Breakout Session Speaker Biographies

The speaker’s bios are organized by sessions.

Day 2: Thursday, May 8th

10:30-11:30AM

Skill Based Hiring: Using Competency-based Approaches to Increase Diversity and Save Time and Money

Wendy Brors

Wendy Brors is a Senior Analyst & Consultant in Maher & Maher’s Federal, State & Regional Workforce Solutions Practices. Wendy’s expertise is centered on gaining commitment from diverse constituents across organizational boundaries to build strategic partnerships and networks, drive accountability, and achieve results for national initiatives. She is thrilled to be supporting initiatives to scale apprenticeships in key industry sectors.

Before joining Maher, Wendy served as Associate Director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC).  In this role, she focused on bridging industry through sector partnerships into Colorado’s talent development network comprised of economic development, workforce development, education and community-based organizations, covering all industries and regions of the state.  Prior to joining CWDC, Wendy was Chief Operating Officer for the Colorado Technology Association, as well as Founder and Executive Director for the Colorado Technology Foundation.  At the Foundation for Colorado’s tech industry she established competency definitions in partnership with Skillful, spurred the creation of IT career pathways, grew the “T” in STEM, and initiated work-based learning programs including supporting the launch of CareerWise Colorado. During the first 20 years of her professional career, Wendy held a variety of business operations and IT positions at companies including Sun Microsystems and McKinsey & Company.

Michael Simpson

Michael is a son of educators, and corporate intrapreneur turned 3x entrepreneur. His passion for helping people reach their potential was fueled by his own rise from poverty to international recognition as a market strategist. He co-founded PAIRIN after over a decade as a certified coach, and spending six years living in Russia coaching many at-risk young adults to successful careers. As the CEO of PAIRIN, he works to bridge the opportunity gap for future generations by enabling educators and employers to predict and develop behavioral

performance. In this role, he’s had the privilege of partnering with organizations like the U.S. Dept. of Labor, the Center for Data Science and Public Policy, the VA, post-secondary institutions and many workforce readiness programs. Michael serves as co-chair of the Denver Metro Tech Partnership, is a member of the Colorado Succeeds advisory board, and has been a speaker at 100s of events and conferences around the world on topics such as technology, changing markets, coaching, professional development and creating opportunities for all individuals through equitable hiring. He is an ICF certified executive coach, avid cyclist, fly fisherman and award-winning chocolatier.

Shannon Block

Roy Dockery

Creating Rigorous Career Pathways Programs that Improve College and Career Outcomes

Gene Bottoms

Gene Bottoms retired in April 2018 after a 61-year career working to improve education for all students. He joined the Southern Regional Education Board in 1987 as director of the High Schools That Work initiative, bringing more than 40 years of experience working on issues of education policy and practice in the public sector. In 1997, he became senior vice president of SREB, and his leadership responsibilities expanded to high schools, middle grades, technology centers and preparing principals to become leaders of curriculum and instruction. He also directed the work to prepare teachers and school leaders to help students master both college- and career- readiness standards, particularly in the areas of literacy, mathematics and career and technical studies.As Senior Vice President, Gene led more than 125 full-time staff and part-time consultants who work in the several initiatives under the broad umbrella of school improvement across SREB states and beyond. Prior to joining SREB, Bottoms served as executive director of the American Vocational Association. He also served as the director of education improvement for the Georgia Department of Education. Bottoms holds doctorate and master’s degrees in guidance and counseling from the University of Georgia.

James Coble

Laying the Foundation for Constructing Career-Ready Communities: The Arizona and South Carolina Models

John Costilla

John Costilla serves as Senior Vice President of Marketing at WIN Learning and the past board president of Friends of Texas Public Schools – a state association focused on supporting district leaders, promoting public school achievement and celebrating what’s right with our schools. John’s career spans over 25 years as an educator, curriculum specialist, professional development and executive leader. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University with an emphasis in Secondary Education. John is based in Austin, Texas

Trevor Stokes

Trevor Stokes regularly serves as a subject matter expert in labor market analysis to support career-driven curriculum development, regional economic research and growth planning, industry sector partnerships, educational product development and public policy recommendations. Personal experience in secondary education, adult technical training and workforce development have contributed to a practical and digestible approach to interpreting and applying labor market data.  Mr. Stokes has provided leadership to some of the country’s most innovative and successful career-driven education and workforce development initiatives, including Go Build Alabama, Work Ready Austin, and the Kentucky Career and College Readiness Transformation. His writing and research have contributed to successful efforts to secure Investing in Innovation, Race to the Top, AMJIAC, Workforce Innovation Fund and Ready to Work federal grants. Most recently, his industry profiles informed sector-based economic development strategies for the state of Arizona. Empirical data analysis was refined by direct engagement with industry leaders as SWOT analyses were conducted and preferred strategies identified for the Aerospace and Defense, Advanced Manufacturing and Bioscience and Health Care sectors. Trevor is a Certified Community Researcher and an alum of Lee University in East Tennessee where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. He now resides in Phoenix, Arizona where he supports the state’s efforts to grow, attract and retain quality jobs.

