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One of the major manufacturing challenges facing our nation is a tech transfer literacy gap facing individuals from traditionally under-represented low wealth communities and white communities. To close this gap, the Manufacturing Diversity Institute has developed an Innovation Café collaborative "strategic action" format that utilizes outside expertise in partnership with regional talent, knowledge, and know-how to establish underserved communities as hotbeds of innovation, talent, and manufacturing entrepreneurship.
The Innovation Café is an annual "strategic action" planning gathering for community residents to interact and chat with national thought leaders and experts around varied innovation issues important in the new innovation economy, especially manufacturing diversity. As designed, the Innovation Café is an on-ramp platform for diverse manufacturing entrepreneurial grassroots efforts to access innovative and creative ideas, insights, and policy perspectives that are important to creating jobs, wealth, and shared prosperity in the manufacturing industry. Innovation Café attendees engage in a strategic process that will lead to problem solving manufacturing diversity issues through a planning cycle that will be catalytic to economic change in the community.
Participants will hear presentations from some of the nation’s most thought-provoking Innovation experts whose insights will position leaders at the grassroots levels to think and act more creatively and innovatively. Information shared by Innovation Café’s experts help attendees brainstorm ways to build sustainable and cost effective approaches to solving manufacturing diversity issues. Most importantly, attendees learn about cutting edge innovation initiatives that have benefitted cities and regions that are recognized benchmarks of gravitational pull of talent, investments, and global economic attention.
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Bryan D. Albrecht, Ed.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer, Gateway Technical College
Dr. Albrecht serves as President and Chief Executive for Gateway Technical College. Gateway is located in Southeast Wisconsin and provides academic and workforce solutions for students and employers throughout the region. Under President Albrecht Gateway has established a national leadership position in the development of innovative learning strategies, model business and industry partnerships. Bryan takes pride in giving back to his community serving on several local, state and national boards.
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Wendy K. Baumann

President/Chief Visionary Officer, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC)
In her 24th year at the helm of WWBIC, Wendy is a nationally-recognized leader in microenterprise, small business development, financial capability and social enterprise.  In her career, Wendy has focused on advancing opportunities for women, racial minorities and lower-wealth individuals. She has pioneered business incubation, capital access programming, financial capability and economic literacy initiatives in Wisconsin. With her leadership and vision, WWBIC has grown from a $200,000 budget with a staff of two, to a $5.7 million organization with 50 staff, four regional offices, and three rural satellite offices.
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Matt Kirchner

President, LAB Midwest
Matt Kirchner serves as President of world-class curriculum, eLearning and training equipment distributor LAB Midwest, a company that he acquired in 2015. LAB Midwest is headquartered in Mequon, Wisconsin and maintains offices across its seven state territory. In addition to his role with LAB Midwest, Kirchner is President of Profit360, LLC, a provider of management advisory services founded in 2007. He speaks frequently on topics of interest to American manufacturers and those who serve them and he authors the monthly leadership columns appearing in Products Finishing and Production Machining magazines.
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Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Deputy Secretary Georgia Maxwell brings more than two decades of public and private sector experience in senior management, legislative and public policy to her executive leadership role at DWD, which implements the Governor's agenda to develop Wisconsin's talent and move Wisconsin's economy forward. She most recently was Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Financial Institutions from April 2013 until July 2015, and was DWD's Assistant Deputy Secretary from January 2011 until April 2013. In addition, Deputy Secretary Maxwell was President of The Maxwell Group Inc., a public affairs, grassroots, and message development consulting firm from 2004 until 2011.
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John Sibley Butler, Ph.D.

J. Marion West Chair in Constructive Capitalism, UT Austin
MDI Board Chair
John Sibley Butler, Ph.D., is a Professor of Management and Sociology and the past founding director of the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship Growth and Renewal (McCombs School of Business) at The University of Texas at Austin. A past Director of the IC² Institute, Professor Butler has been influential in the start-up community in Austin and globally. His books include Global Perspectives on Technology Transfer and Commercialization (with David Gibson), The Development of University-Based Entrepreneurship Eco-Systems (with Fetters, Greene and Rice), and Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black-Americans. Dr. Butler is a decorated Vietnam Veteran.
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Arturo S. Menefee, Ph.D.

MDI Global Fellow & Founding Member of the John Maxwell Team
Dr. Menefee is a state specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and a faculty member with the Center for Disability Research and Policy Studies at Auburn University. He has more than 15 years of professional and academic experience in community, workforce and economic development. He is the former President of the Greater Peace Community Development Corporation and the former President of the Alabama Communities of Excellence Program. He is the author of Engaged Leaders, Better Communities, a leadership development training manual. Dr. Menefee is a visionary and proven leader with an entrepreneurial spirit that helps people translate ideas into practical solutions.
© 2018 Manufacturing Diversity Institute