Conversation with Tom Maves

Deputy Director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain Services/American Wind Energy Assocation

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Tell us about your background before you joined AWEA last fall, and a little about your responsibilities now.

My last position before joining AWEA was as the wind industry lead for the Ohio Department of Development, where I was responsible for managing wind energy generation projects, supply chain development, and for attracting turbine and component manufacturing companies to the state. Before that I was a pollution prevention engineer with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and a sales engineer for Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation prior to that. I’m now involved in supporting member companies and the growth of the U.S. wind industry for AWEA, as well as conducting ongoing supply chain seminars around the country. We’ll be addressing the issue at WINDPOWER 2011 in the supply chain track, along with manufacturing technologies and international opportunities. I also lead the association’s Transportation and Logistics Working Group, and I co-lead the Manufacturing Working Group. AWEA has several working groups and committees, most of which are open to AWEA business members, and I would encourage them to join, since it really is the best way to get involved in creating the foundation on which the U.S. wind industry will depend in the coming years.

Have you been involved in planning this year’s WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition?

Yes, I have. The association flew me out to Anaheim my first day on the job for a WINDPOWER planning meeting. I had been attending the show for about a decade by then, so I’d had the opportunity to witness its exponential growth over the years, and I was really impressed by how well organized it was, even after the attendance began to double each year. I remember the days when 2,500 people might attend, and now it’s more than 20,000, with companies from all around the world displaying their products and equipment and promoting their services. It has been amazing to witness this growth firsthand, so I’ve really enjoyed getting a “behind the scenes” look into how the show is staged by the AWEA staff. And this is not a huge organization, just one that’s very efficient and staffed by dedicated, experienced professionals. They really listen to AWEA members and show attendees, incorporating their input into making each year’s show that much better than the last.

What can attendees expect to find in Anaheim this year?

First of all, a great location. The Anaheim Convention Center is a wonderful facility, very convenient and easy to navigate, and Disneyland is immediately adjacent, so some people will be taking their families along and making a real vacation of it. In addition to the exhibitions, there will be 50 educational sessions organized into 13 tracks with two general sessions, three pre-conference seminars, and poster presentations providing information on wind industry trends, technologies, and advancements. Jay Leno will provide entertainment at the conference dinner Tuesday evening, and Ted Turner will speak during the general sessions. We’ll also be holding other special events such as the Careers in Wind Summit, our annual golf tournament, the Wind Energy Foundation VIP event, a supply chain networking event, and the 5K scholarship run, so there’s a lot to look forward to this year in terms of education and networking opportunities.

We’ve really felt the anticipation building around the WINDPOWER show this year, has that been your experience as well?

It definitely has. We’re detecting quite a buzz out there about the show itself as well as the continued growth of the U.S. wind industry. People are excited about offshore development finally beginning to open up throughout North America, and about all the wind component manufacturing facilities being built in the United States and Canada. We’ve structured our educational offerings around that growth, presenting information that will help companies of all kinds overcome the challenges we’ll be facing as the industry expands and evolves. After all the years I’ve spent admiring AWEA from afar, it’s really exciting for me to have the opportunity to play an integral role in supporting our members and the wind energy industry as it becomes a central contributor to our total energy portfolio and our manufacturing economy, both here in the United States and around the world.

To learn more: Go online to www.windpowerexpo.org or www.awea.org.