See how MFG Works!
See how MFG Works!
past speakers | 2024 coming soon
Ryan Jenkins, CSP is a Wall Street Journal bestselling leadership author on the topics of team connection, generational differences, and the future of work. His latest book is Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All In. Ryan’s thought leadership has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Fortune, and CNBC. For over a decade as a speaker and consultant, he has helped hundreds of the world’s leading organizations like Salesforce, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, State Farm, and John Deere. He is also Partner at WorkRivet.com, a technology platform that facilitates meaningful one-on-one connections across multi-generational teams. Ryan lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, three children, and yellow Labrador. Learn more at RyanJenkins.com.
President and CEO, New Century Careers
Neil is the current President and CEO of New Century Careers, a nonprofit workforce development agency located in the Southside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA. He has been actively employed in manufacturing for over 3 decades and earned entry into the industry after serving two registered apprenticeships with Oberg Industries. From his experiences, he wishes to inspire the next generation of passionate workforce technicians.
Operations Manager, SKC Inc.
Dan Baldauff started his career at SKC in 2010 as an Electrical Engineer working on the team that was responsible for the development of SKC’s latest line of AirChek sample pumps. Dan recently moved into the role of Operations Manager, and is now responsible for the oversight of manufacturing, warehousing, and maintenance at SKC.
Christopher H. Barlow
Director of Corporate Engagement & Career Managment, Joseph M. Katz School of Business, Univery of Pittsburgh
Christopher Barlow is the Director of Corporate Engagement & Career Management at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). As a department lead, he works to create value-added partnerships between the university, corporations and other community-based partners such as governments, associations, and NGOs. Specifically, Christopher supports to promote the talent pool graduating from Katz, to build industry ecosystems, and to create and manage skill
development programs. Since joining Pitt he has introduced and co-organized new active skill
development programs such as the Super Analytics Challenge, the Bridge Program, and the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Advisory Fellowship (PA-MAF) and the Pennsylvania Robotics & Technology Fellowship (PA-RTF). Prior to joining Pitt, he served as an executive with Thomson Reuters in Washington D.C. for more than 10 years working in marketing leadership, strategic relations, and project management roles. He promoted land administration and property tax solutions for governments worldwide. Prior to Thomson Reuters, he worked in global marketing for Esri Inc, a geographic information system (GIS) software corporation headquartered in Redlands, CA. Christopher had also worked in the Asia Pacific region for more than eight years, including in China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Mongolia on land information systems and mapping projects.
This includes serving as a Project lead for a USTDA project in Anhui Province, China. He began his career in Shanghai, China, working in marketing including with Hewitt Associates (now AON). He received his M.B.A. and also M.A. in geography from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo. He also holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies with minors in Chinese language, economics, political science, and geography from Western Washington University.
Senior Director of Membership Development and Engagement
Sabrina Bogus is responsible for the management and administration of Vibrant Pittsburgh’s strategic partnerships and all aspects of member relations. Sabrina joins Vibrant Pittsburgh as a seasoned nonprofit director with 10+ years of expertise in leading a team to achieve ambitious organizational goals. Her background spans leadership and personnel management, strategic membership planning and growth, and event production. She is passionate about ensuring safe, positive, and meaningful experiences for any client or stakeholder of an organization, celebrating what each individual brings to the team.
Laura S. Buck
Director of People and Culture, MECCO
Laura is a diverse well-rounded leader who takes great pride in her nearly thirty year Human Resources career coupled with extensive operations and finance experience bringing strong competencies at the strategic and tactical levels. With an education that includes a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communications and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Geneva College, a MBA from Robert Morris University and professional certifications from the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association (PHRA) and Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) as a SHRM-CP, Laura demonstrates the ability to develop the best in each employee while meeting the needs of the organization in its entirety. Laura considers herself a business woman first and has worked within the manufacturing realm for the vast majority of her career, including a nearly twenty year role as Vice President of Human Resources for a 650+ employee manufacturer. Her current focus at MECCO is as her title depicts, its People and Culture, with an ultimate vision of growing employee engagement, empowerment, overall work and goal ownership with the associated contribution to professional and personal growth making MECCO an employer of choice and an overall motivating team to belong!