Maria Swygert

Maria Swygert M.Ed., is the Team Lead for the Office of Career and Technology Education (OCTE) with the SC Department of Education (SCDE). Since 2008, she has worked closely with the secondary and postsecondary federal and state administration and accountability to on implementing successful career and technical education (CTE) programs. CTE provides students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation. Mrs. Swygert was selected by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to work closely with the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) in developing the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act which amended the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV).Mrs. Swygert has over 20 years of CTE classroom and administration experience. Prior to joining the OCTE, she worked with the SC Technical College System (SCTCS) on the postsecondary administration of the federal legislation and administration.  She was a classroom computer science teacher for more than 10 years before shifting in an administrative role. She has her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina in Educational Technology, as well as Curriculum and Instruction.  

Grey Parks

Grey Parks, Assistant Executive Director for the SC Department of Employment and Workforce has worked in many capacities in his eight-year career with the agency.  He has experience in executive leadership, project management, account management, and program operations. In his current capacity he has oversight and management of Wagner-Peyser, Veterans, TAA, and the Business and Economic Development department, and he serves as a liaison and representative with economic developers, readySC, and other partners to offer workforce solutions to South Carolina stakeholders. Mr. Parks graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

The Rural West: Finding Ways to Increase Economic Vitality and Opportunity

Lauren DeNinno

Lauren DeNinno joined the policy team in 2016 after a year as a Policy Fellow, when she worked on the “Western Governors' Drought Forum” and the “Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative.” The Pittsburgh native earned a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Lauren provides team support for the ongoing work of the initiatives; her policy portfolio includes land exchanges, mining and tourism.

Megan Alameda

Megan Alameda is the Brownfields Program Coordinator at Baker Technical Institute in Baker City, Oregon. She has a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and Resources, M.S. in Environmental Education, and an M.A.T. in Integrated Science and Career and Technical Education for Natural Resources. She has created and taught the only high school run brownfields program in the country for the last five years and has been awarded the Presidential Award for Innovation in Environmental Education in 2016 and the class was awarded for Outstanding Partnership from Oregon Main Street in 2017. She teaches a class of high school students about the brownfield cleanup process by having them go through the steps with a real brownfield site in the local community. Megan continues to promote student involvement in their community as a component of their education as well as a method of public outreach to actively remediate real brownfields.

Michael Held

Michael Held is the Director of Economic and Policy Services for Rural Development Initiatives, a rural-focused nonprofit serving the Pacific Northwest. For over ten years, Michael has worked across rural Appalachia and the northwest in leading an array of economic development efforts including industrial land development, natural resource planning, sector strategies, entrepreneurship, and a myriad of local Main Street initiatives. In his free time, you’ll find Michael in the woods, on a stream, or enthusiastically supporting the Northwest craft beer industry.

Jerad Stack

Transforming Higher Education to Better Align with the Needs of Inducstry and Prepare Students for the Workforce

Debbie Hughes

Debbie Hughes is a Senior Strategist at Entangled Solutions. She has been working in workforce and talent development for 14 years, engaging with businesses, employers, colleges and universities, state and federal agencies to define, translate, and align highest demand workforce needs with education solutions to develop the workforce of the future. She has written numerous thought leadership reports related to the workforce needs for the digital economy, with specific expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, data science and analytics, artificial intelligence, media and broadcast engineering, water science, cloud, and AR/VR. She has worked with C-level executives from fortune 500 companies across the financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, technology, retail, agriculture, and healthcare sectors. Her work has led to the development of over 50 new industry-recognized college credentials, as well as the go-to process and infrastructure for employers and education providers developing strategic partnerships. Debbie has been leading the Virginia Governor’s Smart and Connected Communities Working Group, is a Board Member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), as well as serves as the Co-Chair for the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s Project DARE – Data Analytics Raising Employment, creating consensus around the world on how to build the analytics abilities companies will need for the future of work. Prior to Entangled, Debbie was an executive at the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) for 7 years, working with CEOs and university presidents to address the most pressing talent issues of our time. She led projects on behalf of federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and numerous corporate and private philanthropies. Debbie became passionate about STEM education and workforce development while working at the Department of Energy, connecting students, teachers, colleges, and scientists to the national laboratories. She was part of an executive transition team for Project Lead The Way, an education non-profit with 2M k-12 students taking engineering and computer science courses. While there, she built a national partnership and engagement strategy for expanding career and technical education and applied learning experiences for all students across the United States. Debbie holds a B.A. and M.A. from George Washington University, where she studied business, industrial organizational psychology, and international science and technology policy.

