Automation Solutions Forum

This event is sold out! If you would like to be added to a waiting list, send a request to with your name, company, email, and number of attendees.

Schedule  Location   Speakers     Accommodations     Fees/What's Included

Conference Overview

Is your business prepared to support your customers who require Automation Solutions? Today’s companies face market conditions and trends that have forced them to change their business and distribution strategy. Customers are turning more frequently to automation to insulate them from the increasing cost and reduced availability of the labor.

Certain industry segments, and especially eCommerce, experienced rapid growth globally during the past year, bringing with it increased reliance on warehouses to deliver goods quickly and reliably. At the same time, rising customer demands coupled with severe labor shortages have forced companies to focus on improving efficiency and optimizing processing times. Companies are responding by investing in warehouse automation. The global warehouse automation market is set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.6% from 2021-2025, reaching approximately $30.99 billion in 2025.

Join MHEDA for a completely revamped event designed to address the shifting landscape of Automation Solutions. We’ve planned an interactive “Forum” for you to hear from speakers, learn about products, explore new technology and meet with your industry peers.

New in 2023, this event will be hosted in a MHEDA Member facility: Conveyer & Caster Equipment for Industry, located approximately 20-minutes from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. MHEDA has planned a day of big thinking, best practices and engaging networking to help you learn and grow.

This event is sold out! If you would like to be added to a waiting list, send a request to with your name, company, email, and number of attendees.

Sessions Include:

>  What is Needed to Integrate Automation Solutions
>  Creating Order from Chaos: Delivering Warehouse Automation the Right Way
>  Vertical Lift Modules (VLM’s): Automation 101 – The Backbone of Your Advanced Automation Strategy
>  Advancing from a Storage and Handling Distribution Company to an Integrator
>  Using RFID, Voice and Robotics to Improve Your Distribution Operations
>  Automation Demonstrations
>  Tour of Conveyer & Caster
>  Endless Networking Opportunities!

Conference Location

The event will take place at the offices of MHEDA Member Conveyer & Caster – Equipment for Industry.
29570 Clemens Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145

Event Entrance

* Conveyer & Caster is located at the corner of Crocker & Clemens Road.

* The entrance for this event will be entering the parking lot off Crocker Road on the west side of their building.

* The entrance address is 1125 Crocker Road.


About Conveyer & Caster

Conveyer & Caster – Equipment for Industry is a fourth-generation, family-owned, solutions provider of material handling and storage products based in Northeast Ohio. The company is driven by a simple mission to provide storage and handling solutions that improve material flow and safety for each customer. To support this Conveyer & Caster has developed expertise in almost all areas of material handling, including casters and wheels, conveyors, pallet racking, shelving, mezzanines, in-plant offices, carts, pallet jacks, hand trucks, and loading dock equipment. Conveyer & Caster also provides installation, custom fabrication, solution design and engineering, and service and repair.

Registration Fees

This event is sold out! If you would like to be added to a waiting list, send a request to with your name, company, email, and number of attendees.

$395 pp – Early Bird MHEDA Member Rate (Expires September 22, 2023)
$595 pp – Regular MHEDA Member Rate (After September 22, 2023)
$995 pp – Non-Member Rate

What’s Included – Included in the registration fee is admittance to the event, all handout material, continental breakfast, networking luncheon, refreshment breaks. Also includes networking with other material handling professionals who face similar material handling business challenges. Does not include travel or hotel accommodations.

Who Should Attend

The Automation Solutions Forum is designed for small to mid-sized Storage & Handling distributor organizations who want to learn more about expanding their business offerings to include automated products and services. Please note: All MHEDA Members who are interested in learning more about Automation Solutions are welcome to register and participate!

Cancellation Policy

The full amount will be refunded if you cancel no later than October 1, 2023. Cancellations received after that date but before the start of the conference will be charged a $200 administration fee per person. No refunds given for “no shows.”


    Thursday October 12

  • 8:30 am - 9:00 am

    Registration & Continental Breakfast

    Stop by the reg desk for your name badge, then enjoy hot coffee and delicious continental breakfast.

  • 9:00 am - 9:15 am

    Welcome & Introductions

    Presented by Conference Moderator, Darin Boik, President of Advanced Equipment Company.
    You will have the opportunity to introduce yourself and get to know fellow conference attendees, a great way to start the day!

  • 9:15 am - 10:00 am

    What is Needed to Integrate Automation Solutions + Q&A Opportunity

    Presented by Jordan Frank, EVP and Co-Founder, Zion Solutions
    Have you ever asked yourself the following questions: “Am I ready to integrate automated solutions? Do we have a defined and proven process to walk our customers and business partners through all phases to insure a successful ‘Go Live?’ Do we have the expertise to design, implement, and commission an automated solution?” This session will help you learn about the capabilities, process, and resources required to integrate automated solutions. Q&A opportunity at the end of the session.