External Affairs Coordinator, The Mentorship Academy
Zion was hired on by CNX through the Mentorship Academy as the External Affairs Coordinator. Prior to CNX she was a High School Student practicing photography. She went through the Academy showing great work ethic & passion for her craft. In her role today, Zion uses her creative & people skills to manage CNX’s involvement in communities.
Senior Manager, Government Relations, Aurora
Matt joined Aurora 2 years ago following a 15 year career working in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Matt handles public policy issues in Pennsylvania and the east coast while helping to lead efforts on workforce and job innovation.
Director of Corporate Complliance, Oberg
Mr. Gregory Chambers is the Director of Corporate Compliance at Oberg Industries where he is responsible for the export control, environmental, health and safety programs in the corporation. He is also the Board Chairman of the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, Board Chairman of New Century Careers, and serves on the US Department of Commerce District Export Council of Western PA and the Pennsylvania Apprenticeship and Training Council. Previously he served on the US Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship and was President of the American Apprenticeship Round Table. He is a recipient of the National Tooling and Machining Association’s William E Hardman Award for Excellence in Training for his strong support and active participation in structured training for the precision custom manufacturing industry.
Sales Manager, MECCO
Long before Scott Cunningham became Sales Manager for MECCO, he was well-versed in solving problems for manufacturers across a wide range of industries. Today, he manages a team of sales engineers while overseeing the customer experience and application teams. Scott relies on his 21 years of experience to help customers develop and implement continuous improvement solutions for traceability, branding, and product identification – with a balance of technical feasibility and commercial viability. As a leader, he thrives on mentoring his team to achieve their full potential
Training Director / Special Project Manager, Heartland Fabrication
Fred is a graduate of Titusville High School in Titusville, a US Navy Veteran and earned a BS degree from Penn State University. He has over 10 years of technical welding sales experience before moving over to manufacturing in 2002. He has been at Heartland Fabrication since 2009, and has held the positions of Purchasing Manager, Quality Manager and Engineering before becoming the Training Manager in 2019.
Contract Administration Manager/Workforce Development, Martin-Baker America, Inc.
After spending a few years at 3 area manufacturers, Brian has been employed at Martin-Baker America, Inc. for nearly the past 19 years. He has served the organization in the capacities of Buyer, Production Planner, Quality Planner, Contract Administrator, and Contract Administration Manager. In his current role as Contract Administration Manager, he is responsible for six Contracts personnel, the IT Department consisting of four employees and the company secretary. Furthermore, he is also responsible for workforce development and company culture. He is a proponent, and implementer of servant leadership within Martin-Baker and in his personal life. He has successfully developed and mentored several employees at Martin-Baker who have been promoted and are now developing and mentoring others within the organization.
Jessica Gardner is a passionate, results oriented Human Resources Manager for General Carbide Corporation. With over 17 years of HR Management experience Jessica provides a strong background in management, recruitment, retention, change management, compensation, labor relations, policy creation and implementation, which has resulted in a strong relationship with those she works with. She is exceptionally strong in employee selection, talent management, organizational development, public speaking and training. One of Jessica’s biggest passions is the workforce of the future and bridging the gap between education and workforce. At General Carbide she is working diligently with the HR team and managers to create avenues for students to experience and shadow a day in the life of manufacturing. She believes in meeting students where they are and showing them the success stories of manufacturing careers so they can have enough information as they make crucial decisions for their futures.
John S. Goberish
In John’s role as Dean, Workforce and Continuing Education, he provides leadership for planning, developing, and revising workforce and continuing education programs and for regional business and economic development activities of the College by establishing a creative, entrepreneurial environment in which people and businesses are served, resources are managed, and programs are developed to meet constituency needs. He also works closely with external agencies, organizations, businesses, industries, and educational entities to develop partnerships/articulation agreements enhancing student success. He serves as a vice chair of the Southwest Corner Workforce Development Board and is a member of the Beaver County Quality Education Council, Beaver County Energy and Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Junior Achievement – Beaver County Advisory Board, and Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania (WEDnetPA) Executive Committee.
