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January 16, 2020 Marketing

PPG Builds Diversity, Nucor Steel Expands, Aptiv to Add Airport Autonomous Rides

PPG: Dynamic, Diverse Workforce Key to Manufacturing’s Future


Rebecca Liebert, PPG’s Senior Vice President, Automotive Coatings, wrote for CIO Review about the value her company of 47,000 employees places on hiring a diverse workforce.

Rebecca Liebert, PPG

Beyond making that commitment, PPG is backing it up.

Forbes Magazine named PPG among the Best Employers for Diversity. And the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index gave PPG a perfect score. That makes the Pittsburgh-based company a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

Liebert writes that building a more inclusive workforce could be among the solutions to the “skills gap” in manufacturing, which is the difference between the number of available manufacturing jobs and the workers who have the skills required to fill them.

“To address the skills gap, we need to continue to empower young people, especially women and minorities, to explore careers in manufacturing,” she said.

She wrote companies like PPG need to fight the “outdated perception that manufacturing’s best days are behind us” and recognize it for the growing, high-tech environment that it offers.

One of the ways to create a more diverse manufacturing sector is by prioritizing STEM education, Liebert wrote.

Liebert knows the power of a STEM eduction for a young person. She started her education in engineering on her family farm, and then went on to study chemical engineering and business, a story that she shared with GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie last year during the IndustryWeek M&T Conference in Pittsburgh.

Jim introduced Rebecca, highlighted the fact that PPG was GrayMatter’s first customer when the company started in the early 1990s and praised her commitment to promoting STEM education for young women and girls.

To read about GrayMatter’s work with PPG, check out PPG’s Continuous Improvement Unlocks Innovation.

It’s a case study in how PPG keeps innovating even though it’s already one of the most prolific patent recipients in Western Pennsylvania.

Nucor Steel Expands Special Bar-Quality Steel Operation in Memphis

Nucor Steel

Nucor Steels rang in the new year with an announcement that it’s investing $10 million in a special bar-quality steel facility in Memphis, Tenn., reports the Daily Memphian.

Special bar-quality steel refers to steel products like crankshafts, gears and and drilling components that need to be able to handle extremely high stress loads. Companies like Nucor use various techniques, including heat treating, to imbue steel with extra strength.

“The new heat treat facility will improve the quality and properties of heat-treated steel we currently produce for our customers,” said Dave Smith, VP and general manager of Nucor Steel Memphis.

The new 23,000-square-foot facility will house equipment Nucor purchased from Texas-based Energy Alloys, the Memphian reports.

In a Tweet, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland praised Nucor’s investment and the 470 jobs Nucor offers in the Memphis area that pay an average salary of more than $70,000 a year.

In case you’re not familiar with Nucor, the Charlotte, N.C-based company, a GrayMatter customer, is the largest steel producer in the United States, and ranks 12th in the world, according to 2018 data from the World Steel Association, a nonprofit industry group.

Aptiv’s Self-Driving BMW 5-Series Sedans Poised for Airport Trips


If you’ve been to the Las Vegas strip in the last few years, you’ve probably spotted Aptiv’s self-driving sedans. Maybe you’ve even taken a short trip in one along the Strip.

But pretty soon it looks like Aptiv will be able to offer self-driving car trips to McCarran International Airport.

“Data has shown that a significant portion of ride-hailing demand comes from passengers traveling to and from airports,” Karl Iagnemma, president of autonomous mobility at Aptiv, said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with McCarran International Airport to demonstrate that self-driving cars can soon improve their customers’ mobility experience,” he said.

According to CNET, Aptiv plans to launch a Level 4 autonomous driving platform by 2022. Unlike some autonomous car companies that are building the technology into their own cars, Aptiv hopes to sell the autnomous driving platform to car companies so they can incorporate it into their vehicles.

For those who don’t study autnomous car technology, it’s worth taking a moment to consider what “Level 4” autonomous driving means.

The rating comes from a 5-level scale that defines how capably a car can navigate through an environment with the aid of a human driver, and, as you move up the scale, without assistance from a human driver.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a good synopsis of what each level means.


Most autonomous car companies are focused on Level 4, which is a good indication of how challenging it is to develop a fully autonomous vehicle and how far the technology still has to go before it reaches Level 5.

GrayMatter’s emPOWERUP 2020 Speaker Series

emPOWERUP 2020 GrayMatter

At GrayMatter, we’re excited to launch 2020’s emPOWERUP Speaker Series.

We’ll be holding events early this year in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Florida.

Some dates are still to be determined, but Florida-area operational technology specialists can sign up now for our event in Orlando set for March 17.

This year’s event series will cover the latest updates and tools from GE Digital including iFIX 6.1 and Proficy Operations Hub.

We’ll also delve into steps you can take to advance enterprise-level objectives including the digital transformation journey, developing powerful data visualizations, edge computing and OT cybersecurity.

Stay tuned for more details on our other events soon!

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