Robert Lytle

Robert is a Managing Director based in the Boston office and is the head of EY-Parthenon’s Global Education Practice.Robert was with Parthenon for 15 years before its combination with EY in August 2014. He has led client engagements for more than two decades, on general strategy, performance improvement, and investment due diligence across a

broad spectrum of educational organizations. His clients include high-growth companies, publicly listed global 100 companies, nonprofit institutions, financial investors, and international

governments. In addition, Robert has participated in numerous high-profile corporate turnarounds, mergers, divestitures and privatizations in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. He is a frequent speaker at leading global forums in the education sector. Prior to joining EY-Parthenon, Robert was with Bain & Company and served as a US Army aviator. He holds a BSE in Economics from the Wharton School of Business and an MBA with high distinction from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

Sarah Auder

Angie Besendorfer

Angie Besendorfer currently serves as Chancellor of WGU Missouri. She has served students in the field of education for over twenty years in Missouri schools as teacher, principal, professional developer, and superintendent. She has received several honors including the National Milken Educator Award, Finalist for Missouri Teacher of the Year, John C. Maxwell Leadership Award Top 100, recipient of the Governor's Leadership Coin, and Most Influential Woman by the Tri-State Business Journal.  

Interactive Session: What Really Works in Creating a Successful Regional pathways Initiative?

Hans Meeder

Hans Meeder is co-founder and President of the National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T), a mission driven organization with the purpose of fostering regional college-career pathway systems that are supported and led by alliances of educators, employers, and civic organizations. Mr. Meeder has an extensive and varied career in education and workforce policy and government leadership, with an emphasis on high school redesign, career and technical education, and workforce quality. Prior to founding NC3T, Meeder served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. In this role, Meeder led the Department of Education’s High School Initiative and guided policy development for implementation of the

Perkins Act and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. Mr. Meeder is the author of two books, The Power and Promise of Pathways and the STEM Leader Guide, and co-author of Advisory Boards That Matter and the online course, Career Connected Learning 101.

1:45- 2:45pm

Putting CTE to Work for Students

Lowell Matthews

Lowell is the Director of College and Career Pathways for ExcelinEd. He previously served as Staff Director for the Florida Legislature’s Senate Committees on Education Pre-K-12 and Higher Education, where he helped create Florida’s industry certification incentive to create a nexus between education and the workforce. Lowell is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University Law School. He also served in the U.S. Army. He lives in Rochester, MN with his wife and 2 kids.

Wendi Secrist

Wendi Secrist is the Executive Director of the Idaho Workforce Development Council overseeing implementation of an industry-led statewide strategic workforce development plan. Governor Brad Little appointed Wendi to continue the transition of the Council to an independent agency under the Office of the Governor which began in November 2017. The Council serves as the State Workforce Investment Board and oversees the Idaho Workforce Development Training Fund. Ms. Secrist came to the Council with a wealth of experience in workforce development, economic development and education.  Immediately prior to joining in 2017, Ms. Secrist built bridges to industry to inform Idaho’s career and technical education system through its secondary, postsecondary and workforce training programs as the Director of Business Outreach for Idaho Career & Technical Education. She also oversaw development of a statewide micro-certification/badging platform, Idaho SkillStack® to improve communication around the skills and competencies Idaho’s citizens’ possess. Ms. Secrist served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Workforce Boards and was secretary from 2013-2015.  Ms. Secrist is a past-president of the Idaho Economic Development Association.  She was the vice president of the 2007-2009 Leadership Boise class and also served as the 2009 chair of the Boise Young Professionals. In 2008, Idaho Business Review recognized her as one of Idaho’s “Accomplished Under 40.”  

Dawn Burns

Dr. Dawn Burns is the Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education and Chief Strategy Officer for the New Skills for Youth initiative - LifeWorks in Nevada

Awarded the $2 million grant from JP Morgan Chase Nevada created a strategic plan to ensure all students graduate college and career ready. She has 35 years of K-12 education experience and received her Ed. D from the University of Oklahoma in Educational Administration, Curriculum and Supervision.

Kelly Caufield

Kelly Caufield joined Colorado Succeeds in January 2017. She currently leads Colorado Succeeds’ government affairs and policy work. Previously, Kelly served as a federal lobbyist for the world’s largest human resources professional association, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Washington, DC.

Before lobbying for SHRM, Kelly spent eight years on Capitol Hill. She worked as a professional staff member for U.S. Senator Mike Enzi (WY) on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Kelly had a key role in drafting a reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act to strengthen employer engagement at the local level. After working in the U.S. Senate, she served as the legislative director for Congressman Lou Barletta, a member of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee.

Kelly received a Bachelor of Arts from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University with a focus on public finance and tax.

Upskilling Low-Income Adults: Supporting the Connection between Education and Work

Sarah Pingel

Sarah supports the research and analytical capacity of the policy team in her role as a senior policy analyst at Education Commission of the States. Sarah has extensive experience in student financial aid programs, and is frequently called upon as an expert in state financial aid policy and practice. A recipient of state aid herself, Sarah believes that state policy leaders have a key role to play in ensuring affordable postsecondary opportunities for students from all backgrounds.

