck, the only reason I even had these is due to my company having had a Board member in the past..I stole them from one of his presentations!!

Then we had Kevin show off the new CWG portal. The more I use this portal, the more I like it. It's just more flexible and if you notice in the document share, we even had a section created that contains all of the documents shared this time around...Pretty cool!!

Mark then presented the Modeling Challenge. Take a peek at it. You will find it in the document share in the path;

02-Regional Chapters


        2008 Oct

We'll also give this new "attach file" feature of the blogs a try..Either way, check it out.. 

I admit, it's a pretty basic challenge. But remember, many of these folks have not been exposed to the real CWG approved "Best Practices". I would also ask, how many of you actually use these methods?? Here's a challenge to you;

Submit your solution to me by January 10,2009 and I'll include it in the next Michigan chapter meeting!!

Email me your solution at and I'll present it for you..Better yet, come on and join us!! 

This challenge is where the meeting really got interesting. You see, the meeting "evolved" from "presenting" to "conversing"...It was really cool to watch as multiple people, who had never before gotten engaged, slowly started to open up and discuss relevant questions and issues with their peers. We talked about all kinds of stuff, from classification to ECM to influence to career enhancement. In all, we spent around 40 minutes in this conversation. On the day after the meeting, I heard multiple enthusiatic comments from all member companies about this portion of the meeting. I certainly think that we will do everything we can to have more "panel discussions" and less "presentations" in the future.

Then Mark took us on a tour of the Siemens facility. That was cool. The equipment they make has to be seen to be appreciated. Put it this way, they had multiple overhead cranes, with the largest capacity that I saw at 50 tons!!! To somebody that makes furniture, this was impressive!!

I'm sure you can guess what happened next can't you??? A networking dinner of course!! And where do you think that was??

New Holland Brewery



















I'm sure you're surprised aren't you?? I will admit, I was really bummed when I got inside and found out that the Blue Goat was gone!! Oh, the horror of it all...I settled for some Cabin Fever, then the Black Tulip...What sacrifices I make for promoting the CWG...

Converation picked right up where it left off at Siemens, but for some reason, the folks were a little picture shy;

Shy people



















A drink or 2 changed that though;

Not so shy now are we?For some reason, not everyone wanted to eat, but the end result was 2 more hours of good conversation and getting to know each other better. The networking seemed to be a pretty big hit with the first timers as well. Maybe it was the conversation, but those chocolate martinis sure seemed to be helping matters!!


Overall, this was the most successful meeting to date. Productive and the group seems to be gaining momentum. So, when will we be meeting again you ask??





The next meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the CWG will tentativley be held;

Monday January 26, 2009 from 1-5 pm, with a possible networking event from 5:30pm -7:30pm

This meeting will be held at the Steelcase facility, with room for up to 80 people..What? 80 people?? Why so many when we only had 15 this time? Good question..

If you read back a couple of posts (, you will see that I had some contact with a SAP rep who promised me some names. Well, I got COMPANY names (no contacts) and better yet, the SAP AE's emails, along with the email of the ASUG Mill products SIG....So, those folks will be getting all the details and a "formal invite" to pass along to their respective constituents sometime in the next week to 10 days...And we'll just have to see how many express interest...I figure that I'll reserve 40 seats for "outside" type people (Steelcase interest has spiked so I'll reserve 25 for them) and we are hoping that our friends from Kimball will make the trek up from Indiana...

I kind of doubt that people will travel to Michigan in the winter for a 4 hour meeting, but I've been wrong many times before!!

Time will tell won't it??

Watch this space for further information!!!

Thanks for the read,