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Follow the Leaders

“Profiles in Manufacturing,” an IMTS+ original network series, tells the stories of leaders, luminaries, and legends who don’t demand; they do. Learn more about the people who are driving manufacturing forward in the newest show on IMTS+.
Aug 01, 2022

Leaders. Luminaries. Legends. Whatever you call them, there are always people who stand out — and who are, frankly, outstanding. “Profiles in Manufacturing,” an original IMTS+ network series, tells the stories of these individuals, focusing on how they have helped to shape and enhance the industry.  

This season, viewers will meet Brian J. Papke, executive advisor to the board at Mazak Corp; Lee B. Morris, chairman of Morris Group Inc.; and Aneesa Muthana, CEO and owner of Pioneer Service Inc. 

They are all shining examples of authentic leadership in manufacturing. They are listeners, doers, thinkers, and makers who lead not by dictating but by example. 

“All of the individuals featured in our ‘Profiles in Manufacturing’ are giants in the industry,” Douglas Woods, AMT president, says. “Throughout their careers, they’ve been outstanding leaders and tireless advocates for advancing innovation in manufacturing technology.” 

In his episode, Papke discusses life before his prestigious career with Mazak—in Rockford, Illinois. He had never seen the ocean until he went to college. Papke joined Mazak and went on to travel around the world, including more than ninety trips to Japan. During his 29-year tenure as president at Mazak, he helped the company expand US operations, implement digital technologies, and establish multiple technology centers.  

“We were the first company from Japan to manufacture in the state of Kentucky,” recalled Papke. “I believe there are about 160 Japanese companies in the state now, and many of them came through Mazak.” 

Lee B. Morris was destined to be in the machine tool business. He grew up in his family’s shop. Under his leadership, Morris Group Inc. has become one of the largest machine tool distribution networks in North America. With more than 50 years in the industry, Morris is an example of the right way to run a multi-generational family business. He credits his core business philosophy—“Grow or Die”—for his success.  

“If you are not a growing entity, your very best people are looking for where they can grow,” Morris explains. “If you are a reliably growing entity, they will know they can grow with you.” 

As a precision machine shop owner, Aneesa Muthana stands out in more ways than one. While being a female and a minority in a male-dominated industry hasn’t always been easy, Aneesa has always been up to the challenge. “If you’ve got my back, I’ve got your back,” Muthana says.  

Committed to promoting diversity and investing in her employees, Muthana believes that “innovation comes from diversity.” She continues, “If everyone on my team looks and sounds like me, I’ve just limited the development of my company and my personal development. Having a diverse team makes us stronger.” 

Tune into IMTS+ to follow all these great leaders—and to access more great content. IMTS+ takes viewers behind the machines and into the hearts and minds of manufacturing technology. 

Michelle Edmonson, CEM
Vice President, Exhibitions
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