Dennis Perea

Katie Belous

Nichole Torpey-Saboe

How States Can Make Better Use of Industry-Recognized Credentials

Danielle Mezera

Presently, Danielle serves as principal consultant and freelancer with DCM Consulting. She regularly works with clients at the national, state, and local levels on Career and Technical Education and on K-16 education-to-career learning models. Prior to this, Danielle served 5 ½ years as the Assistant Commissioner for College, Career and Technical Education (CCTE) with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). As Assistant Commissioner for CCTE,

Danielle oversaw the state’s vision, approach and implementation of career and technical education curricula, industry-valued certifications and exams, portfolio of early postsecondary courses and exams, administration of ACT/SAT, K-12 school counseling, and work-based learning and service-learning programs. She also administrated Carl Perkins federal funding for the state’s K-12 and postsecondary systems. During her tenure, she led a systemwide overhaul of the state’s career and technical education program, resulting in the development and full implementation of rigorous, aligned programs of study and course curricula, program supports, and student capstone experiences. Prior to joining the state, Danielle served five years as Director of Children and Youth with the Office of the Mayor for Nashville and Davidson County. In that position, she served as chief education policy advisor for Mayor Bill Purcell and Mayor Karl Dean. Before entering public service, Danielle served as a director at the Vanderbilt University Institute for Public Policy Studies. During her 10+ years tenure at Vanderbilt University, she held various senior level positions in university administration. Danielle holds a B.A., M.Ed., and Ph.D. in education and is currently a Senior Fellow with ExcelinEd, which is a national leader in K-12 policy and innovation at the state level.

Cindy Hill

Dr. Cindy Hill is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist in the Research Division at ACT. She

has been a major contributor to ACT’s WorkKeys system for more than twenty years. Her work

has included the recent refresh of the National Career Readiness Credential, a portable,

evidence-based credential that certifies the essential skills for workplace success. Her recent

research has explored the alignment and “stacking” of credentials through standardized

frameworks and the use of technology. Dr. Hill has also spent many years developing and

reviewing licensure and certification programs. This includes job analysis, the development of

test content outlines, national surveys, data analysis, item writing and review, standard setting,

and validating the test scores of off-the-shelf and company-specific tests. As part of ACT’s

partnership with the Association for Talent Development, she developed and facilitates their

Test Design and Delivery Certificate Program.

Thalea Longhurst

Thalea Longhurst is the current Utah State Director of Career and Technical Education. Thalea received her Administrative/Supervisor of Public Schools Certification from Utah State university. Thalea’s background started in Health Science Education with a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine from the University of Utah and a Masters in Sports Management from the University of Utah. Thalea spent several years in the medical field before joining education and teaching in the Salt Lake City School District before becoming the State Health Science Education Specialists at the Utah Board of Education.

Stephen Lynch

Mr. Lynch develops strategic partnerships and business relationships at the intersection of workforce development, economic development, and higher education; helping identify and deliver solutions that enable Burning Glass clients to more efficiently and effectively match talent with opportunity. Steve’s career spans law, workforce development, finance, education, and public service. Prior to joining Burning Glass, Steve has served as a Program Director at Jobs for the Future (JFF,) a Workforce Programs Specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, an educator, financial advisor, attorney, and administrator for a Local Workforce Investment Area. Mr. Lynch holds a JD from Lewis & Clark College Law School in Portland, OR, and a BA from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

John Hershey

Prioritizing Career Planning and Providing Professional Career Advising 

Phil Jarvis

Phil Jarvis is President of Transitions Canada, a not-for-profit coalition of education, business, government, and civic leaders to enhance students’ transition readiness. Prior to this position he was Director of Global Partnerships for Career Cruising (Xello). Phil has led numerous pan-Canadian initiatives to help students imagine their future and craft their career. They include CHOICES, Careers Canada, Canada Prospects, Canada WorkinfoNET (CanWIN), The Real Game Series, the Blueprint for LifeWork Designs, Smart Options. All Provinces and Territories contributed to these projects, which were funded by the Federal Government. His chapter in Career Development Practice in Canada (CERIC, 2014) links individual career planning to regional economic prosperity. He is a passionate advocate for whole community mobilization to prepare students to transition from school to success. Phil received the Canadian Career Development Foundation’s prestigious Stu Conger Award in 1999 and Gold Medal in 2004 for national leadership in career development.

Aaron Leson

Rebecca Dedmond

Rebecca has contributed to the field of school career development designing, implementing and evaluating programs throughout the U.S., and in the US Virgin Islands, and Ghana, West Africa. Her publications, presentations, training seminars, and materials development support her focus on community-wide, responsible career readiness for all.

Robin Russel

Hans Meeder

Hans Meeder is co-founder and President of the National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T), a mission driven organization with the purpose of fostering regional college-career pathway systems that are supported and led by alliances of educators, employers, and civic organizations. Mr. Meeder has an extensive and varied career in education and workforce policy and government leadership, with an emphasis on high school redesign, career and technical education, and workforce quality. Prior to founding NC3T, Meeder served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Education in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education. In this role, Meeder led the Department of Education’s High School Initiative and guided policy development for implementation of the

Perkins Act and the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. Mr. Meeder is the author of two books, The Power and Promise of Pathways and the STEM Leader Guide, and co-author of Advisory Boards That Matter and the online course, Career Connected Learning 101.

