Training the next generation of technical rock stars

By Dora Smith

Steve Bashada of Siemens PLM Software announces grant to community college at a Software Revolution event in Norwood, Ohio

It’s up to us to create the thrill about being the next technical rock star.”

– Steve Bashada, VP of  Industries, Siemens PLM Software

A technical rock star asks a question at Siemens' Software Revolution event at Norwood.

Those words echoed through more than 430,000 square feet of manufacturing last week and struck a chord with an audience assembled to discuss manufacturing’s software revolution.

The audience of academic, industry and government leaders met in one of Siemens’ oldest manufacturing plants in the world in Norwood, Ohio. Originally built in 1898, today it produces large motors like those used on Amtrak trains and the Keystone XL pipeline.

It has an interesting history including producing wartime supplies. More recently in 2007, Siemens invested more than $30 million to modernize the plant. Parts used to travel more than six miles through the factory during motor assembly. Now they only travel two miles. The two-year return on that investment included expanding capacity 50 percent, increasing productivity by 42 percent and cutting energy consumption by 40 percent. The plant is currently undergoing another multimillion dollar investment in new equipment to develop larger motors.

There are 30 CAD software users (one pictured above) who design motors with NX software at this plant. About 150 workers access Teamcenter, most of which are on the factory floor bringing up reference files for manufacturing. 

So the setting was appropriate for a conversation about software’s role in the U.S. manufacturing resurgence and how we can equip the future workforce with the right skills. The Atlantic hosted this “Building the Future” discussion. Siemens underwrote the event and announced a new in-kind software grant to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

Here is a video summary with highlights from the executives who presented at the event:

You can also watch a full replay and see outtakes from the event.

See more event photos on Flickr. Stay tuned for more on this event and the technical rock stars I met in Ohio.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at