  • 10:00 am - 10:15 am


  • 10:15 am - 11:15 am

    Creating Order from Chaos: Delivering Warehouse Automation the Right Way + Q&A Opportunity

    Presented by Austin Santich, Director of Systems Engineering and Brian Keiger, Director of Business Development & Marketing at Movu Robotics.
    Automating the warehouse enables you to grow and expand into new markets by increasing productivity, efficiency, safety and operational performance. Both end users and suppliers, however, often struggle to get the results they desire from the automation, mainly due to a lack of proper preparation as automation is a significant investment that needs careful planning. Join us for a discussion of the crucial steps and requirements for transitioning from manual chaos to the disciplines of automation. Q&A opportunity at the end of the session.

    Key Takeaways:
    • Explore this topic from both a supplier and customer perspective;
    • Review why taking shortcuts could put your automation project in peril;
    • Learn how embracing these steps and requirements, your warehouse is more likely to run at peak efficiency.

    Additional thoughts and takeaways from the session presenters!

    1) “Automating a bad process still results in a bad process” – There are crucial steps and requirements for transitioning from a manual warehouse to the disciplines of automation and they must be done in the right order. A band-aid never heals a wound . . . It’s just a temporary patch that stops the blood flow and momentarily protects the wound. When they are relied on for more than what they are meant for, they can actually cause greater long-term issues. The same is true in automation. Follow the proper care if you want long-term “health.”

    2) “Garbage in is garbage out” – Make sure you are working with the right data when designing an automated warehouse. Potential automation solutions are only as good as the data that goes into the design. How many SKUs, orders, pallets, and so forth do you currently have? Further, how is that going to develop in the next five or 10 years? Saying “I want to grow 10% per year,” for example, isn’t specific enough. Figure out whether you aim to grow by being able to handle 10% more orders, process 10% more lines per order and/or increase the number of SKU with 10%. The more precise you can be with your design data, the better chance you’ll have at incorporating the right solutions into the warehouse design.

    3) “The most dangerous challenge is the one you underestimate” – (Sub)system orchestration – or lack thereof – can make or break an automation project. You can spend $1M or more on a particular solution, but if it is not synchronized with the other technology solutions in your warehouse, you aren’t set up for success. In other words, if solutions are siloed, you lack the ability to operate at full capacity.

    4) “Because people are important” – Embrace Change Management. Never underestimate the power of people, and know that when you automate, you’ll need to get buy-in from the people that need to make it work! Put plans in place that help employees embrace warehouse automation and you’ll achieve the success you need.

    5) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – Ensure the proper support plan is in place after going live! Going from a manual to an automated warehouse is a huge step and shouldn’t happen without having an experienced provider who will help. Think of it this way: You are going from driving a stick-shift Chevy to being behind the wheel of a powerful yet complicated Formula One race car. You will need support learning the intricacies, power and the benefits of new solutions and you will need to maintain the new car.

  • 11:15 am - 11:30 am


  • 11:30 am - 12:00 pm

    Vertical Lift Modules (VLM’s): Automation 101 – The Backbone of Your Advanced Automation Strategy + Q&A Opportunity

    Presented by David Lind, Business Development, Modula and Manny Linares, Vidmar, Territory Sales Manager, Ohio
    This session will cover Vertical Lift Modules. VLMs are pivotal in warehouse automation, maximizing space, enhancing retrieval speed, reducing errors, and bolstering safety. Their straightforward integration with a vast range of inventory systems and other robotics revolutionizes modern inventory management and order fulfillment strategies.

  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Enjoy a delicious lunch while networking with fellow attendees.

  • 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

    Manufacturer’s Perspective: Advancing from a Material Handling Distributor Company to an Integrator + Q&A Opportunity
    Presented by Mitch Smith, Chief Revenue Officers, Hytrol
    What are the keys to advancing your distributor business into a turn-key integration company? This session will include information about Market Analysis, Expanded Product & Services offerings, Strategic Partnerships, Customer Support, Branding and more! Q&A opportunity at the end of the session.

  • 1:45 pm - 2:00 pm


  • 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm

    Using RFID, Voice and Robotics to Improve Your Distribution Operations + Q&A Opportunity
    Presented by Mike McGuriman, VP of Sales, TRG Solutions
    Learn about various high-tech technologies that are being utilized in supply chain and distribution centers to help with productivity and accuracy. The presentation will cover common applications using each technology, and how they can provide a ROI in today’s environment. Q&A opportunity at the end of the session.

    Key Takeaways:
    • Review how RFID technology is benefiting companies in the supply chain;
    • Discuss Voice technology and the advantage a hands-free solution can bring;
    • Learn about Automation of dunnage through the use of robots.

  • 2:45 pm - 3:00 pm


  • 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm

    Roundtable Discussions
    Enjoy time to learn, discuss and network with your MHEDA peers during the Roundtable Discussions.

  • 3:45 pm - 4:30 pm

    Automation Demonstrations and Tour of Conveyer & Caster

    Tour Conveyer & Caster’s recently updated operations, demo areas, and examples of automation and semi-automation in-works and on display. The tour will include the following areas and focal points:

    • Work and pack station safety and semi-automation/automation.
    • Demos: new Hytrol 24-volt accumulation conveyor with HMI (human-machine-interface) touch panel; additional conveyor automation solutions; a vertical lift module (VLM) for high-density vertical storage and picking efficiency; storage and flow rack solutions; guarding for safety around automation equipment.
    • Warehouse and fulfillment efficiency and safety enhancements.

