Panelists Announced for Virtual MGA Manufacturing Talent Event

As the state continues to celebrate the $105-billion manufacturing industry in Michigan, the first of several virtual events marking the occasion is slated for this week, happening tomorrow, Tuesday October 6th from 11am until noon.

The Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA) has invited small manufacturers from all across the state to take part in the series of events being hosted during Michigan Manufacturing month.

The first event of the series, titled “Attracting and Retaining Talent,” will be hosted virtually tomorrow, October 6th beginning at 11 am. In that roundtable discussion, manufacturers will hear about best practices in talent acquisition from experts and other manufacturers. Retention best practices will also be discussed.

The discussion will be led by Lily Brewer, Executive Director of Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren. Lily has been driving change in the workforce space for roughly 20 years and is directly responsible for the operations of a regional workforce development organization headquartered in Benton Harbor. She oversees multiple programs, including Benton Harbor YouthBuild, Region Eight Offender Success, Adult Education and the Michigan Works! Bridge Academy.

Panelists for the first event in the series include:

  • Ellington Ellis is the Co-Founder of Global Battery Solutions in Holland. Global Battery Solutions focuses on providing innovative technology and battery remanufacturing while sharing creative technologies with their customers thereby increasing their bottom line. He has a passion for innovating, developing and delivering better solutions.
  • Ken Flowers, Ph.D. is the Dean of Career & Workforce Education at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor. Ken has more than 20 years of accomplishment in development and administration of academic programs, services, and policies to advance quality learning. He is a passionate administrative executive successful in directing academic programs and services to meet organizational and student needs, and building dedicated teams focused on quality and service.
  • Sandra Gaddy is the CEO at the Women’s Resource Center in Greater Grand Rapids. She is a passionate and strategic leader with over 20 years of leadership experience, brings extensive expertise in team development, strategic planning, forming collaborative partnerships and fundraising. Gaddy became chief executive officer of the Women’s Resource Center, an organization which empowers and educates women to achieve greater economic independence through meaningful employment, in March 2017.
  • Derek Knuth is the Director of Offender Services at Michigan Works! Berrien, Cass, Van Buren in Benton Harbor. He oversees the Offender Success Program that increases public safety by reducing the regional, offender return-to-prison rate through an employment-focused plan of services and supervision. Under his leadership, the program has served over 2,700 returning citizens since 2017.

The remaining three events cover a variety of topics including Automation and Industry 4.0, Small Manufacturers Voice in Lansing and Managing a Multi-Generational Workforce. The events are available at no cost. To register or to learn more about the events, visit online at:

The Manufacturing Growth Alliance (MGA) champions, serves, and advocates for Michigan’s small manufacturers. MGA provides services that drive solutions that will make manufacturing in Michigan the most competitive and prosperous in the nation.  For more information or to become a member, visit

Source: Moody on the Market
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