September 12, 2023|12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (ET)

Leadership Exchange: Building the Future Workforce

  • Location: FABTECH Theater / Lakeside Ballroom

With the nature of work changing so fast, transforming your workforce is necessary in ensuring that advanced manufacturing and innovation supports technological competitiveness and drives product and process improvements. This requires a highly skilled workforce. The manufacturing industry faces challenges not only from skills gaps but also a shrinking workforce. The FABTECH panel of experts will share some key take-ways industry leaders can develop to secure future opportunities.


Jeannine Kunz

Chief Workforce Development Officer


Connie King

Director Workforce Development


Edward C. Dernulc

Director – Foundation


Monica Pfarr

Executive Director

AWS Foundation

Lara Threet

Program Coordinator & Instructor, Industrial Technology

Mississippi State University

Event Speakers

Jeannine Kunz

Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME

Jeannine Kunz is the chief workforce development officer at SME, including the leadership responsibility for Tooling U-SME, the learning and development arm of SME, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the manufacturing industry. There, she leads a team dedicated to the ongoing education and training of the workforce. A recognized expert in the field of learning and development, Kunz is at the forefront of workforce management issues, providing forward-thinking learning and development solutions for companies, academia and individuals. She is deeply knowledgeable about the challenges facing the manufacturing workforce and provides guidance on best practices for designing, developing and implementing performance-based development strategies in today’s advanced manufacturing environments. Her work directly addresses industry dynamics related to people’s knowledge and skills in manufacturing. Under Kunz’s direction, Tooling U-SME is an innovative pioneer in 21st-century learning, from online classes and virtual reality labs to traditional instructor-led training. Additionally, the organization has developed and implemented competency-based occupational apprenticeship programs, several of which have been endorsed by the Department of Labor and is a nationally recognized certifying body in manufacturing for over 50 years.

Connie King

Director Workforce Development, PMA

Prior to joining PMA in May of 2022, King served as the director of professional development for Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, OH, where she created and delivered original, competency-based learning programs for external organizations and university employees. Connie also previously worked for the University of Akron as a manager of business solutions, where she developed and implemented internal and external organizational development programs, and created community, industry-based consortiums for assessing and satisfying skills demands. Before her higher education career, Connie worked in a variety of corporate and entrepreneurial positions which included expertise in marketing, trade show/events management, publishing, and training and development.

Edward C. Dernulc

Director – Foundation, FMA

Ed Dernulc joined Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs in March of 2018 as the Director of the Foundation. Prior to joining NBT, Ed has had a 22-year career in banking in the wealth management area for Chicagoland banks such as Northern Trust, LaSalle Bank, Harris Bank and Amcore. In 2007, he went into the fund-raising arena, joining the Alexian Brothers Hospital Foundation where he served for six years.  He has served as the Executive Director of the Norwegian American Hospital Foundation before joining NBT. Ed has a M.B.A in Business Administration from Dominican University in River Forest, IL where he was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. He has his B.S. in Finance from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He has served on the operating board for Lutheran General Hospital, he currently sits on the advisory council for Dominican University’s Brennan School of Business and is a board member for the Backyard Experience in Schaumburg, IL.

Monica Pfarr

Executive Director, AWS Foundation

Ms. Pfarr was named the Executive Director of the AWS Foundation in September 2017.  She previously served as Corporate Director for Workforce Development with the Foundation and Principal Investigator for Weld-Ed, the National Center for Welding Education and Training, located at Lorain County Community College since 2008.  Prior to joining AWS, Ms. Pfarr spent 6 years at Sinclair Community College leading their manufacturing workforce development efforts.  In her 12-year career at General Motors, Ms. Pfarr held numerous positions of increasing responsibility, including Manufacturing Training Manager and Superintendent of Production.

Lara Threet

Program Coordinator & Instructor, Industrial Technology, Mississippi State University

Ms. Threet is the Program Coordinator and instructor for the Industrial Technology program at Mississippi State University. She is a three-time graduate of MSU – Bachelor’s in Industrial Technology with a concentration in Distribution, Bachelor’s in Marketing, and a Master’s in Instructional Technology with a concentration in Distance Education. She is currently working on her Doctorate of Technology through Purdue University. Ms. Threet is responsible for curriculum updates, recruitment, freshman advising, and serving as a liaison for the program to both the University as well as external communities.

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