Bridging the Opportunity and Skills Gaps Through More Robust Career Pathway Programs at Community Colleges

Marc Goldberg

Kate Kinder

Daniel Barajas

Rochelle Rivas

Rochelle Rivas, MPH is the District Director for Healthcare Education at MCCCD District Office. Rochelle has a Masters of Public Health from Grand Canyon University. She has been with Maricopa Community Colleges for fourteen years. Eight of those years was spent at SMCC as the Coordinator for the Bilingual Nursing Fellowship Program. Her expertise and experience with MCCCD and healthcare programs led to her selection as the District Director of Healthcare Education in February of 2019.  Rochelle directs the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of assigned organization-wide programs, initiatives, and related functions. She establishes and administers strategic operations for MCCCD Health Care Education programs to meet student, faculty and community employer needs.  Her work has streamlined Health Care Education system processes District Wide, benefiting faculty, staff, and students.

Interactive Session: What Will It Take to Fully Engage Businesses in Our Schools?

Dick Foreman 

Dick Foreman brings to ABEC unprecedented knowledge, expertise and credibility that he has built during his much accomplished 37-year career in public affairs and in developing public policy.  He also brings to ABEC a wide array of experiences while serving on business, education, and community governing and advisory boards throughout his career. His passion, however, is and always has been public education. After 27 years, Dick left a very successful career with Southwest Gas Corporation where he was the Director of Corporate Public Affairs for what he calls his “dream job,” to lead ABEC.  At Southwest Gas, he was responsible for state and federal legislative affairs, special corporate and regulatory initiatives, franchise negotiations, state and municipal relations, and consumer and community affairs.  Prior to Southwest Gas, he led the state legislative affairs for Salt River Project and also served as a research analyst for the Arizona House of Representatives, where he began his career in public policy.  Throughout his distinguished career, Dick has created professional relationships with countless elected officials as well as business and civic leaders at the local, state and national level. No stranger to education, Dick served ten years as a governing board member for the Tempe Union High School District and also served on the school boards of two charter schools – Tempe Preparatory Academy and Great Hearts Academies.  He understands that Arizona public schools need resources, and as such, has chaired/co-chaired eleven public school finance campaign initiatives (i.e. school bonds, M&O overrides) over the span of 25 years. He is also an active leader in the business community, having served on the boards of the Arizona Tax Research Association and its Foundation, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce

& Industry and its Foundation, and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.  He is a proven leader, respected by the business and education communities alike. Dick graduated twice magna cum laude from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Master of Public Administration degree.  In his spare time, he is a community and contributing columnist for several local newspapers and has even authored and published a contemporary Western novel, “A Distant Fire.”  He enjoys basketball, writing children's short stories, hiking the White Mountains of Greer, Arizona and exploring the coastline of Oregon with his wife Kate, three children, four grandchildren, and one GREAT grandchild!

3:00-4:00pm

Accelerating Apprenticeship

Wendy Brors

Wendy Brors is a Senior Analyst & Consultant in Maher & Maher’s Federal, State & Regional Workforce Solutions Practices. Wendy’s expertise is centered on gaining commitment from diverse constituents across organizational boundaries to build strategic partnerships and networks, drive accountability, and achieve results for national initiatives. She is thrilled to be supporting initiatives to scale apprenticeships in key industry sectors.

Before joining Maher, Wendy served as Associate Director of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC).  In this role, she focused on bridging industry through sector partnerships into Colorado’s talent development network comprised of economic development, workforce development, education and community-based organizations, covering all industries and regions of the state.  Prior to joining CWDC, Wendy was Chief Operating Officer for the Colorado Technology Association, as well as Founder and Executive Director for the Colorado Technology Foundation.  At the Foundation for Colorado’s tech industry she established competency definitions in partnership with Skillful, spurred the creation of IT career pathways, grew the “T” in STEM, and initiated work-based learning programs including supporting the launch of CareerWise Colorado. During the first 20 years of her professional career, Wendy held a variety of business operations and IT positions at companies including Sun Microsystems and McKinsey & Company.

Jeff McCray

Jeff McCray is the Plant Manager at the McCain Foods, Burley Idaho facility, a position he has held since 2008. McCain Foods with over 55 facilities worldwide and over 20,000 employees is one of the largest food service and retail manufacturers of frozen potato products in the world. Mr. McCray has an extensive background in the agricultural, dairy processing, and food manufacturing industries. His expertise is in developing safety programs, quality assurance systems, plant operations (including capital management, P & L), and lean manufacturing

programs. Prior to McCain Foods Mr. McCray was with ConAgra Foods from 1992 to 2008 with many different roles including a three year assignment in the Netherlands as a Corporate Quality Engineer. Mr. McCray started his career in 1987 as a crew lead installing equipment in the dairy and juice industries. Mr. McCray holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Washington.

Mr. McCray believes in servant leadership.  He serves on the Idaho Workforce Development council as an Executive Board member, the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry as an Executive Board member and treasurer, serves as the treasurer for his church, and is an active member of the Burley Rotary club.

