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Day 1 - Tuesday, Feb. 7th

Panel Discussion

11:00 AM - NOON


Session Track Sponsor

Panel Discussion: Ideas and New Perspectives for Workforce Solutions

The workforce shortage of the past couple of years has affected every business and industry – and this challenge is not going away anytime soon.  There are several possible solution, many of which approach the problem from a different or new perspective.  Join us as we dive into 3 alternative methods to addressing workforce challenges you may never heard of before.  They might just fill those last few open positions on your job board!


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Elishia Carrillo, Solutions Consultant | Workforge

   Elishia Carrillo is an accomplished professional in international business with a record of success in the animal health sector. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmaceuticals, pet food, and livestock feed additives, has enabled her to develop innovative solutions to key problems, creating tangible results for her clients. On a personal level, Elishia is the proud mother of three boys, and grandmother of six grandkids. To balance her career, Elishia loves to travel with her husband to explore different cultures and taste exotic cuisines. Together, they are self-described ‘foodies’, always looking for unique culinary experiences.



Jared Wehde, General Manager - St. Louis Market | Veryable

   Jared Wehde launched Veryable’s Greater St Louis market in the Fall of 2021. Over the course of the market’s first full year, they’ve made a $14.6m economic impact and added 208,000+ labor hours to Greater St Louis, which are both on pace to 3x in 2023. Prior to Veryable, Jared was first an engineer before spending most of his career as a marketing and business development manager in the Oil & Gas industry for a large midstream logistics company.

   Jared holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University along with a MS in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Sarah Moore, Senior Lead - Community Development | MO Office of Workforce Development

   Moore brings fifteen years of higher education experience with a focus on the adult learner and how they approach their own career development utilizing the power of skill recognition. With the comfort and ability to reach out to others--sharing the goals of an institution—she has created many opportunities for individuals to come together, learn, and gain confidence in their own journeys.  

   Prior to her current position Moore was a Career Development Specialist for the University of Central Oklahoma’s Career Development Center. At the University she sat on numerous committees re-engaging the campus to the needs of staff, faculty, and students. Moore recognizes the value in creating engaging environments for stakeholders to honestly present their needs, develop solutions, and follow-through energetically over time.

   Moore received a Master of Education in Adult Education from the University of Central Oklahoma in December of 2018. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.  

   After spending four years in Columbia, Missouri, followed by ten years in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma—The Moore Family is thrilled to call the Kansas City area “home”. 

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Trace Laughery, Apprenticeship & Training Rep. | US Dept. of Labor

Trace Laughery recently assumed the duties as Missouri State Director of Apprenticeship on January 01, 2023, after serving 4 years as a USDOL Apprenticeship & Training Representative covering Southwest Missouri.

With 6 years experience in Human Resources as a Certified Professional of Human Resources (PHR) and 

24 years’ experience on active duty with the Missouri Army National Guard, including 10 years as a Production Recruiting and 4 years as a Recruiting District Supervisor, Trace bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and unique perspective to this panel discussion and the Apprenticeship programs that are in place to support the skilling of tomorrows workforce.

Trace has also served 3 years as an Adjunct Professor with Park University teaching human resources and leadership/team building.

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Shelle Jacobs, Division Deputy Director - Missouri One Start | MO Department of Economic Development

   Shelle Jacobs serves as the Division Deputy Director for Missouri One Start, a division of the Department of Economic Development. Missouri One Start provides customized workforce recruitment and training services to eligible companies in Missouri. Shelle enjoys working with new and existing Missouri businesses to overcome workforce challenges in order to maximize productivity.

Employee Engagement

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Unveiling the Future of Manufacturing: Tools to Tackle the Critical Talent Shortage

The manufacturing industry continues to face critical talent shortages. Unfortunately, traditional methods of employee recruitment, training and development, and retention can longer be counted on to deliver the labor force required to meet, and exceed, your organizations strategic objectives. 


To remain competitive, organizations are being forced to adapt their approach and processes. In this session we’ll look at real world tools manufacturers are using to get outcomes that move the needle:

  • Drive 60% decrease in employee “Time to Productivity”

  • Zero down-time for employee training

  • Decrease turnover through the upskilling of Supervisors

  • Automate the tracking of training, compliance reporting, and risk mitigation using a single system


Keep your company a step ahead!

