University of Tennessee

UT, CAI Offer Manufacturing Leadership Program

February 25, 2014

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration is offering a manufacturing leadership program to develop effective and successful site leaders.

Cleveland Associated Industries (CAI) is collaborating with UT in providing a Manufacturing Leadership Program in Bradley County, which is within driving distance of Knoxville. The program is designed to impact plant managers, manufacturing managers, directors of operations, directors of manufacturing and other managers being considered for site leadership positions.

“Seven consecutive, two-day sessions over an eight-month period will allow participants to apply concepts learned in the classroom directly to their manufacturing facility with the support of UT’s business faculty,” explained Lisa Pickel, executive director for CAI. “Manufacturers no longer function within the boundaries of our county, our state, or even our country. They must know how to compete successfully in a global environment. To take our manufacturing facilities to the next level, site leaders need to develop solid leadership skills and the broadened functional business skills necessary to do so.”

Austin Cone, cost accounting manager with Mueller Company, is a core participant of the Manufacturing Leadership Program. Cone views the program “as an investment in both my company and career. Every session has been applicable to situations I have faced in the last 12 to 18 months. Being able to share and hear experiences within my peer group has had a powerful effect on me and helped to engrain the ideas being taught.”

The Manufacturing Leadership Program began in January at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce with 10 core participants who will be a part of the eight-month program. Each participant will build an individualized leadership development plan under the guidance of a dedicated leadership coach. The goal is to help them better understand themselves as leaders, the people they lead, and the environments in which they lead.

“We have some amazing manufacturing facilities, and we must be proactive about preserving and advancing them by developing their leadership,” Pickel said.

The Manufacturing Leadership Program also allows individuals to choose from the sessions offered each month.

“The curriculum offers a variety of classes during each two-day session that any interested individual can select from a la carte,” Pickel said. “For instance, the January session included a class on Conflict Resolution and one on Management vs. Leadership that could have been selected without being one of the core participants registered for the entire series.”

The next session is slated for Feb. 27-28 followed by March 27-28. For more information about the individual classes, contact Lisa Pickel at 423-472-6587 or For details about UT’s graduate and executive education leadership programs, visit