As a relative newcomer to Northeast Wisconsin, I have to give the region some props for its ability to welcome. This summer as I read the stories submitted to New North Inc.’s “More YOU in NEW” campaign, the messages resonated: Opportunity abounds here.

But in reading this month’s cover story by Amelia Compton Wolff, I am reminded to be grateful that I am here by choice. Over the last seven months, World Relief Fox Valley Director Tami McLaughlin has met countless professionals who came here because they had nothing left and no remaining choice. I can only imagine how isolating it must feel to come here from Congo, Somalia or Afghanistan, maybe leaving behind some or all of my family members, likely up against rock-hard language and cultural barriers.

It’s all incredibly difficult, but there is community to be found here. McLaughlin and others are doing their best to bring that welcoming New North spirit to refugee populations, and programs like Amcor’s Project Ally are providing opportunities and a sense of community. As Amelia’s story calls out, there are mutual benefits for the manufacturing industry. Not only do we want to welcome newcomers, we need to welcome newcomers. I hope you will read our full cover story starting on the next page.

And if you want to learn even more about Amcor’s efforts to engage, employ and help assimilate refugees, I encourage you to register today for the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference. Everyone who registers to attend the conference will receive an invitation to a pre-conference workshop that will feature, among other topics, an up-close look at Project Ally.

This is all, of course, just in case you need even more reasons to be a part of Wisconsin’s largest manufacturing conference. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this year’s keynote speaker, John Sileo, and I promise you won’t want to miss what he has to share Oct. 26 at Resch Expo. Sileo told me manufacturers have not necessarily been at the center of hackers’ targets so far, but things are starting to change. The implications of manufacturers turning a blind eye to cybersecurity could be devastating to their businesses, Sileo warns, because of operational technology enhancements and Industry 4.0. But he also promises that you don’t have to be a computer nerd to learn something from his presentation — cybersecurity is for everyone! For more of my conversation with Sileo and a preview of this year’s event, turn to page 26. (And don’t forget to register at www.manufacturingfirst.com.)

And if you see me at Manufacturing First, please introduce yourself. I can’t wait for a great day of connected minds, created insights...and warm welcomes.

See you soon!