MRO Magazine

Next-gen power transmission distribution specialists gathers at conference

Chicago, IL -- More than 60 of the power transmission/motion control industry's next generation of leaders gathered...

Chicago, IL — More than 60 of the power transmission/motion control industry’s next generation of leaders gathered for the Power Transmission Distributors Association’s (PTDA) Executive Development Conference, March 9-10, 2008, at the Flamingo Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.

In its second year, the conference was an opportunity for participants to gain new skills, build contacts within the power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) industry and spark inspiration and peer interaction among tomorrow’s industry leaders.

Designed specifically for managers, vendor relations specialists and other rising stars, the program offered attendees the opportunity to learn the role creativity plays in business; new strategies for effective and innovative problem solving; and tips, tactics and ideas to improve negotiations with customers.

Held in conjunction with PTDA’s annual winter meetings, conference attendees also were able to network informally with more than 100 of the association’s most active volunteers to build industry connections.


“Overall, I felt that this training was very informative and thought-provoking,” said Russ Chapman, regional manager, Drives Inc., Fulton, IL. “I look forward to reviewing the material and implementing these new tools in my daily work habits. I believe that new and different ideas will grow from this training.”

The two-day conference, facilitated by Dan Coleman, founder of Excelsior Learning, offered attendees a handful of unconventional mind activities to spark inspiration and peer interaction among tomorrow’s industry leaders.

Coleman started the conference with an interactive discussion on the environmental factors that have an impact on individual and team creativity, the myths and beliefs regarding creativity and creative problem-solving styles.

“Great ideas jump out of a quiet mind more than a harried mind,” said Coleman as he launched into a three-phase idea-generating and problem-solving session. He encouraged attendees to take time out of their schedules to generate ideas and to remain flexible in approaching a problem.

First, attendees worked together and identified an opportunity or problem statement. Using different thinking methods and challenging what they already know, they reframed, redefined and clarified the problem.

Next, they “stormed their brains” to solve the problem individually and as a team. This involved generating and encouraging ideas, breaking and making new connections, analyzing and strengthening potential solutions and selecting the ones with the greatest potential.

In the final step, individuals and teams translated their visions into a clear action plan designed to build and maintain momentum and presented their findings to attendees. In real life, this phase involves initiating action, preventing problems, planning for contingencies and celebrating success.

With creative problem strategies fresh in their in minds, Coleman introduced concepts that attendees could use when negotiating solutions. Attendees were then provided a negotiation case study and role-playing exercise to put the concepts to work. They worked as a buyer and seller pair to negotiate the best possible outcome.

PTDA is planning to hold a third Executive Development Conference in 2009, but dates have not been established. For more information about the program, visit