  • 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

    Happy Hour Networking Reception
    End the day with a relaxing Happy Hour, giving you more time to discuss what you learned with your fellow attendees.

Thank you Sentry Protection Products for Sponsoring Breakfast at the Forum


Sentry Protection Products, a leader in manufacturing and marketing state of the art impact resistant equipment and collision warning systems for commercial and industrial environments.



Interested in sponsorship opportunities at this event? Contact Kathy Cotter at


Darin Boik

Darin Boik is the President of Advanced Equipment Company. He holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and has pursued a dynamic career encompassing engineering, technical sales, and strategic leadership. With a foundation in programming, electrical design, and project management, Darin transitioned to a technical sales role at Advanced Equipment Company (AEC).  Here he played a key role in designing automated conveyor solutions encompassing packaging line integration, ASRS, sortation, and more. As President of AEC, Darin’s commitment to innovation and customer collaboration has solidified the company’s position as a solutions provider. His role on the board of directors for the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) further highlights his dedication to industry growth.

Jordan Frank

Jordan Frank is the EVP and Co-Founder of Zion Solutions Group. He is a sales executive specializing in system design. Using his experience and background, he guides senior leaders on the right mix of technology to complement any facility. He has led projects ranging in size from $1M upwards of $85M. Areas of expertise include: robotics and technology, ROI and labor modeling, software design and integration, data analytics, high speed sortation, conveyor design and system development.

Brian Keiger

Brian Keiger is the Director of Business Development & Marketing at Movu Robotics, US. With over 30 years of experience in the Supply Chain industry, Keiger has worked in multiple capacities, including engineering, sales, business development, and marketing. He has extensive knowledge in supply chain, robotics, racking, AMRs/AGVs, conveyor, ASRS, goods-to-person, and more!

Manny Linares

Manny Linares is the Territory Sales Manager for Vidmar and Lista with 6 years of experience in providing custom storage solutions for large customer base in Ohio; including VLMs and other modular storage solutions.

David Lind

David Lind is the Business Development director Modula Inc., based out of Modula’s North America VLM manufacturing facility in Franklin, Ohio. David has been working in logistics and supply chain optimization for 30 years.

Mike McGuriman

Mike McGuriman is the Vice President of Sales at TRG Solutions. Mike has been in the Technology, Automatic Identification and Mobility for 35+ years. TRG is a managed services provider with a specialized understanding of Distribution/Transportation, Manufacturing and Retail. TRG has been providing mobility solutions and managed services including wireless solutions for over 20 years.

Austin Santich

Austin Santich is the Director of Systems Engineering at Matthews Automation Solutions. With over 15 years of experience in the Supply Chain industry, Santich has held multiple roles in both an automation supplier and end user capacity. He has experience in warehouse & inventory management, supply chain optimization, & process improvement along with operations inside of distribution centers and 3PLs.

Mitch Smith

Mitch Smith is the Chief Revenue Officer at Hytrol. He joined Hytrol in 2016 after being an integrator for 23 years, serving in capacities of Inside Sales Engineer, Design Engineer, Project Manager, Branch Manager, Regional Manager, and Vice President for Bastian Solutions, also serving on the Board of Directors for the company. At Hytrol, he oversees business development, central planning, and integrator services. Mitch is also an active participant with several industry organizations, such as the Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), MHI, MHEDA, CEMA.


  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cleveland - Westlake

    1100 Crocker Road
    Westlake, OH 44145

    Group discounted rate is $109 – available until September 27
    For reservations, call 1-800-445-8667 or use the button below to book a room online.

    Find us off I-90, one mile from shopping and dining at Crocker Park. Lake Erie is within 10 minutes, and we’re 20 minutes from Downtown Cleveland, West Side Market, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Perks include our indoor pool, 24-hour fitness center, and a warm DoubleTree cookie at check-in.
    Note: This hotel is within walking distance of the event.

  • Hyatt Place Cleveland/Westlake/Crocker Park

    2020 Crocker Road
    Westlake, OH 44145

    Group discounted rate is $230 – includes breakfast and parking and is available until September 22.
    For reservations, use the button below to book a room online.

    Stay steps away from over 100 retail shops, restaurants, and grocery stores at our Crocker Park hotel in Westlake. The hotel boasts 110 stylish rooms and suites with modern amenities and tech-savvy conveniences, such as an indoor pool, fitness center, and free Wi-Fi. Stream your favorite content to your hotel room’s TV, powered by Google Chromecast.
    Note: This hotel is 1 mile from the Forum location Conveyer & Caster.

    Note: To Book a Room Online, follow these instructions:
    Click on the link below
    Click “Book Now” at the top of the page
    Enter your arrival & departure dates
    Group code is (g-asfo)
    Click “Book Now” again and complete the reservation.