Andrea Anderson 

Andrea Anderson serves as the Senior Manager of Program Development for the WTIA Apprenti Program, focused on addressing the tech industry’s workforce and diversity needs through registered technology apprenticeships. Previously, she was an Apprenticeship Consultant for Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) Apprenticeship Section, working to expand registered apprenticeship in both traditional and non-traditional occupations across Washington. Prior to working for L&I, Andrea developed the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship (AJAC) in order to address the workforce needs of employers and build the best and most diverse talent pipeline in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. She is inspired by the difference registered apprenticeship makes in the lives of workers and their families and enjoys developing innovative solutions to complex issues surrounding workforce development.

Transforming Higher Education Funding: Moving from Student Enrollment to Outcome Measures

Duncan Wyse

Brian Fox

Dustin Weeden

Dustin Weeden joined SHEEO in October 2017 as a senior policy analyst. Mr. Weeden works on various initiatives including the State Higher Education Finance project and the Communities of Practice project. Mr. Weeden’s research interests include state higher education policy related to finance, governance, affordability, student borrowing, and the commercialization of research. Prior to joining SHEEO, he served as a senior policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures. In this role, Mr. Weeden coordinated the Legislative Education Staff Network, tracked and analyzed state higher education legislation, and authored policy briefs, research reports, blog posts, and State Legislatures magazine articles on a wide range of topics including outcomes-based funding, affordability, tuition policy, financial aid, and student borrowing. Mr. Weeden is a doctoral candidate in higher education at the University of Iowa. He also holds an M.P.P from the University of Denver and a B.A. in history and political science from Kansas State University.

Andrew Rauch

Andrew Rauch is a Senior Associate at HCM Strategists, LLC working on postsecondary finance. Prior to joining HCM, Andrew worked at the Colorado Department of Higher Education on a variety of budget topics, and he most recently served as the Department’s Director of Institutional Finance. He is a Colorado native and holds a BA from McDaniel College and a MPP from William and Mary.

How State Workforce Agency Data can help with Policy and Informed Educational Decision Making

Ellen Golombek

In November 2017, Ellen Golombek joined the National Association of State Workforce Agencies as the Deputy Executive Director. Prior to joining NASWA, Golombek was the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for almost seven years.

Thomas Hartman

As a consultant for the Colorado Workforce Development Council Office, Thomas plays a critical role in the implementation of all CWDC initiatives, particularly the support of sector partnerships and career pathways as key strategies for the implementation of state and federal legislation. As the CWDC project officer, Thomas serves as an internal hub of information and resource generation. Thomas collaborates with staff and state partners to develop project plans, generate content, and create resources. Thomas plays a key role in developing both a statewide career pathways framework and specifically identified career pathways with input provided by CWDC staff and partners. Thomas serves as the staff point of contact for the Education and Training Steering Committee and the Employment First Advisory Partnership. Thomas is passionate about the democratization of education and training opportunities for all Coloradans. Before joining the CWDC in 2016, Thomas served as a college and university administrator, instructor, and curriculum designer. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Scott Powell

Amy Watson 

Amy Watson is a Senior Economist at the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. She holds an MS in Applied Economics from Montana State University and BAs in Economics and Finance from Linfield College, in McMinnville Oregon.  She has expertise in healthcare, education, and labor economics. Her recent research focuses on whether the higher education system is preparing enough graduates in the right fields to meet the needs of the Montana economy.

Jason M. Payton

I consider myself mostly Oregonian as I grew up in Eugene, Oregon. I have a BS in Economics from the University of Oregon. For the last 11 years I have worked for the Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Research Division.  I have worked as a research analyst, program coordinator, and currently am the Occupational Economist. My work for the agency has varied in focus; collecting information on behalf of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, coordinating a prevailing wage survey on behalf of the Bureau of Labor & Industries, and now occupation-related research related to projections, training, and education.

Innovative Efforts to Scale Career Pathway Programs that Lead from High School to Postsecondary and Career Success

Daniel Adams

Beth Green

Beth Green is the Program Director for Advanced Career at Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and leadership/school coach. Prior to joining SREB, she served as a teacher, pre-school through high school and a district administrator. Her special interests and skills include career-technical education, magnet schools, IB, Montessori education and learning design and technology.

Gary Wrinkle

Jaime Clarke

Serena St. Clair

Serena Ota St. Clair, Ph.D. is currently the Pathways Coordinator at Rogue Community College in Southern Oregon.  Her work centers on developing curriculum and partnerships with universities, area high schools, adult education programs, workforce agencies, industry and employers in order to create meaningful programs that encourage students to continue their education in college in preparation for meaningful careers that pay a living wage and beyond. Her passion centers on transformational leadership, access to education, navigating systems, and the concept of being a lifelong learner.