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Lute Atieh, Director of Business Development | Workforge

   Lute Atieh is the founder and Director of Training Solutions and Development with Workforge. With over 20 years of experience in higher education and training, Lute was co-founder of the first 100% online school to be approved and accredited in the State of Missouri (2001). During this time he recognized that higher education was overlooking a key demographic of non-college bound skills and trade learners. 
   Workforge is a training and retention strategy company that develops state-of-the-art personalized skills content and training platforms to reduce the cost and time of training and turnover while bolstering the end-user’s skills toolbox. 
   Lute holds a Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems and a Master’s in Business Administration. He was appointed to the Missouri Proprietary School Advisory Committee in 2017 and was elected to the St. Joseph, Missouri School Board of Directors in April 2018. 
   Lute Atieh resides in St Joseph Missouri with his 3 year old son Ari where they frequently enjoy general aviation trips throughout the Midwest. Lute holds a private pilot license that he uses to provide first plane rides for kids through a nationwide non-profit called EAA Young Eagles.

Attract, Recruit, Engage

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

How to More Effectively Attract, Recruit and Engage Critical Talent in an Unprecedented(ly) Unfavorable Talent Market

Has your organization experienced struggles when it comes to attracting or retaining talent? Join workforce experts for their insights into how today’s manufacturing organizations can best attract, retain, and engage talent across all levels of the organization. Attendees will walk away with practical, applicable tips that can be put into practice immediately to help your organization more effectively recruit, onboard, and retain the talent you need to succeed. 

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Paige Oxendine, Consultant | Habitat Communication & Culture

   Paige Oxendine is a Consultant with Habitat Communication & Culture, where she works closely with clients to understand their unique challenges and deliver solutions that make lasting, positive changes. Before joining Habitat, she spent nearly a decade in economic development and workforce development roles, working with organizations of all sizes and across multiple industries. She is a passionate advocate for organizations, managers, and teams and believes deeply in the power of businesses to be a force for good in the world. 

   Oxendine is an active member of the Springfield community and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Springfield-Branson National Airport in addition to roles on CoxHealth’s Young Professional Council and the City of Springfield’s Forward SGF Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee. She is a graduate of Missouri State University where she earned degrees in Public Relations and Socio-Political Communication.


Mindy McCombs, Co-Founder & VP | Impact Recruiting Partners

   Mindy is an innovative, result-driven leader with a skilled and practiced background in human resources, EHS, manufacturing, and project management.  Over her career, Mindy has proven that she has a special ability in making things better for both employer and employee when it comes to hiring.  If you have worked with Mindy, you know she emphasizes always staying connected and wishing the best for her work family!

   Her comprehensive background and experienced knowledge for creating effective and instrumental improvement of employee relations, safety, delivery, costs and team member performance in large and mid-size operations give her the edge in finding the right candidate for any role.

   In her free time, Mindy enjoys spending quality time with family, traveling, and enjoying her grandkids every chance she gets!


Brad Coy, Co-Founder & VP | Impact Recruiting Partners

   Throughout Brad’s career, he has been fortunate to work across many industries and operations specializing in Procurement & Supply Chain.  This wide range of experience gives him an in-depth view of the job market and the background and knowledge to strategically match prospective candidates to the right opportunity. Brad’s passion is to positively impact lives by connecting the most experienced and qualified candidates with the best opportunities and helping all of his clients reach their goals.

   Prior to opening Impact Recruiting Partners, Brad acquired 13 years of in-role experiences and talent acquisition with companies in various industries, including manufacturing, aerospace, defense, and building products.

   In his free time, Brad enjoys spending quality time with his wife and kids.  He is a proud graduate and supporter of Missouri State University, and also spends his time volunteering in various way, including the Leadership Springfield Board of Directors, MSU Alumni Association Board of Directors and supporting MSU Athletics, especially the Lady Bears Basketball team!  Go Bears!

Day 2 - Wednesday, Feb. 8th

Education's Role

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Skilling the Next Workforce - EDUCATION's Role

Manufacturers all over are hollaring for a "skilled" workforce. In Missouri, we are seeing huge investments being made to deliver on that need. Hear from three Missouri educational institutions on their commitments in supporting the future of manufacturing and the critical need for a collaborative spirit, working manufacturers in providing the programs and certifications that will help provide skilled solutions to this workforce challenge - educators and manufacturers working together for a strong manufacturing future.


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Deb Volzer, Governments and Workforce Partnerships | SME

   Deb leads the national and state strategies to increase the reach and impact of ongoing efforts as well as future aspirations in advancing SME’s workforce development goals. Deb has over 15 years of experience working with national, state, and local government agencies to align workforce needs, and over 25 years working with higher education in identifying, aligning, and developing relevant programming, with a focus on serving historically resilient populations.  Prior to joining SME, Volzer worked with global organizations including Wiley and Pearson and held administrative and teaching positions at the Ohio Board of Regents (OLN), the Ohio State University, Franklin University and Ohio Dominican University. Volzer holds degree from the University of Kansas, the Ohio State University and Yale University.