Katie joined DMI Companies in 2012 with more than 15 years of experience in Workforce Development. As Workforce Development Manager, her primary objective is to develop strategic hiring and training solutions that will continue to provide a workforce with the skills necessary to remain competitive and grow profitably in today’s advanced manufacturing economy. Towards this end, Katie develops and oversees incumbent employee development as well as works with schools to attract and prepare the workforce of the future. Katie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and a Master’s Degree in Education.
Master Builders Association of Western Pa (MBA)
Program Director- Gizmology, Deeplocal/Gizmology
Kirk Holbrook began his career in community service in 2001, working within inner-city after-school programs in the Hill District, Homewood and other areas of Allegheny County, where he enjoyed more than a decade in youth programming. Later, Mr. Holbrook served as an educational advocate and in state government as a district office Chief of Staff for State Representative Jake Wheatley, before moving to the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 as director of the Community Engagement Center [CEC] in the Hill District. Currently, Kirk Holbrook serves as Program Director of Gizmology, a racial equity initiative within Deeplocal’s global creative technology company based in Pittsburgh, working to eliminate barriers for Pittsburgh’s Black and underrepresented communities in technology.
CEO Progress City / President Autism Employment Network, Progress City/Autism Employment Network
Bryan’s background spans various leadership roles in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. His passion for process improvement and innovation led him to found Progress City in 2017 as a consulting firm dedicated to solving complex organizational challenges for small businesses and nonprofits through innovation and efficiency. Since 2019 Bryan has been working to innovate the employment space for individuals with autism and has founded the Autism Employment Network a nonprofit focused on these efforts, as well as SpectroDolce Confectionery and Spectrum Fudge Co. to serve as autism inclusive work experiences. Bryan is also a certified Practitioner and Trainer for Predictive Index, a tool used to determine motivational needs and behaviors for individuals and teams.
Manager, Communications, ATI
Stephanie Laurenza is a communications professional at ATI, a $3.8 billion global producer of high performance materials and solutions for the global aerospace and defense markets, and critical applications in electronics, medical and specialty energy. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Carlow University, and earned her Master’s Degree in Communications and MBA from Point Park University.
Talk to her about talking – seriously! And if that doesn’t work, try: writing, reading, reality TV, red wine and / or cats.
Chief Business Officer, SKC Inc.
SLisa’s grandfather started SKC back in 1962. She has been around SKC her entire life, but began her professional career here 10 years ago in the purchasing department. Lisa is now a member of the Board of Directors and recently transitioned to the role of Chief Business Officer.
Disability Advocate, East Suburban Citizen Advocacy
Linda Leavy has been a disability advocate with East Suburban Citizen Advocacy (ESCA) since2018 and fills an essential role providing advocacy and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She had previous personal experience in advocacy as she navigated early intervention, special education services and post-secondary opportunities for her own child. Linda has a passion for transition age students as it relates to ongoing education and employment opportunities. Before joining ESCA, Linda served as an inclusion consultant for Include Me From the Start. Through this Pennsylvania Department of Education initiative, she provided consultative services between school district personnel and families of students with disabilities to support inclusive education. Prior to her advocacy work her professional experience includes both pharmaceutical and media sales.
Stephen B. Leonard
Operations & Programming Manager, Digital Foundry | Penn State New Kensington
Steve has been a practicing educator, engineer, industrial designer, and inventor for over 35 years. He has worked in a variety of industries including industrial equipment, commercial vehicles, aerospace, defense, children’s toys, medical/surgical equipment, and fast-moving consumer products. He is a founding member of the Digital Foundry and is responsible for workforce education strategy, programming development, facilitation, training and outreach. He was an adjunct professor for six years at Carnegie Mellon University for the Masters of Integrated Innovation for Products and Services teaching design for manufacturing. He is a recently selected board member for NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) and has served as Vice President on the board for the PDMA Pittsburgh Chapter (Product Development Management Association). Steve is passionate about helping the workforce and community learn new skills and competencies around digital technologies in product design and manufacturing.
