Executive Director Advanced Manufacturing and Technical Centers
Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD)
Dallas, TX 75215
Nick Graff has extensive experience in Project Management, Sales/Marketing, Leadership Customer Service, Training, Team Building, Curriculum Design/Development, Budgeting, Grant Writing and Consultation in the public and private sectors. With a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications from Iowa State University, he began working in Television Broadcasting including: Reporting, Anchoring, Production and (Social) Media Presentation. He has taken coursework towards his MBA.
In March of 2016, Graff was named the Executive Director, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers for the prestigious seven-campus Dallas County Community College District. He will lead and oversee the development of Economic Development-driving programs and training to help lower the extreme rates of the population living in poverty within Dallas County and the Metroplex.
Graff previously worked for Anoka Technical College in Anoka MN, a NW suburb of Minneapolis, heading up the Manufacturing Technology and Industrial Engineering initiative within Customized Training. Graff put the program “on the map” to compete with the top Manufacturing and Trades departments in MN and the Midwest predominantly through the highly-successful and nationally-recognized Precision Sheet Metal and Fabrication Academy. The PSM and Fab. Program trained students who filled nearly 500 jobs in Minnesota.
Graff was twice recognized by his peers within MNSCU; (MN State Colleges and Universities) in 2010 for the “Exemplary Program Award” and the 2013 “Individual Achievement Award.”
Graff is/was active in additional regional and national Manufacturing Associations, serving as the Chair of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) Certified Education Centers (CECs), Member of the Board of Directors for the MN Precision Manufacturing Association and their Education Foundation (MPMA) as well as MN’s statewide Dream it Do It Committee.
Civic Activities include:
Founding and chairing the Davis Graff Memorial Trust Fund, a 501(C)(3) which honored the memory of their infant son, raised funds through various activities including an annual golf event which donated more than $100K to children with developmental disabilities in TX and MN schools, churches and hospitals.
Department Chair of Industrial Technology
Midlands Technical College
P.O. Box 2408
Columbia, SC 29202
Alan Clayton attended both the University of South Carolina and Clemson University as a recipient of The James F. Byrnes Scholarship. While a student at Clemson, he was an active member of both Iota Lambda Sigma (Industrial Education Honorary Society) and the Clemson Graphic Arts Society. Upon receiving a B.S. in Industrial Education from Clemson University, Alan immediately began teaching Graphic Communications at the high school level. Having an entrepreneurial bent, he also launched and ran a successful screen printing business during the early, “formative” years of his career.
On leaving secondary education, he spent several years as the Assistant Plant Manager for a medium sized printing company and operated his own business prior to returning to education as an instructor and Program Coordinator at Midlands Technical College for six years. He then spent 13 years, with a top secret security clearance, managing the on-site printing facilities at a DOE nuclear weapons facility. Upon leaving that position, he managed multiple production teams for a large ($250M/year) magazine publisher before leaving to launch and operate two regional magazines in his home state of South Carolina.
Although proud of his career accomplishments, they pale in comparison to his personal achievements/blessings. He has been married to his high school sweetheart for 33 years and they have been blessed with four children and three grandchildren (so far!). To see his children mature into well balanced, successful adults is indeed his greatest accomplishment. In fact, watching his own children pursue, struggle & succeed with their career pursuits has inspired him to be even more vigilant in providing career training opportunities for students at Midlands Technical College.
After a long and varied career in education, large corporate and small business, he is currently serving as the Department Chair of Industrial Technology at Midlands Technical College where he has a passion for helping students become successful across the eight programs in his department.
