August 22 – 25, 2018

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA| USA

Apprenticeships Explained

Date: Friday, August 24th from 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Session Code: BMG4

Location: TBD

Presented by: Virginia Tech

Speakers: Urs Buehlmann, Professor: Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials and Mathias Schmitt, Management Consultant: White Rock, LLC


This workshop will focus on describing the European model of apprenticeships, which consists of school graduates learning a trade in a company that is willing to educate young individuals in return for a relatively small salary.  Apprenticeships are credited as being a part of the reason for the many successes of small and medium sized business in Germany and Switzerland, as they provide these companies with a steady stream of well-educated, hands-on employees.  The workshop will contrast the European apprenticeship model with practices in the United States and will show examples of successful efforts to mimic the European model in the States.

About the Speakers: 



As a Professor for the Virginia Tech Department of Sustainable Biomaterials,Urs Buehlmannfocuses on manufacturing systems and on assessing industry competitiveness. Urs has given special focus to the impact of foreign competition on the wood products industry and its relationship with the U.S. housing market. He practices and promotes Lean Principles as a way to improve business results.

Urs has more than 15 years of experience working in industry, including serving as General Manager of Enkeboll Designs, Carson CA.



As Managing Partner at White Rocks LLC,Mathias Schmitt'sgroup focuses on company turnarounds/restructurings and Lean transformations across industries. Mathias has been actively involved in lean transformation projects around the world – throughout Asia, Europe, and North America. Additionally, he worked with executives of Fortune 200 companies on M&A and divestiture activities as well as strategic initiatives. He also has led the establishment of business, market, and competitive intelligence programs to drive organizational understanding of the business environment.

Mathias has more than 10 years of experience working in industry and management consulting. He currently serves as a Regional Continuous Improvement Manager with Yanfeng Automotive Interiors and is the global lead on Value Stream Flow.