Teaching and Assessing Transportable Skills

Michelle Gough

Following many years of experience serving as General Counsel to multiple state education agencies and teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses on American Public School Law, Dr. Michelle Gough possesses a uniquely authoritative understanding of federal, state, and local education laws and regulations. As lead counsel to various agencies – including the Indiana Charter School Board, Indiana State Board of Education, and Indiana Department of Education – she regularly provided guidance in the areas of special education, assessment, equity, and school quality. At PLTW as Senior Vice President and Chief Legal and Assessment Officer, Michelle is responsible for the organization's legal affairs, as well as the development and administration of PLTW assessments, ensuring that they are not only valid, but provide tremendous value to students, teachers, and institutions of higher learning. Michelle is an active advocate and researcher in education policy and has published and made numerous national and local presentations on topics such as assessment validity and ethics, student and teacher civil rights, intellectual property, and data security in the education sector. She has served as a School Quality Reviewer on behalf of the State Board of Education and was a 2016 gubernatorial appointee to the panel to study alternatives to the ISTEP Program Test, on which she helped develop a recommendation for a statewide assessment program to meet the needs of students, parents, and educators. Michelle also served as a Commissioner with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission from 2014- 16, and served as the co-chair to the education subcommittee for the Your Life Matters Task Force, which was a bi-partisan task force designed improve outcomes for Indianapolis youth. In 2014, Michelle received the Education Law Association’s Joseph C. Beckham Dissertation of the Year Award for her research.

Dustin Hutchinson

Dustin brings over a decade of experience in information security, risk management, and regulatory compliance to Pondurance. His prior work history includes healthcare compliance, risk assessments, policy development, and cyber security analytics. With tangible industry experience, Dustin understands client hardships and how to recommend processes, all while speaking the client’s language. He earned his PhD, MBA, and BS from IUPUI, Indiana Wesleyan, and Capella. Outside of Pondurance, Dustin teaches classes on Linux, Microsoft, cyber security, and legal issues as an adjunct professor at Ivy Tech, Sullivan University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and three children.

Satish Subramanian

Satish is a graduate from the University of Michigan, with a fellowship from the Ross School of Business, a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering, a Bachelors Degree in Materials Science & Engineering, and a minor in Electrical Engineering. After college, Satish joined Bosch’s Leadership Development Program, where he worked in supply chain roles across the US and Germany. He is currently the marketing manager for Dremel DigiLab’s 3D printer and Laser Cutter portfolio at Bosch. With a diverse and somewhat disjointed educational experience, Satish is now looking to help positively shape the educational experience so that every student is prepared and feels prepared for the real world, regardless of what career path they ultimately decide to pursue.

Interactive Session: Why Should We Start Talking to Kids about Careers in Kindergarten?

Ed Hildago

Day 3: Friday, May 10th

10:00-10:45am

Dallas County Promise: A Deeper Dive

 (Bios available on speakers main page)

California’s Linked Learning Alliance: A Deeper Dive

Anne Stanton

Matin Ebdel-Qawi

Rebecca Larocque

Daphannie Stephens

Taking the Promise of Career-Connected Learning to Scale: A Deeper Dive

Abigail Smith

Abigail Smith is a partner in the San Francisco office of Bain & Company. She has nearly 15 years of management consulting experience and is a core leader of Bain’s Social Impact Education practice. Abby works with a wide range of Social Impact education clients including districts, charters, universities, human capital organizations, and education technology companies. She also advises private equity investors on education sector transactions. Abby has co-authored two education reports; Transforming Schools: How distributed leadership can create more high-performing schools and Making the Leap: How to take the promise of career-connected learning to scale.  Abby is the Board Chair of the Berkeley Public Schools Fund. Prior to Bain, she was a math teacher at a large urban high school. She received her BA from Dartmouth College and her MBA from Tuck School of Business.

Ryan Gensler

Ryan Gensler is the Director of National Partnerships for CareerWise Colorado, working to expand youth apprenticeship across the US. He received his bachelor’s in entrepreneurial management and marketing from Creighton University and was the first recipient of the Creighton Entrepreneurial Student Leader of the Year Award. He later became Marketing Manager and Director of Community Engagement for Intertech Plastics. Ryan was then contracted by the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Alliance to build workforce development programs across Colorado. This led Ryan to manage the startup of CareerWise Colorado, a systemic approach to youth apprenticeships, akin to the Swiss VET System. Additionally, he helped build Governor Hickenlooper’s Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission and organized the Governor’s apprenticeship delegation to Switzerland. After running a gubernatorial campaign, Ryan went on to consult with various nonprofit and government organizations on workforce development initiatives, including raising over $4M for the State of Colorado and developing a 20-state network focused on skills in the digital economy, before returning to CareerWise to lead national growth efforts. Ryan has been on the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado Young Professionals Board since 2013 and is an appointed member of the American Swiss Foundation’s Young Leaders Conference. He enjoys traveling with his family and friends, skiing, cooking, and camping.