Managing Director of Education, WQED
Gina Masciola is the Managing Director of Education at WQED. Gina began her career as a classroom teacher/early learning consultant for Head Start. Gina served with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit for 15 years and as an early learning consultant, Gina worked closely with parents and childcare providers. Gina’s classroom experience has been diverse taking her from early intervention classrooms to high school child development programs. Gina holds a B.S. in Child Development and Family Relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and has done postgraduate study in Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention at The University of Pittsburgh. She holds a PA instructional certificate in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten education. Since joining the education team, Gina has managed and created several projects including the WQED Writers Contest, Inquire Within, IQ Smartparent, WQED SmartSchools, IQ Kids Radio, and Musical Kids. Gina has been invited to speak about her work with children and media at both the local and national level. Gina is currently a member of the Remake Learning Council, serving on the AIU3 Head Start Policy Council, Community Champion for The Pittsburgh Study, board member of Crafton Heights Community Pre-school, and Vice-Chairman for the non-profit organization Books Bridge Hope.
Melissa brings over 14 years of a diverse background that has prepared her to serve as a resourceful independent consultant in the Pittsburgh area. She combines her previous experience in social work, marketing, and community outreach with previous skills as Founder and CEO of Metamorphosis, her own Wellness Company, to serve a wide range of people and communities.
Doug has run operations at RE2 Inc and Sarcos for the past 13 years. In this role, he is responsible for ensuring all aspects of company operations run efficiently and effectively. Doug is passionate about understanding data trends and exploring creative approaches to find more effective ways of addressing challenging areas.
Customer Support Associate, Intervala, LLC
Alyson Proud joined Intervala in 2021 and serves as a customer support associate, whose primary role is to support the program management team to ensure customer satisfaction is met. Her duties include data entry, generating material reports and assisting with communication between departments to complete product delivery. Alyson also established the company’s first Transition to Work program, collaborating with Clelian Heights School of Greensburg. This program provides an opportunity for exceptional students to experience a variety of work environments by partnering with businesses in the community.
Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, Rhabit Analytics
Alexander holds a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s from the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Germany. Before founding Rhabit, Alexander worked in HR consulting, where he gained a profound understanding of the needs and expectations of Talent Leaders. He also worked in Research & Development, developing products that are scientifically sound while delivering an excellent experience to employees and HR users alike. He now uses his expertise in Industrial/Organizational Psychology to ensure that Rhabit uses sound measurement and solidly rests on scientific principles.
Human Resources Specialist, Kurt J. Lesker Company
Britney Short is a human resources specialist with expertise in corporate wellness and sustainability, new employee onboarding, and learning management. I am passionate about promoting employee well-being and engagement while driving sustainable business practices. Outside of work, I enjoy practicing yoga, gardening, and spending time with my family at the lake.
Director of Quality & Operations, FS-Elliott Co. LLC.
John Sinclair is Director of Quality & Operations at FS-Elliott Co. LLC. located in Export, Pennsylvania. John has been in the manufacturing field for the last 19 years. He has held multiple positions over this time period starting out his career as a production electrician, held leadership roles such as assembly and test supervisor as well as machine shop supervisor, Managed the entire manufacturing team, working up to his current roles and responsibilities as Director. Both Quality and efficiency of production are key focuses in his current role, customer satisfaction is the end result.
Arif Sirinterlikci, Ph.D., CMfgE
University Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, Robert Morris University
Arif Sirinterlikci is a University Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Robert Morris University (RMU) School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (SEMS). He holds BS and MS degrees, both in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey and his PhD is in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Ohio State University. He has also been a Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE), awarded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), since 2016. He is one of the original grant writers of the winning proposal/founders of the U.S. Government’s America Makes Institute. His teaching and research interests lie in 3D scanning, 3D printing and additive manufacturing, product design and development including biomedical device development, industrial automation and robotics including mixed reality (MR) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, computer-aided engineering (CAE) in manufacturing processes, and entertainment technology. Sirinterlikci has over 130 conference papers and publications, trade and scientific journal articles, and book chapters to his record. He is a teaching professor who tries to follow the teacher/scholar model by engaging his students in his research and bringing his research to his classroom.
