Second Annual Women in Manufacturing Summit, Southern California

CAI President Kusum Kavia offered valuable tips to attendees on how to market their products and services to an international clientele as a speaker on the panel titled Marketing for Manufacturers & Exporting for Growth.

This was one of five panels that formed a crucial segment at the Second Annual Inland Empire Women in Manufacturing (IEWiM) business expo and job fair at the San Bernardino International Airport May 10, 2019 (last month).

The event was organized by the IE WiM, an organization based in Southern California’s Inland Empire, where Combustion Associates, Inc. (CAI) is headquartered. IE is made up of 52 cities and a wide manufacturing and supply chain base. IE WiM’s aim is to unify and diversify the Inland Empire workforce by inspiring the next generation of women to choose manufacturing and technology/engineering as career paths.

Ms. Kavia is the co-founder of CAI, an engineering and manufacturing company that specializes in 1 MW to 12 MW power generation packages. She shared her insights, drawn from 28 years in the business.

“The advantages of California exports is that 90% of the customers are outside of the U.S. and by exporting, you are growing your business, gaining new customers and tapping into the vast market potential” she said.

On the other hand, the disadvantages are uncertainty, risk of unknown factors, she added, including region, culture, language, and unfamiliar laws, rules and regulations.

When asked to give advice to women in the manufacturing industry, Ms. Kavia offered the following pointers:

  • Research your market
  • Meet with US commercial services
  • Write a business plan and take small action each day to work your plan
  • Seek mentors
  • Remember: Action kills fear. Taking an imperfect step forward is better than not taking a step at all

More than 700 attendees, women making up nearly 80 percent of them, attended. Numerous booths, including CAI’s, filled the expo area. California State Assemblywoman Sabrina Cervantes who represents the IE region was the keynote speaker. Government officials from several IE cities and counties, and business leaders attended and addressed the gathering. Most were attired in purple, the theme color of the event.