More than 100 Manufacturers and HR Professionals attend Maryland’s first Manufacturing Workforce Innovation Conference 

On June 8th, over 100 members of Maryland’s manufacturing community gathered at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel to discuss best practices, and industry trends to solve current and future workforce challenges at Maryland MEP’s first Manufacturing Workforce Innovation Conference.  

Geared towards Maryland manufacturing leaders and HR professionals, the day’s agenda featured two keynote speakers, nine breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Attendees learned from and engaged in meaningful conversations with industry experts around various workforce-related topics including: 

  • Compensation and Benefitspresented by Jake Stebbins & Barabara Belivacqua, TriNet USA and Ryan Helwig, TEConomy Partners 
  • Recruitmentpresented by Erin Moran, Dr. Nancy Grasmick Leadership Institute, Towson University 
  • Retirement and Retentionpresented by Becky Kemp, Maryland MEP 
  • Culturepresented by David Rae, Catalyst Connection and Mike Kelleher, Maryland MEP 
  • Employment Law and Compliancepresented by Parker Theoni, Shawe Rosenthal LLP 
  • Talent Attractionpresented by Keith Miller, Strategic Factory and Mary Steinbrunner,  Dunlop Protective Footwear 
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusionpresented by Scott Phillips, Baltimore MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center, April Richardson, Food Opportunity LLC and Andrew Sherman,  American Bully Manufacturing 
  • Leadershippresented by Laurie Maddalena, Envision Excellence 
  • Technologypresented by Phil Tulkoff, Tulkoff Food Products and Don Bolton, MANTEC 

During the morning keynote presentation, Cathy Reese, Head Coach of the University of Maryland Women’s Lacrosse team, spoke to the audience about the importance of culture in relation to building a winning team.  Standing as the all-time winningest coach in Maryland women’s lacrosse history, leading the Terps to five National Championships, 11 Final Fours and 20 Conference Championships in 15 years as head coach. Coach Reese drew parallels to the current manufacturing workforce landscape by sharing insights into how she motivates her players and attracts new talent through passion, leadership and culture, resulting in an environment where athletes perform. 

Headlining the event as the lunchtime keynote and building off the energy created by Coach Reese was Ryan Jenkins, a Generations Keynote Speaker, Millennial and Gen Z Author, and Workplace Loneliness Expert. Through an interactive and thought-provoking keynote presentation, Jenkins offered his insight on the lasting effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the sudden and forced remote work in 2020 feelings of isolation and loneliness among employees have been on the rise and contribute to a real and growing mental health problem that affects both individuals and organizations. Jenkins spoke about how finding practical, effective solutions can transform an isolated workforce to one that’s happier, more engaged, and more productive in their efforts. 

The day wrapped up with a panel discussion featuring session presenters and industry experts that gave the attendees an opportunity to ask questions and dive deeper into some of the information presented throughout the day. Following the panel discussion, attendees networked and continued conversations about all they had heard and learned.  

Special thanks to our sponsors – TriNet USA, Strategic Factory, Frederick County Office of Economic Development, Maryland Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, Envision Excellence, Shawe Rosenthal LLC, Go-Lean-Six, and Express Employment Professionals, as well as the attendees and our strategic partners who made this first Maryland Manufacturing Workforce Innovation Conference a success!