Cleveland Associated Industries Offering Executive Education

Monday, February 24, 2014

Executive education is now available in the community, says Lisa Pickel, executive director for Cleveland Associated Industries.

CAI is collaborating with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Business Administration to provide a Manufacturing Leadership Program in Bradley County. The program’s purpose is to accelerate the development process of becoming an effective and successful site leader and 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, and without their having to travel to Knoxville,” Ms. Pickel explained. 

She continued, “Manufacturers in our region 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.  Mr. 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, said officials. 

“We have some amazing manufacturing facilities in Cleveland and Bradley County, and we must be proactive about preserving and advancing them by developing their leadership,” Ms. 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,” Ms. 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 Ms. Pickel at 472-6587 or For details about UT’s graduate and executive education leadership programs, visit

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