2022 Wrap Up

The conference was held from 9:00 am to 4:00 PM to Wednesday, November 23, 2022 at the Best Western Stoneridge Inn, 6675 Burtwistle Lane, London, Ontario. Hosted by the Western Ontario Wardens’ Cacus (WOWC) and committee members from the Four County Labour Market Planning Board, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board, Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board & Literacy Network, and the Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board.

Discussions around best practices and opportunities were discussed amongst peers from a variety of regions and communities. With over 100 registered to attend and a great line up of speakers the committee has deemed the conference a hit! We thank our speakers, partners, funders and all of those who attended and participated in the discussions for your support in making this a success.

Great job to the organizing team on a wonderfully executed conference!

Great flow of agenda; easy to listen and learn; great resources! Bravo!

Keynote Speaker:
Jim Estill, President and CEO Danby Appliances

Jim Estill is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. He grew his first business from zero to $2 Billion in sales. He currently is owner and CEO of Danby Appliances since 2015. He has sponsored over 500 refugees and helped them successfully settle in Canada. Success is defined as People Working, Speaking English, Some Degree of Integration and Giving Back. He has received an Order of Ontario, Order of Canada and an honorary PhD in laws from the University of Guelph for his business and charitable contributions to Canada

BIOS and Panel Speaker Presentations

Mike Kloepfer, President, Titan Trailers

“The Only Way To Change The Future Is To Invent It” With this thought in mind, Mike Kloepfer set out to change the future of truck transportation. Combining his well-honed metal fabrication skills with a restless mind and uncompromising personal standards, Mike established Titan Trailers in his home town of Harley, Ontario, in 1973. In his mind, building and selling trailers would never be enough to call Titan a success. The goal has always been to find a better way to build, and a better way to solve problems for customers.

David Holmes, Business Development, Titan Trailers

Titan Trailers Inc. is known as a world-class innovation leader in the transportation industry, long recognized for job-specific functionality and attention to manufacturing detail. With the patented THINWALL™ extruded aluminum panel, Titan has made an indelible mark on the trailer industry; other manufacturers have developed their own extruded aluminum smoothside panel, but none have matched the original THINWALL™ trailer for strength, durability, load capacity and fuel efficiency.

Stephen Loftus, CEO Innovative Automation Group of Companies

Stephen Loftus is the CEO and one of the founding partners of Innovative Automation of Barrie, Ontario. With the creation of the RobTape® Business Unit and the Acquisition of MecSmart Systems Inc. along with Innovative Automation, we have formed the Innovative Group. In 2014 Steve set the company off on a new path of rapid growth that has exceeded all expectations. From just 55 employees in 2014 to the currently near 200 full-time employees at this time working out of a new 88,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Barrie and a 35,000 square foot facility in Newmarket ON, the Innovative Group has positioned itself to be the first-choice provider of automation solutions to global leaders in manufacturing. Stephen has always maintained a belief in building machines that add value based on the latest technology to reduce total cost of ownership. The integration of the newest technology requires a constant investment in the skill enhancement of all Innovators.

Justin Falconer, CEO Workforce Windsor Essex

Justin joined the Workforce WindsorEssex team in January 2016 as Manager of Intergovernmental Partnerships and was later promoted to Senior Director in 2019, then CEO in 2020. Justin leads the organization’s public communications and employment planning work, including spearheading the WE Data Tools initiative. His work on WE Data Tools, an online platform of job search, career development, and community data tools, as well as a series of reports and analytics, has been implemented in all communities across Ontario. This important data helps inform employment planning in ways that were previously unavailable.

Nicholas Manglal-lan, Interim Executive Director, Launch Pad YATC

Nicholas graduated from the University of Guelph with Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies in addition to receiving a Diploma in Communication and Media Studies from Humber College. 
He sits on the Regional Advisory Committee for Bruce County to better improve and diversify the SSM program and give feedback regarding employment for youth focused issues. He also sits on the Vital Signs Advisory committee for Community Foundations of Grey Bruce to combat the living conditions of rural areas with a focus on housing
His goal and aspiration are to learn more about sponsorships and aligning community partners and the Non-Profit Industry as a whole to better serve the youth in his community and shape their futures by giving them quality learning through experiences at Launch Pad.

