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MTConnect Director Named Top Leader Transforming Manufacturing

Category: Manufacturing Technology May 7, 2021

By Kathy Keyes Webster, AMT Exhibitions Content Manager – Correspondence

Did you ever know a famous person back when they had a mundane life? Like when Michelle Pfeiffer was studying to be a court reporter or when Johnny Depp was a pen salesman? 

Staff at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology were thrilled to see their indefatigable colleague Russ Waddell, managing director of the MTConnect Institute, named as one of the top 25 leaders transforming manufacturing by SME, a professional association committed to advancing manufacturing. (AMT is the owner and operator of IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show.)

SME’s top 25 list also includes two others associated with MTConnect: 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 a MTConnect advisor and Henderson was involved earlier in his career.

“Manufacturing is a team sport,” says Waddell, who has spearheaded the development and adoption of MTConnect®, the world’s first and most comprehensive royalty-free data dictionary of common machine tool and equipment terms. Since its debut at IMTS 2008 in the AMT Emerging Technology Center, MTConnect has been widely adopted by manufacturers in North America.

“Manufacturing is a team sport."
-Russ Waddell, MTConnect
      Managing Director

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.

Reaction from Russ
When asked about being a “luminary” in manufacturing, 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 middle man 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,” says Waddell.

Quotes from Smart Manufacturing Magazine
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.

His advice to anyone who wants to be recognized for their work is, “Help others first.”

AMT President Weighs in
“Russ has a range of skills, passion for the manufacturing technology, and a desire to give back and make our industry better," says Doug Woods, AMT President. "His background 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 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!”

What’s Next?
Although Waddell is pleased with the recognition and 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.

To find out more about MTConnect.

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