Robert Randolph, Exec. Director - Center for Advanced Manufacturing | OTC

   Robert Randolph joined Ozarks Technical Community College as the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in June of 2019. He oversees the implementation of the new technical education facility and will manage its operations once it opens in August of 2022. The center will be used to train students in mechatronics, 3-D printing, stainless steel production and precision manufacturing.

   Mr. Randolph came to OTC after spending nearly seven years at CNH Industrial Reman in Springfield, where he was in charge of the manufacturing engineering, maintenance and salvage departments. Starting with just one staff member, he grew his team to more than 20 people. His team increased the efficiency of the company while developing sustainable work practices. Prior to CNH Reman, he worked as a manufacturing engineer at Tuthill Vacuum and Blower Systems in Springfield. He was also a project engineer for Yarbrough Industries.

   A Springfield native, Mr. Randolph earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Missouri State University. He also earned a master’s in project management from MSU. While earning his master’s degree, he completed a graduate assistantship during which he taught lab classes and handled administrative duties.

   Mr. Randolph is married to his wife, Jeri, and they have two children, Claire and Nolan. They currently reside in Miller.


Dr. Richard Billo, Director - Kummer Institute Center for Advanced MFG | Missouri S&T

   Dr. Richard Billo is the founding Director of the Kummer Institute Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Missouri S&T. Previously, Dr. Billo served as associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Notre Dame.

   Dr. Billo is overseeing the implementation of the new center’s mission, vision and strategic plan - to develop a nationally recognized manufacturing center that fosters collaboration between the classroom and the factory floor. Billo will also be responsible for leveraging the breadth of capabilities and expertise among S&T’s faculty in order to strengthen the collaboration with several university research centers and industrial consortia in the field of advanced manufacturing. The Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be house in S&T’s Missouri Protoplex, phase I, and will serve as the anchor building for Missouri S&T’s planned Manufacturing and Technology Innovation Campus.


Shannon Brueggemann, Vice President for Education | Ranken Technical College

   Shannon Brueggemann is Vice President for Education at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as serves as the school’s Chief Academic Officer and Accreditation Liaison Officer with the Higher Education Committee.

   Ranken Technical College prides itself on preparing their graduates through extensive, practical experience – highly trained and fully equipped for successful careers. Students spend at least three hours in a lab or shop setting for every hour in classroom instruction.

   Shannon sits on several advisory committees for St. Louis area organizations including the St. Louis Public Schools CTE Advisory Board and the St. Charles County Education Committee.

Employer's Role

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Skilling the Next Workforce - EMPLOYER's Role

1,000 Job Placements and Growing!  Boeing and St. Louis Community College's Boeing Pre-Employment Training Program.

Learn more about the collaborative design and development of a highly needed advanced manufacturing program established to meet area workforce needs.  We’ll be discussing Boeing’s initial need, company and community college response, impact and outcomes, and lessons learned.  

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Gerald Hager, Midwest Regional Manager - PST | Boeing

   Gerald Hager is a Marine Corps Veteran with over 23 years in the military aviation field.  His journey started in 1999 as an Aircraft Electrician/Avionics Technician on CH-53D helicopters in the Marine Corps.  Gerald then transitioned to Boeing as an F-15 Electrical Mechanic at the St. Louis Delivery Center.  He was promoted to the Delivery Center Technical Training Team as a technical training instructor for the F-15, F/A-18, T-X and P-8A, working his way up to the Lead Instructor position.  Gerald has spent the last 5 years serving as the Midwest Regional Manager for Boeing Production System Training (PST).


Becky Epps, Manager - Center for Workforce Innovation | St. Louis Community College

   Becky has twenty plus years’ experience managing state and federal training grants with the college. In her role as manager of the Center for Workforce Innovation, Becky oversees several technical training programs including HVAC, Industrial Maintenance, Automated Controls, Certified Welding, the Boeing Pre-employment Training Program. She manages STLCC’s portion of a state-wide Department of Labor consortium grant called the Missouri Apprenticeships in Manufacturing Programs Grant (MoAMP) focused on creating and expanding apprenticeships. 

   Becky also sits on the board of the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, a nation-wide network of higher education and industry-led strategic partner resources that advocates, advises, and promotes the use of advanced technology applications to enhance economic and workforce development programs and services.

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