Kayla Han, Co-founder and CEO Rural and Ready

The Rural and Ready Co-founder and CEO, Kayla Han, is a recent university graduate sharing her student experience as a rural student amongst her urban city peers. Her work has emphasized the disparities within the rural and urban achievement gap and how rural students can be better equipped with the support to elevate their strengths. During the pandemic in her undergraduate years at Wilfrid Laurier University, Kayla has noticed that students have not received similar resources, services and supports that students from urban cities may attain in terms of work and academic experiences. With her colleague, Heather Taylor, they have developed Rural and Ready as a federal non-profit in 2021 to focus on providing youth-to-youth support in developing career-ready skills for a constantly evolving workforce and leadership skills to attain the soft skills that youth need today.
The Rural and Ready team has been able to facilitate peer-to-peer workshops, allocate resources based on geographical areas and interests as well as rural student mentorship. Their partnership with the Thames Valley District School Board and Employment Ontario is continuing to work towards workshop projects for students in-person for the 2022-2023 school year. Throughout her adventure with Rural and Ready, Kayla has also been recently recognized as the Youth Citizen/ Youth Entrepreneur of the year award from the Ingersoll Chamber of Commerce for her continuous efforts to inspire youth.

Alexandra Colby, Operations Lead, Prosperity Roundtable, Building Youth Futures Chatham – Kent

Alexandra joined the Prosperity Roundtable as a chef and youth mentor working with young people in February of 2021. Since joining the team, Alexandra has proven invaluable not only in building strong relationships with young people who access our employment programs, but also in becoming lead of operations for the Prosperity
Roundtable. In her role, she has successfully executed and delivered various youth employment and education programs that shift the narrative on how organizations can effectively empower young people to become employment-ready and in fact leaders in our local economy to continue its upward trends. As operations lead, Alex has also facilitated various conversations with young people on employment expectations, challenges, and successes that has led to invaluable insights into how young people understand and view current employment trends, especially in the trades, and how they see themselves entering the local economy in Chatham- Kent, ON. Her experience, expertise, and knowledge has become the cornerstone of our work at the Prosperity Roundtable, and we, as well as young people in Chatham-Kent, are lucky to have her aboard doing this important work.

Cari Meloche, Economic Development Officer, Bridging Global Talent in Sarnia-Lambton

Cari Meloche is an Economic Development Officer with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership. She aims to attract talent and entrepreneurs to the Sarnia-Lambton community. Her goal is to connect with business leaders to understand specific hiring needs and offer a variety of tactics to enhance recruitment practices. Over the last 4 years, Cari has connected with thousands of job seekers who would consider relocating to the Sarnia-Lambton area. Cari is well connected to regional community partners and federal immigration programs that provide a skilled talent pool to attract new residents. She has worked for over 15 years in the field of Human Resources and truly understands the importance of developing a strong workforce. She has been proud to have implemented local programs such as the Sarnia-Lambton Apprenticeship Project and the Bridging Global Talent in Sarnia-Lambton Project, both aimed at attracting and retaining local talent. Cari is thrilled to be joining the session to connect with organizations that are dedicated in creating a welcoming community.

Audrey Ansell, Director, Community Attraction & Promotion, Chatham-Kent Regional Immigration Pilot

Audrey Ansell M.A., Ec.D graduated with a Master’s Degree in Economics from University College Dublin, Ireland and having worked as an investment analyst/stockbroker in the UK, she then immigrated
to Chatham-Kent. Audrey is a Certified Economic Developer and the Director of Community Attraction & Promotion for the Municipality of Chatham-Kent. With a portfolio focused on attracting and retaining talent, residents and visitors as well as developing the workforce, Audrey’s work is centered on applying the core principles of economic development to community economic development initiatives. The end goal of this work is to help immigrants, young people, employers, community residents, and tourism businesses achieve success in Chatham-Kent.

