Compiled By Gina Protopapa The Assn. for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) will hold its annual conference Oct. 8-12 in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The week-long conference will have a strong focus on lean practices in operational and supply-chain management. The program also will explore how information technology is forcing companies to change their practices, policies, and processes. The conference will feature a half-day session with Tom Peters, author of several management books including The Circle of Innovation: You Can't Shrink Your Way to Greatness (1997, Knopf). Other keynote speakers include Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the 2001 NCAA national champion Duke University basketball team and author of Leading With the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies of Basketball, Business and Life (2000, Warner Books), and Donna Shirley, manager of the NASA Mars exploration program. In addition, the conference will feature plant tours and visits to more than a dozen company locations in the Raleigh-Durham area, including Deere & Co. and IBM Corp. For more information visit the AME Web site. The AME is based in Wheeling, Ill.