Terrance D. Smith
Executive Director, Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence, St. Vincent College
Terrance D. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Management in the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. In addition to directing the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence (MSMOE) program, Dr. Smith is also the Executive Director of the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence (KCOE) program. Dr. Smith has a military background and served 12 years in the U.S. Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2), specializing in logistics management, strategic planning, and operations management. He completed 3 combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning multiple medals, including the Meritorious Service, Army Commendation, and Army Achievement medals.
Dr. Smith’s research interests include employee engagement, employee turnover, continuous improvement, and organizational leadership. He has co-authored published articles in the Journal of Leadership and Management and the Journal of Management for Global Sustainability. He has also presented at the Society for Advancement of Management International Conference, and for the Westmoreland County Leadership Westmoreland Program. Dr. Smith has also served as an Assistant and Head Coach of the men’s basketball program. He was a two-time NAIA All-American for the bearcats, ranks as the 2 nd all-time leading scorer in school history, and was elected to the Saint Vincent College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.
Vice President, True Position, Inc.
Jason is the third generation involved in manufacturing with True Position, Inc. After an upbringing in and around the machine shop, he earned a degree with the University of Pittsburgh Business School. He has relied on those experiences for the last 15 years while working in the front office of TPI.
Managing Director of Corporate Support, WQED
Sharon leads corporate funding efforts for WQED programming and education initiatives. She has an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business and a B.A. from Allegheny College. Professional background in publishing and media includes the Pittsburgh Business Times and Technology Publishing Co.
In 2018, Sharon initiated WQED’s Future Jobs program and is currently leading the project, WQED’s highest priority initiative for 2023. Future Jobs serves to raise awareness about high-demand career opportunities in our region.
As Workforce Development Manager at Tooling U-SME, Greg is responsible for leading the team that supports Tooling U-SMEs 900+ partner network, to include: Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, Career & Technical High Schools, Community & Technical Colleges, Universities, Manufacturing Associations, Workforce & Economic Development Agencies, and Community Based Organizations. This partner network collaborates to provide learning solutions that addresses the skills gap in manufacturing by filling the talent pipeline and continuing to develop the incumbent workforce.
Greg has over 26 years of workforce development experience as a top performer at New Horizons CLC, Cuyahoga Community College, Contract Training Edge LLC, & Tooling U-SME. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Toledo, is a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and a Certified DiSC Facilitator and serves on the Board of Directors at the Uniquely Abled Project/Academy. Greg is passionate about helping both individuals and manufacturers succeed by bringing stakeholders together to create local talent ecosystems.
CEO, LEVEL: Equity Building
Jason has over 20 years experience working in government, private, and nonprofit sectors; focusing on real estate development, fundraising, strategic planning, and the implementation of projects and initiatives.
Michael J Ulrick, PhD
He received his PhD in Management (Organizational Behavior focus) from the University of Cincinnati. His MBA (focused in Human Resources Management) and MS (in Leadership and Business Ethics) are both from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting with Management and English minors is from Saint Vincent College. Dr. Urick has taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, communication, conflict, organizational culture, operations, and research methods. His research has been widely cited in academic publications as well as in news media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. Professionally, Urick has served on the boards of ISM-Pittsburgh (in various roles including President) and the Westmoreland Arts and Heritage Festival (a top-rated community event). He has also served on the Westmoreland Human Resources Association (a regional SHRM chapter) board in various positions including Vice President. Prior to academia, Urick worked in a variety of roles related to auditing, utilities, environmental issues, and training and development. Through these experiences, Dr. Urick became fascinated with interactions in the workplace and how they might be improved which has influenced his academic career.
Award-winning strategist and storyteller for visionary companies and organizations looking to make a difference in the way we live, work, & connect. When we make our stories visible, we allow people to find similarities and build an authentic connection.
In 2018, Sharon initiated WQED’s Future Jobs program and is currently leading the project, WQED’s highest priority initiative for 2023. Future Jobs serves to raise awareness about high-demand career opportunities in our region.