Laura Greaves, Executive Director, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board, Attracting Immigrants to Jobs in Agriculture: Results from SLWDB’s 2022 Newcomers Survey

Laura Greaves was born and raised in Calgary. She received a Bachelor of Arts Honors from the University of Calgary, a Master of Arts from McMaster University, and a PhD in Modern European History from the University of Waterloo. She previously worked at Goodwill Industries and the City of Sarnia, before taking on her current role as the Executive Director of the Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board in 2019. She enjoys working with a wide range of business and community partners and taking part in many community initiatives
related to workforce development and planning. She is dedicated to ensuring that the results of evidence-based research are used to support local decision-making and that our community is prepared to meet our future workforce needs. She currently lives in Sarnia with her partner Rich and their two sons.

Gemma Mendez Smith, Live by Design Immigration Consulting Services

Gemma Mendez-Smith is an Immigration Consultant at Live by Design Immigration Services Inc., where we provide expert advice and personalized services designed to help you reach your immigration goals. As an Immigration Consultancy firm, our focus is to utilize our vast experience and knowledge in the workforce development field to guide clients to realize their potential/ opportunities through immigration. We are committed to assisting individuals and families’ transition and enjoy their new Canadian journey. Our main objective is to support clients by curating a plan for their community integration and involvement path. Throughout Gemma’s workforce development career, she has been a passionate advocate on the immigration forefront, first by being a panelist on TVO’s The Agenda as well as presenting to the House of Commons Standing Committee on immigration. Also! a fun fact about Gemma…she is a huge Jason Bourne fan and has watched the trilogy at least 10 times!

Jeffery Scholl, Education and Training Advisor, Contact North, Virtual Reality Tools

Working with Contact North has opened to many doors and opportunities in Huron and Perth Counties. Through our many partnerships we are able to connect people to anything from free skills training, soft skills, college certificates or even masters degrees through our more than 100 Online Learning Centres and through our online platform that we provide our partners in Adobe Connect. Organizations Contact North works with in Huron and Perth Counties include Huron, North Perth and Stratford Libraries, CMHA, One Care, Huron County Economic Development, Community Futures Huron, Conestoga Career Centre, Centre of Employment and Learning, Partners in Employment, Ontario Works, WSIB, ODSP and many others.
Contact North will work with anyone who is looking to update skills or pursue post secondary options!

Kelly McKenna, Executive Director, Simcoe Muskoka Workforce Development Board & Literacy Network, Simcoe FAST Program

Kelly is the Executive Director of the newly amalgamated Workforce Development Board and Literacy Network in Simcoe County and the District of Muskoka. With a background in economic development, Kelly has been involved with the skilled trades for over 10 years. Her passion is introducing the skilled trades to those who have never considered the trades before. And today she is going to tell us more about the Foundational Assessment for the Skilled Trades (FAST) … A tool to help learners determine what areas of study are required to be successful in their chosen trade.

Amy Edwards, Training Manager, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium

Since 2008, Amy Edwards has dedicated her professional career to aligning Canadian manufacturers with relevant programming and training to meet their organizational goals. As Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium’s Training Manager, Amy oversees all training development and learning plan delivery schedules, as well as leading customer relations through database management. Amy collaborates with industry professionals on a regular basis to ensure the ongoing needs of Canada’s manufacturing sector are met.
In the past, Amy has contributed toward the successful planning and execution of National Conferences, securing sponsorships, subject matter experts, participants all while managing logistics. Outside of the office, Amy loves to spend time with family and friends. When not running from arena to ball diamonds, she shares her love of animals with her kids and enjoys spending time outdoors on the farm. When even more time allows, Amy spends time with anything horse related, riding/exercising, wagon rides, equine massage, and much more.

Thank you to our speakers, partners and

planning committee members!

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