Area manufacturers gather to celebrate manufacturing

Keynote speaker will be Amy Walstien, executive director of Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, who will be speaking on “New Opportunities in Employment-Based Training.” Admission is $15 per person and includes a continental breakfast. Register and learn more by visiting Space is limited.

Walstien leads an organization representing over 330 members dedicated to driving success for the manufacturing industry. She has spent over 17 years at the intersection of law and politics as an attorney, government relations professional, policy adviser, and legislative staffer. Previously, Walstien served as the director of Education & Workforce Development Policy and Elections for the Minnesota Chamber of Chamber. In her advocacy roles, Walstien has played a key part in developing the PIPELINE Project, standing for private investment, public education, labor and industry experience, the new Youth Skills Training Program, and other business-education initiatives. The Minnesota PIPELINE Program is an innovative approach to address current and future workforce needs. It serves as a catalyst for developing industry-based, employer-driven, dual-training programs throughout the state, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported.

Central Lakes College President Hara Charlier will kick off the event. AVANTECH President Tom Innis will introduce Walstien. Matt Kilian, president of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, will moderate a panel of local manufacturing leaders who will share insights on building a workforce for today and the future. What are their successes? What’s keeping them up at night? How do we meet the challenges that lie ahead? This panel includes: Sarah Barrett, vice president of operations and quality control, Barrett Petfood Innovation; Tim Walker, training & development specialist, Pequot Tool & Manufacturing; Mike Dillon, general manager, Lexington Manufacturing; and Matt Sundquist, general manager, Graphic Packaging International.

Sheila Haverkamp, executive director of the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation, will offer closing remarks.

Guided tours of CLC’s manufacturing-related education and training facilities will follow this breakfast event.

“Good Morning, Manufacturing!” is one of many activities occurring during Minnesota’s annual Manufacturing Week, Oct. 1 – 7, 2017. The event is sponsored by the Lakes Area Manufacturing Alliance, with support from Dream It. Do It. Minnesota, the Bridges Career Academies & Workplace Connection, the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce, and the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation.


Minnesota Manufacturing Week

Minnesota Manufacturing Week is Oct. 1-7 as public officials and private industry work to raise awareness of the importance of the manufacturing sector.

Go to to test your knowledge of Minnesota manufacturing at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website.


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