Principal Investigator & Executive Director
Hillsborough Community College
10414 E. Columbus Drive
Tampa, FL 33619
Dr. Marilyn Barger is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of FLATE, the Florida Regional Center of Excellence for Advanced Technological Education, funded by the National Science Foundation and housed at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida since 2004. FLATE serves the state of Florida as its region and is involved in outreach and recruitment of students into technical career pathways; has produced award winning curriculum design and reform for secondary and post‐secondary Career and Technical Education programs; and provides a variety of professional development for SETM and technology secondary and post‐secondary educators focused on advanced technologies. She earned a B.A. in Chemistry at Agnes Scott College and both a B.S. in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering (Environmental) from the University of South Florida, where her research focused on membrane separation science and technologies for water purification. She has over 20 years of experience in developing curricula for engineering and engineering technology for elementary, middle, high school, and post secondary institutions, including colleges of engineering. Dr. Barger serves on several national panels and advisory boards for technical programs, curriculum and workforce initiatives, including the National Association of Manufacturers Educators‘Council. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, a member of Tau Beta Pi and Epsilon Pi Tau honor societies. She is a charter member of both the National Academy and the University of South Florida‘s Academy of Inventors. Dr. Barger holds a licensed patent and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida.
Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic & Workforce Initiatives
Quinsigamond Community College
670 W. Boylston Street
Worcester, MA 01605
Kathy Rentsch was recently promoted to Associate Vice President for Strategic Academic & Workforce Initiatives at Quinsigamond Community College, assuming a leadership role for workforce development & continuing education; college and career pathways; adult and community learning services; Perkins activities; career services & credit for prior learning. She is currently co-chairing QCC's strategic planning process as well.
Previously, she served as Dean for the QCC School for Business, Engineering & Technology, providing both academic and administrative leadership, establishing collaborative partnerships with industry, educational constituents and community agencies and developing grants and other funding proposals to enhance programming. She spearheaded an industry, education and community partner planning effort to secure a $750,000 National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant to design, launch and evaluate a public communication campaign on advanced manufacturing careers (NSF ATE DUE # 0703040). Successful strategies piloted in this project, called Mass-TEC, were scaled up statewide through the MassDevelopment AMP It Up! Campaign.
Ms. Rentsch serves on the Board of Directors for the MA Manufacturing Extension Partnership. In 2014, MassMEP recognized her leadership in building a non-credit to credit pathway in advanced manufacturing, naming her the MassMEP 2014 Manufacturing Champion. She is currently completing doctoral work at Northeastern University.
Associate VP of Academic Affairs
Aims Community College
Greeley, CO 80634
Chris Lewis currently serves as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs (AVPAA) for Aims Community College in Greeley, CO. Chris joined Aims in July of 2021 initially serving as the Interim Dean of Public Safety, Workforce, and Transportation. Chris moved into the AVPAA role in December of 2021. As AVPAA at Aims, he is responsible for effective planning, vision and leadership for the strategic plan tactics and academic plan initiatives. He provides oversight and coordination for workforce development initiatives and effective operation of the satellite campuses with a focus on developing and enhancing strong partnerships with the communities in the college’s serving area, and the college’s high school programs. He also is responsible for continuing education and the CDL program. Prior to Aims, Chris served as Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Outreach & Strategic Partnerships for Rock Valley College (RVC) in Rockford, IL. At RVC, he was responsible for developing and managing the College’s Workforce and High Priority Occupation development initiatives, including the administration of the Advanced Technology Center, Center for Business and Industry, the Business and Professional Institute, Continuing Education and apprenticeship development. Prior to Aims and RVC, Chris worked for the Alabama Community College System where his roles since 2015 included Interim President of J.F. Drake State Community & Technical College, Special Assistant for Workforce for the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) where he worked as a liaison with Trenholm State Community College where he led the coordination of both the Adult Education and Workforce Develop programs, and lastly, Montgomery/Selma Center Director for the Alabama Technology Network (ATN) where he coordinated ATN activities with Workforce Development partners with an emphasis on assisting business organizations and manufacturers with opportunities in the areas of engineering, quality systems, environmental safety and health, industrial maintenance and other needs of industry while managing ATN center employees. In all of his roles he developed relationships with external organizations to raise the awareness of the Alabama Community College System’s mission and services. Chris has also served as a Financial Services Representative with Principal Financial Group where he helped individuals, families, and businesses with their financial goals.
Prior to joining Aims, RVC, ACCS and Principal Financial, Lewis served as President & CEO of the South Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC). The SRMSDC is a non-profit corporation chartered to enhance business opportunities for minority-owned companies by providing support through developing mutually beneficial networking opportunities with corporate members and promoting minority- business development.
