Today marked official Day One of the Management Briefing Seminars (MBS) – traditionally a mid-year hot spot in Traverse City where automotive executives, journalists, communications professionals (and many times their significant others) flock to discuss trends, issues and what lies ahead for the industry. As most other conferences, MBS took a hit during the automotive downturn, but as the industry keeps moving forward, attendance, morale and participation of high-level executives seems to be improving, as well.

I arrived late Sunday and things were quiet, but people started filling in by Monday morning. Some might say that day one of the conference is a “play hooky day.” Boring topics, too technical, none of the hard-hitting OEM execs have arrived yet, everyone just wants to golf and party, etc. But I'm saying, don't knock it until you try it. I'm here with a number of Airfoil clients, namely Achates Power, Altair Engineering (CMO Jeff Brennan is speaking), Faurecia and NVIDIA, and I've had the opportunity to sit in on a few sessions and reconnect with new and old media and PR friends.

There are some significant topics being discussed at the conference on this Monday, believe it or not. Looking out the windows, some of the attendees and journalists might be pining for the beautiful outdoors and miles of golf tees just waiting to be played. But inside, executives from OEMs like BMW, GM and VW, and technology experts from companies like Altair, Robert Bosch and Honeywell, are coming together to improve manufacturing excellence, productivity, vehicle weight and fuel economy. All of the key outlets are reporting on their conversations, via show dailies, online and through social media – reporter twitter handles for outlets from Ward's, Plastics News, WSJ, Detroit News and others have been running hot all day, for example. Check them out — they and the speakers have a lot of value to share. Look back to the Airfoil blog for more on MBS (#mbs2011) throughout the week.

— Jenn Korail is an account supervisor at Airfoil Public Relations, a high tech PR agency with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley.