Joseph A. “Joe” Kann
Cobble Creek Solutions
Joe Kann is president of Cobble Creek Solutions, a consulting and advisory practice that helps businesses and their investors develop new growth opportunities at the intersection of industrial markets and emerging technologies. Kann joined Rockwell Automation in 1986 as part of its Advanced Technology Laboratory. He worked in a progression of research, commercial and business leadership roles, gaining a variety of global market experiences across a broad range of manufacturing segments. As vice president of Global Business Development, Kann grew the role from a single advisory position to a team of over 40 professionals responsible for driving the company’s strategy development processes, managing strategic partnering programs and supporting acquisitions. He facilitated cross-functional teams in the development of key growth initiatives including machine safety, industrial networking and the “internet of things”; regional initiatives in Europe, Asia and Latin America; and expansions in industries such as oil, gas and mining. Kann and his team oversaw more than 140 partnerships including strategic alliances with Cisco, AT&T, Microsoft and industrial market leaders Fanuc, Endress + Hauser and Panduit, supporting the pursuit and execution of over a dozen acquisitions around the world. He retired from Rockwell in 2017 and subsequently formed Cobble Creek Solutions. His outside activities include serving on the Advisory Board for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Previous activities include acting as senior advisor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Industry Working Group for the internet of things, and while at Rockwell, managing the University Partner Program. Kann holds a bachelor’s degree in general engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in manufacturing systems engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was elected to the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors in 2018 and currently chairs its Strategic Planning Committee. SME Member Since 1984
Frank W. Ervin III
Piston Group LLC
Frank Ervin has more than 35 years of experience in government relations, public policy, legislative and regulatory legislation, and rulemaking. Additionally, he has worked to build global business structures in the U.S. and abroad, including Mexico, Japan, South America, Europe and Asia involving a variety of customers. Ervin has led the government relations and business development units of the major automobile manufacturers and Tier 1, 2 and 3 automotive suppliers worldwide. In 2018, he was named to the newly created position of group vice president – government affairs at Piston Group LLC where he is responsible for the organization's government relations and economic development activities. Prior to joining the Piston Group, Ervin served as vice president of specialized minority business enterprise services and executive director of the Detroit Minority Business Development Agency Center at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, overseeing all aspects of the development minority businesses including MBE certification. Previously, he had been the senior director – government affairs at Magna International where he worked with all its business units on matters involving and needing legislative and regulatory relations assistance. Ervin was also responsible for building and maintaining positive company relations with members of Congress, state and local legislators, and officials and their staff to help create a positive leadership image and business climate for Magna International Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in international business. Ervin is also a Vietnam veteran, as part of his service with the U.S. Navy. He has also served on various boards of directors, such as The Organization for International Investment, Oakland County (MI) Workforce Development and Southeastern Michigan United Way. Presently, Ervin served as a director with the Western Golf Evans Scholarship Foundation.
John F. Miller
Siemens Digital Industries Software
John Miller is senior vice president of mainstream engineering software for Siemens Digital Industries Software. In this role, he is responsible for leading the company’s go-to-market efforts for mainstream engineering products, including Solid Edge and Femap (advanced engineering simulation application), on a global basis. Miller works in partnership with sales, products and marketing to target and develop strategic and geographic growth opportunities in this market. He has more than 23 years’ experience in PLM software. Miller joined the company from Electronic Data Systems where he completed the Engineering Systems Engineer Program and chose to work with Unigraphics for his first full-time assignment. Miller has since held several positions within Siemens Digital Industries Software, most recently serving as vice president of strategy. In that role, he was responsible for establishing strategic context for the business unit globally, business planning, market intelligence, the company’s partner ecosystem, pricing and packaging along with providing coordination of business activities across Siemens Digital Industries Software’s business segments and with digital factory division leadership. Miller holds a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering systems from Kettering University (formerly GMI) and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Michigan. He joined the SME Education Foundation in 2015 and serves on its Workforce Development and Strategic Planning committees. SME Member Since 2015
Adam Claytor is the CEO and president of Coltrane Logistics, a company he founded in 2019, which offers logistics and warehouse services for the automotive, food/beverage, industrial, agriculture, consumer products and defense industries whose mission is to provide high-paying jobs and internships to area minority communities. Claytor began his career as a business analyst with Nelson Global Products, a designer, manufacturer and distributer of a diverse portfolio of thermal management, acoustic, air and fluid mechanics, and structural solutions. In 2015, he joined TAG Holdings LLC, a holding company whose mission is to create a pipeline of minority entrepreneurs by acquiring and growing manufacturing companies and developing ownership opportunities. As a senior lead analyst and advisor to the chairman and CEO and COO and president, his responsibilities included leading new joint venture business development, strategic partnerships and acquisitions, strategic planning, marketing management, and OEM and supply-chain customer relationship management. Claytor continues to serve as an advisor to the chairman and CEO. In 2019, he was named to the Motor City “Twenty to Watch” sponsored by the Michigan Congressional Black Caucus Delegation to honor industry and community leaders. Before building his business career, Claytor competed as a caddie on the PGA Tour and was a program coordinator for The First Tee of Columbus, a nonprofit he personally benefited from as a youth that provides educational programs to build character, teach life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Claytor holds a bachelor’s degree in economics management from Ohio Wesleyan University. He was a four-year varsity golf letter recipient and championship golf competitor. Claytor also serves as a board member for The First Tee of Greater Detroit and The Greater Cleveland Junior Golf Scholarship fund. He was elected to the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors in 2020.
Valerie I. Freeman
Washington Park High School
Valerie Freeman, a manufacturing and robotics pathway teacher at Washington Park High School in Racine, Wisconsin, came to this career in a somewhat unconventional path. Once a native of Pontiac, Michigan, Freeman decided to attend Tennessee State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering. After completing school and working in her field of study, Freeman and her family relocated to Racine, Wisconsin. Once acclimated to Racine, Freeman started an after-school tutoring program in the inner city of Racine at her local church to help students with their STEM classes. The program grew to also help adults earn their GED; it was this program where Freeman found her love of teaching. While Freeman helped many students achieve their goals, she was constantly told by their parents that her talents could serve more young people as a full-time teacher. Hesitant at first, Freeman completed and submitted the application and was hired by Racine Unified School District in 2014. She recently won RUSD’s Encore Award for teaching excellence.
Wayne F. Frost, LSME, CMfgE
Deere & Co. (retired)
Wayne Frost retired as a senior engineer at the John Deere Waterloo Works where he was responsible for the development and review of new product quality plans and the integration of IT quality systems within Deere. During his over 40 years at John Deere Waterloo Works, Frost held positions of increasing responsibility and leadership, including general supervisor quality assurance where he was responsible for the management of all the quality activities in support of the drivetrain heat treat and machining operations and as a Deere production system project engineer. From 1988 to 2003, Frost served in various SME chapter and region leadership positions. He has spent 12 years on the SME Board of Directors, serving as SME president in 2015, and in 2014, was SME’s interim CEO for six months. Frost joined the SME Education Foundation as a director in 2018 and currently serves on its Fundraising and Scholarship committees. He also served on the SME PRIME Advisory Committee for Cedar Falls High School. Frost holds a master’s degree in engineering technology from the University of Northern Iowa. SME Member Since 1983
Andrew M. "Andy" Jones
Seizert Capital Partners
Andy Jones joined Seizert Capital Partners as an investment analyst in September 2009 and became a portfolio manager in June 2012. From August 2008 until joining Seizert Capital Partners, Jones had been employed with Wells Fargo Advisors as a financial advisor in East Lansing, Michigan. He also served as a financial analyst for GMAC Financial Services from April 2007 through August 2008 in Detroit. Prior to joining GMAC, Jones was employed by Douglas C. Lane and Associates Inc., a registered investment advisory firm, located in New York City for a period of three years. Jones received a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in economics from Bucknell University in 2004.
Robby Komljenovic joined Acieta as chairman and CEO in 2017. Originally born and educated in Germany, Komljenovic has 34+ years of experience in the machine tool systems industry, serving in leadership positions for almost two decades. Armed with a strong technical background in mechanical and application engineering, he quickly learned the importance of effective business development and culture-based leadership. After moving to the U.S. in 1993, Komljenovic quickly adapted to the American business culture and learned how to manage domestic and global sales expectations, as well as deliver positive P&L results. He has served in several executive roles in three different German machine tool companies located here in the USA. His proven team leadership track record and expertise continues to lead Acieta's relentless drive to deliver cutting-edge automation systems, making manufacturing businesses more competitive in both local and global markets. Throughout his career, Komljenovic has and continues to serve on volunteer boards and committees such as the German American Chamber of Commerce and the Association for Advanced Manufacturing Technology. SME Member Since 2017
Arthur F. McClellan Jr.