Chris is a former business owner serving as Managing Partner for L&S Enterprises and also has extensive experience in small business development from serving as Director of Supplier Diversity for Motion Industries until leaving in 2005 to start L&S Enterprises.
Chris has been active in the community and his past board affiliations include: Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, 100 Black Men of Birmingham, and Huntsville, Rockford Art Museum Board, Business Council of Alabama, Alabama Transit Association and Green Resource Center for Alabama and has served on several State Commissions. Currently, Chris serves on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers as Immediate Past President and the Commission for Workforce and Economic Development for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), he is a graduate of the University of Alabama Community College Fellows Program and the co-founder of the Huntsville Aerospace/Automotive Supplier Diversity Conference.
Coordinator Continuing Education & Workforce Development
Pennsylvania State University-Penn State Schuylkill
Schuylkill Haven, PA
Bonnie Spayd was previously the Executive Director of Workforce and Economic Development for The Schmidt Training and Technology Center at Reading Area Community College. In her position she was responsible for providing a continuum of technology-based education and training to local and regional business and industry, dislocated/underemployed workers and technology degree seeking students. She was responsible for non-credit and credit training and education programs in workforce development, business, manufacturing, IT, mechatronics, automation, precision machining, industrial maintenance, electrical and wastewater utilities. She worked closely with diversified local and regional manufacturers in developing internships and job placement programs.
As a visionary leader, she grasps the changing competitive landscape for US manufactures to embrace applied technical cross-skilling of employees. Introduced Advanced Manufacturing Integrated Systems Technology (AMIST) that integrates multiple technical disciplines to create efficiencies in plant operations. She has been instrumental in developing and launching an AAS degree programs in Mechatronics Engineering Technology (one of the first in the nation); created to combine career training with college credit. She implemented a “stackable” credit credential model that allows students to be hired into their field while continuing in their education; growing their practical competency.
She has positioned RACC as a Partner School with the Packaging Manufacturer’s Machine Institute (PMMI) a National original equipment manufacturers organization and coordinated the efforts needed for RACC to be recognized by the Manufacturing Institute (within NAM - The National Association of Manufacturers) as a “M-List” Community College that teaches manufacturing employees to industry standards.
She facilitated a “Technically Skilled Workforce” Panel Discussion in 2012 for the Obama Administration and facilitated public relations events for every PA Governor in office since 2006 (Governors’ Rendell, Corbett and Wolf). She has been sought out by PBS NEWSHOUR, NPR Marketplace, Sky News, Packaging World Magazine and Reading Eagle newspaper to provide interviews as SME on “technical skilled workforce solutions” and “middle skill technical jobs.” She sees the changing competitive landscape for US manufactures, driving RACC as a leader in developing and implementing VR/AR training for I.4.0 Smart Automation.
Prior to joining Reading Area Community College, Bonnie worked in business development for The Manufacturers Association of Berks County. She also held positions in engineering, quality control, quality assurance, sales and marketing communications for a regional safety products manufacturer; and in production and supervision for a pharmaceutical reagent manufacturer.
She holds a BS and MEd in Biological Science from Kutztown University.
Director of Talent & Business Innovation
Lorain County Community College
1005 N. Abbe Road
Elyria, OH 44035
Terri Burgess Sandu is Director of Talent and Business Innovation for Lorain County Community College. In this role, Sandu leads a team of professionals whose work advances the College’s commitment to student success and talent development that accelerates business growth. Named to the position in January 2012, Sandu leverages 30 years of experience in workforce, community and economic development to facilitate a number of collaborative initiatives with public and private partners.
Currently, Sandu directs the Ohio Technical Skills Innovation Network (Ohio TechNet), a statewide consortium of community colleges and universities focused on meeting the talent needs of Ohio’s advanced manufacturing sector, working closely with leaders from The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio Department of Higher Education and other industry, education and workforce leaders.