 

Marc Casale

Debbie Hughes

Debbie Hughes is a Senior Strategist at Entangled Solutions. She has been working in workforce and talent development for 14 years, engaging with businesses, employers, colleges and universities, state and federal agencies to define, translate, and align highest demand workforce needs with education solutions to develop the workforce of the future. She has written numerous thought leadership reports related to the workforce needs for the digital economy, with specific expertise in areas such as cybersecurity, data science and analytics, artificial intelligence, media and broadcast engineering, water science, cloud, and AR/VR. She has worked with C-level executives from fortune 500 companies across the financial services, manufacturing, aerospace, technology, retail, agriculture, and healthcare sectors. Her work has led to the development of over 50 new industry-recognized college credentials, as well as the go-to process and infrastructure for employers and education providers developing strategic partnerships. Debbie has been leading the Virginia Governor’s Smart and Connected Communities Working Group, is a Board Member of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness, and Economic Prosperity (CICEP), as well as serves as the Co-Chair for the Asia Pacific Economic Council’s Project DARE – Data Analytics Raising Employment, creating consensus around the world on how to build the analytics abilities companies will need for the future of work. Prior to Entangled, Debbie was an executive at the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) for 7 years, working with CEOs and university presidents to address the most pressing talent issues of our time. She led projects on behalf of federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, and numerous corporate and private philanthropies.

11:00-11:45am

Providing High Quality Career Development Technology

Todd Bloom

Todd Bloom has extensive experience providing leadership and strategic development services to education entrepreneurs, institutions, state departments and research organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in education leadership and policy studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves as founder and CEO of Blueprint Education Group, an education consulting firm.  Todd is also a Research Associate Professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.  Throughout his career, Todd has served in various leadership roles in education organizations and institutions.

Phillip Hardin

Philip Hardin is CEO of YouScience, a one of-a-kind career discovery profile designed to help students better understand their natural abilities, broaden awareness of career opportunities, and make more informed decisions about their individual pathway from education to career. Prior to helping found YouScience, Mr. Hardin helped transform a small technology firm called ActaMed into the nation’s largest financial and administrative information exchange company: Change Healthcare. Throughout his 17-year tenure at the company, which has previously operated under the name WebMD Corp and Emdeon, Inc., Mr. Hardin spearheaded product and business development efforts. He led the company’s $500 million provider business segment, and played an integral role in the company’s growth from startup to a company with more than $1.3 billion in revenue. Mr. Hardin holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and a Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University, where he specialized in technology management as an RJ Miller scholar. Mr. Hardin and his wife Adele have been married for 25 years. They have four children.

Ryan Hoch

Mari Kent

Sabari Raja

Sabari is the co-founder of fast growing edtech company, Nepris Inc (www.nepris.com), a first of its kind cloud-based platform connecting industry and education to inspire students through real world connections and career exposure.  She has worked in education technology for 18 years leading product and content strategy, business development, publisher relations, and emerging market growth strategies. She is passionate about working with educators to translate their needs into scalable technology solutions. She is on board of Friends of Texas Public schools (FOTPS), the business advisory board at Texas education Agency(TEA) and on the Champions board of Texas Girls Collaborative and has a special interest in engaging girls and minorities in STEM. She also speaks on the topic of entrepreneurship and education technology at such venues as SXSWEdu, TEDx, Smartbrief and TCEA. Sabari has an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from India, Masters in Computer Science from Louisiana State University and an Executive MBA from Cox School of Business, SMU. She lives in Austin, Texas and is also a busy mom with 2 boys in middle school.  

Promoting Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

Mari Watanabe

Kurt Jun

Kurt Jun joined PGE in January 2014 as a corporate strategist and senior consultant for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Kurt serves as an expert matter consultant and collaborates with internal and external partners and stakeholders to advance equity, diversity and inclusion as a shared value throughout the organization and region. For more than 25 years, Kurt has served as a principal consultant, developing corporate strategies and programs to ensure an organization-wide commitment to eliminate institutional disparities and to promote equity, diversity and inclusion across each organization. His extensive experience in diversity, equity and inclusion program development includes working with public education systems, private sectors, healthcare industry, local, city and federal government organizations and a host of international and global networks.

Riikka Salonen

Jerry Myers

Using Career Development to Create Better Pathways for Opportunity/ At Risk Young Adults

Keli Thorne Ladd

Kali is a social entrepreneur who is a passionate advocate for equity and education transformation with a background that spans from teacher to program manager to policy maker over the last 18 years. After spending 4 years as Education Director for Former Mayor Sam Adams, Kali pursued establishing and co-founding KairosPDX, a non-profit dedicated to closing opportunity and achievement gaps for historically marginalized children. In May 2012, Kali won election to the Portland Community College Board of Directors. She currently Chairs the board. In 2016, Kali was appointed by Governor Brown to the Early Learning Council of Oregon where she also currently serves. In addition to her national work, Kali has worked overseas in South Africa teaching and supporting the development of two community based projects: a community library and women-owned bakery. This year Kali was recognized as a 2018 Women of Influence in Portland’s Business Journal and was previously awarded Portland’s 40 under 40 recognition. Kali resides in North Portland with her husband and two young children. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Boston College and earned a Master’s Degree in Education Policy from Harvard University.

Rita Musello-Kelliher

Marcy Breadley

Ashley Martinez

Ce Airah Jenkins

Serena Stroudamire Wesley