October 9, 2023
In July, the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) announced that the AMUG Board had tapped Shannon VanDeren as the group's new president. She replaces Mark Abshire, who stepped down over the summer.
VanDeren served as a volunteer for AMUG for the last 10 years—first as a track leader, then as a committee member, and more recently as AMUG's elected vice president.
Digital Engineering spoke to VanDeren about her new position, and her priorities moving into 2024.
Tell us about your experience in the additive manufacturing industry.
Shannon VanDeren: I began my additive journey with Materialise, joining them in 2010. I would go on to join 3D Systems in an effort to learn more about other technologies within additive. I gained metals experience working with Linear Mold and Engineering. I was fortunate to spend time with Smith & Nephew, providing technical support in the operating room, as surgeons used the Visionairre patient specific guides/models for kne replacements. It was wonderful to be on the scene where the technology is actually being used! In 2015, I was given the opportunity to create Layered Manufacturing and Consulting, where I cherish continued learning, collaboration, service, advisory effortsin identifying, validating, embracing and implementing additive manufacturing.
When did you attend your first AMUG meeting?
Shannon VanDeren: The first time was in Jacksonville, and I came as a sponsor with 3D Systems. I quickly realized that AMUG is a really special event, especially for me at that time as a newcomer who was really trying to fill my knowledge base. AMUG is a great place to do that because everyone is interested in collaborating, teaching and networking
What are some of your initial plans in your new role as president?
Shannon VanDeren: I would say I have a fair number of proposals to present before the board of directors, ideas based on survey results and conversations I have had that I will put before them, along with evidence of how they can be impactful. Happily every board member comes with ideas and proposals – all are vetted via discussion and votes. Some come to fruition, some do not… and that is perfectly okay!
We, as a board, are all committed to being gracious winners and losers depending on how the board collectively decides to vote. It is important that if the majority of the board votes in a direction other than what you had hoped for, that we can move on as a board for the greater good of the community. We have five new board members, which gives us some new insight, and we want the group to work in a unified and dignified way.
What are some of the key trends in the industry that you think will be important moving into 2024?
Shannon VanDeren: There is a lot of movement in the industry. Mergers and acquisitions have been picking up, and we are seeing people moving from company to company. We are seeing more materials enter the market, and companies are validating their performance. We have a consistent need to take some of the exclusivity and prohibitive pricing out of the additive sector so more companies can adopt the technology.
Workforce development is also important. Where do we find that talent pool? Are we invested in academia so we can bring up new talent, and they can enter the marketplace with some tangible experience?
We want to encourage any and all AM owners and operators to become involved in AMUG. We will continue to educate and advance the development and adoption of additive manufacturing. It is a great field to be in and a wonderful community to be a part of!
The next AMUG Conference will take place in Chicago, March 10-14, 2024.