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Heath will pitch advanced manufacturing to students at Whiteman Lecture

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – An executive at a new company in western Illinois who sees great opportunity for Monmouth College students will deliver this year’s Wendell Whiteman Memorial Lecture.

Andrew Heath, vice president of international operations at Jupiter Machine Tool, a manufacturing company founded last year in Galesburg, will present the Whiteman Lecture at 11 a.m. March 26 in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Titled “And There Was Light: Dawn of the Augmented Reality Age,” the lecture is free and open to the public.

“Jupiter works with customers from any step in the manufacturing process, starting with computer-aided design and product design all the way through quality control and training,” said Heath. “We provide manufacturing equipment for cutting metal and we also provide service and support for brands in our industry.”

Heath is new to working in the United States, as his entire professional career had been spent abroad. He started in Japan, then spent 10 years in China, where he lived in a city of more than 8 million people. He believes the Midwest, and western Illinois, in particular, offers cost advantages over such places as Silicon Valley.

“For manufacturing, Galesburg is nicely positioned between the two mammoth companies, Caterpillar and John Deere, so there’s already a lot of local opportunity, although Jupiter has a national reach,” he said.

A big part of what Jupiter provides hinges on augmented reality, which brings components of the digital world into a person’s perception of the real world.

“We want to bring something new to the table,” said Heath. “We are focusing on advanced technology, particularly augmented reality, on manufacturing trends and on how institutions like Monmouth can take advantage of that to create their own space and to position their students to have an impactful career in the emerging economies we see today. ... Augmented reality is truly limitless.”

The only limit, it seems, is connecting two very important parties.

“Right now, we have a disconnect between the augmented reality technology developers and potential users,” said Heath. “That’s going to be the main theme of my lecture. How do we create that bridge? How do we unite the potential customer and provider? We’re going to need an entirely new generation of talented people with a very interdisciplinary skill set that, frankly, has never been seen before.”

Heath believes Monmouth students are qualified to be those “talented people” for two major reasons: the broad liberal arts education they receive and the small class sizes, which help them become better team members.

“You need that connection,” said Heath, whose business partner is Ray Whitehead. “You need to be able to have a voice, to exchange ideas with someone who’s been there and done that, in order to shape your future. We desperately need creative and ambitious individuals because the manufacturing industry in the United States is going to retire 200,000 people in the next five to six years.”

Whitehead has referred to the coming boom in Jupiter’s industry as “the 21st century Gold Rush.”

“It’s a great opportunity,” he said. “We’re at the right place at the right time.”

The Whiteman Lecture Series annually brings prominent leaders of American business and industry to Monmouth. It is named in memory of Wendell Whiteman, an alumnus of the College and long-time executive of Security Savings Bank in Monmouth.