Home Events - TechPrize Panel Discussion Introduction to Industry 4.0

Introduction to Industry 4.0

 Industry 4.0 is the name given to the current phase of the industrial revolution. It is the integration of smart digital technology and manufacturing and places an emphasis on automation, machine learning, and real-time data. In the panel discussion, our experts in simple terms will explain the concepts of  Industry 4.0 and why one should learn more about it.

Moderated by Ray Koukari

Thoughts from the Panel Members

Jeffrey Daniel – Industry 4.0 is thrown around as a very broad term, with greatly different definitions by both consultants and industry experts. As a global operations leader, we need to make technologies that run business practical and applicable. Establish your vision, start small, create the sensing, analytics, and outputs that work for you. This is not a one size fits all topic. We’ll use this panel discussion to explore how industry and education experts view and engage that topic to help the participant appreciate the different “Industry definitions and expectations” and then work to get an understanding of how to make that happen.
Matt Kirchner –  My mission is to secure the American Dream for the next generation of STEM and Workforce talent. I came of manufacturing age in an Industry 3.0 world. Of course we didn’t call it that, but that’s what it was. Efficiency, productivity, and yield data were gathered on a clipboard. Quality was judged by a department located hundreds of feet from the production line and reject data was recorded on a paper form. I could go on but the point is obvious. The difference between Industry 3.0 and Industry 4.0 will truly revolutionize manufacturing and, in turn, education. This conversation will draw from personal experience in working with educators across the United States, from research where appropriate, and through discussions with some of the world’s most influential people in the realm of Industry 4.0.
Peggy James –  In 2019, there were over 15.7 million workers in manufacturing, making it the fourth largest industry in the United States. In the next decade, many workers in manufacturing will be displaced; others will see their jobs eliminated. Nearly 10% of the jobs in manufacturing will be entirely new. Manufacturing is increasingly relying on smart technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, robots, cobots, and more. Preparing workers for this fourth industrial revolution is not simply about training the workforce to push different buttons or monitor screens. Such an approach would only prepare workers for the machines of today and would fail to address the decision-making skills needed to be adaptable to the new smart-technology-enabled workplace. This discussion will dig into the specific decision-making skills that are needed for the current workforce to be successful in smart manufacturing facilities.

Ray Koukari As an educator, I’m very concerned that our educational programs mature with the changing world. Industry 4.0 is to Industry 3.0 what the Jet Engine is to the Wright Flyer. The impact will be significant, requiring new skillsets and perspectives. This talk will dig into these areas giving us the opportunity to explore the current industry status and our preparation to see its potential fulfilled.


The event is finished.



Jun 19 2021


10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Jun 19 2021
  • Time: 11:00 am - 1:00 pm


[email protected]

The Tech-Prize event will be hosted throughout downtown Racine. The event will bring entrepreneurs with ideas, investors that would like to launch those ideas, mentors, businesses, educators, civic leaders, and non-profits together in the pursuit of “Making your individual idea reality”.


  • Jeff Daniel
    Jeff Daniel
    MODERATOR: President, BlueFlux Power Products Group; Co-Chair Tech-Prize

    As the President of the Blueflux Products group, he is responsible for the launch of a new generation of green, electrical energy creation systems.  This includes product design, manufacturing, launch, and distribution for North America and then globally Jeff recently left Johnson Controls to join this start-up.  In his last Johnson Controls role, he was the Vice President of Global Operational Excellence, he was responsible for the performance of 82 manufacturing facilities and the functional leadership for the required support organizations (Quality, Material Control, Continuous Improvement, Advanced Manufacturing, Johnson Controls Manufacturing System, Network Optimization and Organizational Health). Prior to this role, Jeff was the Vice President of Global Procurement, Operations, and Continuous Improvement as well.  Jeff started his career with Prince Corporation/JCI in Holland, Michigan upon completing his Bachelor of Science in Plastics Engineering degree, from Pittsburg State University.  Jeff has gained experience through progressive leadership roles with the company including: Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, Product Development, Sales Operations, and Procurement.  Each of those experiences are now proving critical as he works to launch a global business that is designed to provide clean electrical energy and potentially change the world. Jeff lives in Racine, Wisconsin with his wife Jewell.  They have two daughters, Holly Daniel and Kelly Ritzmann, a son-in-law, Tom Ritzmann, and a new grandson, Dawson Ritzmann

  • Matthew Kirchner
    Matthew Kirchner
    President of ATS/LAB Midwest; Host of The TechEd Podcast

    (pronounced “Kirk-ner”) is an international speaker, author, and podcast host on topics of interest to educators, public policymakers, and private employers. On a mission to secure the American Dream for the next generation of STEM and Workforce talent, Kirchner hosts the weekly TechEd PodcastTM, featuring leaders in industry and education, and serves as President of ATS/LAB Midwest, the leading distributor of world-class curriculum, eLearning, and training equipment. Kirchner writes monthly leadership columns appearing in Products Finishing and Production Machining magazines and is the author of “Teaching the Industrial Internet of Things: Preparing Students and Learners for Industry 4.0.” Previously Kirchner led three world-class manufacturing companies during a 20+ career as an industrial CEO. He and his partners sold their last company, American Finishing Resources, to DuBois Chemicals in 2014. Kirchner serves on the boards of directors of several American companies and among his many volunteer activities, he is First-Past President of the Education Dealers Association and holds a seat on the board of the Smart Automation Certification Alliance. He is a graduate of the Marquette University School of Business.

  • Peggy James - UWP
    Peggy James - UWP
    Dean, College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies

    Is an experienced Dean with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Lecturing, Academic Advising, Public Speaking, and Curriculum Development. Peggy is a strong professional with a Master of Arts (MA) focused in Political Science and Government from Marquette University, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Recent successes include leadership in the development of Parkside Access to College Credits, a concurrent enrollment program in southeast Wisconsin, the development of a Masters of Arts in Applied Professional Studies, and an institutional objective to become a Hispanic Serving Institution. Peggy Leads the Smart City Policy and Civic Partnerships programs.

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