Sandu’s work on Ohio TechNet has helped to foster innovative partnerships between Ohio community colleges and the Manufacturing USA Network, focused on accelerating U.S. advanced manufacturing. Sandu serves on the Ohio Acceleration team for Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) as well as the LIFT National Executive Advisory Council for Education and Workforce. Sandu has been named a 2018 NextFlex Fellow for her work to help advance the mission and purpose of NextFlex, which is focused on ushering in a new age of electronics. With America Makes, which accelerates the adoption of additive manufacturing technology, Sandu co-chairs an work team on internships, apprenticeship and career pathways.
Sandu is a recipient of the Excellence in Workforce Development Innovation Award from the Ohio Economic Development Association, and a proud alumna of Oberlin College, Leadership Lorain County and the YWCA of Cleveland Executive Leadership program.
Dean, Engineering & Advanced Technology
Macomb Community College
DEAN, ENGINEERING, MANUFACTURING AND INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGIES
Oakland Community College (2017-current)
Auburn Hills, MI
ASSOCIATE DEAN, ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
Macomb Community College (2012-2017)
MANAGER, MACHINIST TRAINING INSTITUTE
Focus: HOPE (2009-2012)
BDI (2006 - 2009)
STAFF MANUFACTURING ENGINEER
General Motors Corporation (1997-2006)
SENIOR PROJECT ENGINEER
Adam Opel AG (2000- 2002)
LAWRENCE TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY
FOCUS: HOPE, MACHINIST TRAINING INSTITUTE
COMMITTEES AND MEMBERSHIP
Faculty Driven Regional Group Chair
College of the Canyons
Santa Clarita, CA
2016 - Present: Faculty Driven Regional Group Chair; Development of Core Industry Descriptors (CID's) for welding that are developed by the committee made up of other community college faculty to create a state-wide model curriculum that will align with industry and third-party credentials.
2013- 2017: Principle Investigator; for NSF ATE Project; Advanced Manufacturing & Processing Technician (AMPT) providing training to meet current future industry demand by aligning, expanding, and upgrading three advanced automated manufacturing technology programs; Manufacturing Technology, Electromechanical Technology, and Welding (automated robotic and laser)
2012 - Present: Weld-Ed Regional Partner; Promote Weld-ED Membership to Schools (regional affiliates) and Industry (industrial affiliates). Implementation and articulation of the National Weld-ED Curriculum to southern California area. Establish specialty tracks for Welding Technology base upon expertise/regional industry needs. Attend annual Weld-ED National Advisory Council.
2011 - 2013: Project Director; Laser Welding Industry Driven Regional Collaborative grant Responsible for finalization and implementation of all project components, including industry advisory board, curriculum development, program certification, and acquisition and installation of project equipment.
2010-2013: Project Director; Welding Automation Industry Driven Regional Collaborative Grant Responsible for finalization and implementation of all project components, including industry advisory board, curriculum development, program certification, and acquisition and installation of project equipment.
2006 - 2008: Project Director; Metal Fabrication Welding Industry Driven Regional Collaborative grant. Responsible for finalization and implementation of all project components, including industry advisory board, curriculum development, program certification, and acquisition and installation of project equipment.
2004-2006: Project Director; Pipe Welding Industry Driven Regional Collaborative grant. Responsible for finalization and implementation of all project components, including industry advisory board, curriculum development, program certification, and acquisition and installation of project equipment.
2002 - Present: College of the Canyons; Department Chair; Welding Technology. Perform duties such as program & class scheduling, program planning & review, budgets & expenditures, curriculum development & modifications, outreach & recruitment, and maintenance for welding technology laboratories
2000 - Present: College of the Canyons; Full-time faculty member. Maintain a full teaching load that ranges from introductory-to-advanced level courses in welding, metal fabrication and robotic welding automation offered under the Welding Technology curriculum.
1996-2000: The Boeing Company; Precision GTAW Welder; Assemble and weld class-A flight hardware to both commercial and military standard specifications.
1993 - 1996: Walt Disney Imagineering- Technical Support Specialist; Assisted in the design, fabrication and installation of conceptual show ride attractions using welding, machining, and fabrication skills
1985 - 1993: McDonnel Douglas Aircraft - Production GTAW Welder; Welding of commercial flight hardware to company production standards.