Arthur McClellan is head of supplier diversity for Valeo, a major Tier I automotive supplier. Over the course of his career, he has held a variety of positions including managing partner at Diversity In Promotions; director of business development at Rickman Enterprise Group; purchasing manager at General Motors; supplier diversity manager at General Motors; senior buyer at General Motors; purchasing director at the City of Pontiac; and vice president of Land Acquisition at the Farbman Group. McClellan served as a city councilman for the City of Pontiac from 2003-09. He was elected president of the Pontiac City Council by his colleagues and served in this position from 2006-09. McClellan is currently a member of the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County, CARE House of Oakland County, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, Pontiac Alumni Foundation and Detroit Community Schools. He attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in general studies. McClellan continued his educational pursuits at the University of Michigan and graduated with a master’s degree in urban planning followed by an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Chris Rake is the vice president of programs for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a nonprofit dedicated to advancing STEM education using mentor- based research and robotics programs that build science, engineering and technology skills. Rake is a champion of growth for FIRST programs worldwide. He and the programs’ team are responsible for the strategic planning and development of the overall content and experience of FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition, including hosting two annual World Championships. Prior to joining FIRST, Rake had 19 years of experience leading complex cross-team architectures and initiatives in the areas of data acquisition, embedded control and industrial systems as a chief engineer at NI. His background includes board-level design, programmable logic design, firmware design, manufacturing test software design and project management. Outside of work, Rake volunteers as a mentor with FIRST and as a unit leader with the Boy Scouts of America. He received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, with highest honors, from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Schunk Carbon Technology
Kyle Riegel has spent the first nine years of his career within the wind industry where he is involved in design of products, research and development, and sales and field support. He is currently a field sales engineer with Schunk Carbon Technology focusing on providing advanced carbon solutions for power generations systems. Within his local community, Riegel serves on the Loras College engineering board, advisory council at the University of Northern Iowa’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology program and the Cedar Falls STEM Advisory Council. From 2018-20, he was a representative on the SME Member Council, is an active member of SME Waterloo Chapter 186 and was the recipient of the 2008 SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship recipient. SME Member Since 2008
Joseph A. "Joe" Tate
Michigan House of Representatives
Joe Tate is serving his first term as state representative for Michigan’s 2nd House District, a diverse community that covers part of Detroit’s Lower East Side, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe City and Grosse Pointe Farms. Tate decided to run for this office as a part of his deep and lifelong commitment to public service. The value of service was taught to him through his parents — a teacher in the Detroit public school system and a Detroit firefighter. His life has been shaped by teamwork, commitment and community. As a teenager, Tate earned a scholarship to play football at Michigan State University before joining the National Football League. After the NFL, he went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, deploying twice to Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. After an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he earned both an MBA and a master’s degree in environmental policy and planning from the University of Michigan. Before joining the legislature, Tate helped small businesses grow their capacity as a program manager for the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.
Human Asset Management
Marion Wells is the founder of Human Asset Management, which focuses on talent development, organizational strategies, program management, and sales and marketing improvement for small-to-midsize manufactures. HAM offers clients an incredible breadth and depth of experience using continuous improvement process tools to drive change in program management and sales and marketing. HAM’s strategies result in manufacturing clients building and strengthening their talent pipeline, their organization and their customer relationships. Wells is a passionate speaker and presents at various manufacturing industry conferences on how to improve workforce culture. Previously, as director of business development, she supported and executed the growth strategy for Harbour Results. During this time, Wells demonstrated the ability to prospect, cultivate and develop new business with laser focus on deliverables. She has diverse experience in manufacturing, purchasing, strategic sales and engineering. Wells is experienced in developing and executing sales strategies that increase revenue, market positioning and brand equity. She has been recognized as a highly productive dependable and efficient customer relationship facilitator. Wells began her career in engineering with Arcelor Mittal Steel (formerly, Inland Steel Industries). At Inland Steel, where she spent 17 years, Wells held over 10 different positions including production, quality, technical services, customer service, research and product development, account sales and new business development and marketing. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a focus on metallurgical engineering. Wells also has postgraduate experience from Northwestern University. She served on the board of directors of the Automotive Women Alliance Foundation and currently serves on its Executive Advisory Council. Wells joined West Michigan Tool and Die’s board of directors in March of 2019, serves as chair of WMTD’s Corporate Governance Committee and is a member of its Management Committee. She was appointed to “MoldMaking Technology” magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. Wells is a regular industry speaker at a manufacturing conference on the issue of workforce development, diversity and inclusion and talent retention.
CNC Software Inc.
Meghan West is president and CEO of CNC Software Inc., makers of Mastercam software, the most widely used computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) system in the market. West earned her bachelor's degree in business from Bentley College and an MBA in management from Hawaii Pacific University. She grew up around CAD/CAM and gained valuable job experience inside and outside of the manufacturing industry before officially joining CNC Software in 2009 as operations manager. In 2014, SME named West one of the “30 Under 30: Future Leaders of Manufacturing.” In April 2015, she was named president of CNC Software Inc. West and her executive team are committed to exploring innovative solutions in the industry and operating in full support of their mission: “To create software and services that solve the world’s manufacturing challenges.” Just five years later, in 2020, the “Hartford Courant” named West the number one leader in mid-sized businesses in the Hartford, Connecticut, region. In addition, West has been named a 2020 honoree for Influential Women in Manufacturing by Putman Media.