Summit connects industries across the Valley

San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance, Fresno Business Council celebrates return of 7th annual “Valley Made” Manufacturing Summit

FRESNO, CALIF. – Workers with manufacturing industries throughout the San Joaquin Valley have an opportunity to take a page from the books of major industry managers, leaders and innovators when it comes to operating manufacturing businesses.

The San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SJVMA) and the Fresno Business Council are preparing to open the doors of the Fresno Convention Center Hall to celebrate the 7th annual “Valley Made” Manufacturing Summit. 

The summit, or conference, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to promote collaboration between industries throughout the San Joaquin Valley and create a globally-competitive environment for the manufacturing industry in the Valley.

“It’s super exciting to see how many individuals not only from Fresno are attending, but nationally, and throughout the state,” Genelle Taylor Kumpe, CEO of the manufacturing alliance, said. “They’re here to not only support the summit and the event, but to support the work that the Fresno region is doing.”

Conference officials are expecting over 800 attendees for this year’s event, including manufacturing industry CEOs, technology management, human resources directors, industry service providers and career technical education partners. 

Cost of attendance is $150 and tickets are available for purchase at the SJVMA website at All ticket sales end on Nov. 2 at 11:45 p.m. A limited number of tickets can also be purchased at the door during the event, with a cap of approximately 100 tickets. 

According to Kumpe, college and high school students are also invited to the summit so they have a chance to participate in the job seeking sessions and practice job interviewing skills. She said there is also a chance for them to land an interview for an internship with an industry at the summit. Student tickets start at $35 and are also available for purchase on the website.

“It’s always great for them just to see what’s out there, what lives in their own backyard and what careers are options for them to go into,” Kumpe said.

This year, the event’s keynote speaker is Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms, Inc., a butter manufacturing company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is also founder of The SOURCE, a not-for-profit organization that aims to help employees struggling with maintaining their personal and work lives.

Peters is scheduled to speak during the event’s lunch program from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on a panel discussion. During the panel, Peters will be joined by Liddy Romero, CEO and founder of WorkLife Partnership, Lance Hastings as well as president and CEO of California Manufacturers & Technology Association; Lindsay Fox, president and CEO and United Way Fresno and Madera Counties; and Tracy Hernandez, founding CEO of Los Angeles County Business Federation.

The manufacturing summit is designed to act like a workshop and resource exhibition. It will celebrate the Valley’s history of innovation in manufacturing while providing resources and networking opportunities that continue to build a well-trained, outstanding workforce.

Throughout the event, there will be a surplus of 11 workshop sessions for attendees to take advantage of, with a total of 32 speakers who are industry managers, leaders and founders. During the workshops, attendees will have opportunities to listen to the speakers, discuss the conference’s contents and gather more overall information.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the event will have job seeker interview sessions. Partnering clients from local high schools, community colleges and Fresno State onsite to connect with local manufacturers to network and secure job shadowing, internships and employment opportunities. The sessions will also provide manufacturers with a look into their future workforce.

The first breakout session will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., with 12 speakers spread amongst four workshops available for attendees to participate in. The first four workshops will consist of State and Federal R&D Tax Credits to Foster Innovation and Growth: Leveraging Fresno State Expertise; Inside the Mind of a Cybercriminal: Reviewing How Hackers Target Central CA Manufacturers; How Community College Programs are working to meet the needs of the Manufacturing Workforce; and KINETIC Reinventing Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

The second breakout session begins at 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. with four workshops and seven speakers scheduled for the hour. These consist of How Internships Can Change the Way You Hire (And Lower Your Costs); We Are Resilient: Applying the Hero’s Journey Tool in the Workplace; Insider Tips About Tax Credits for Manufacturers; and The Entrepreneurial Operating System – A Powerful Practical and Simple System for Running Your Business.

The third and final breakout session is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., with 12 speakers amongst three workshops available. The workshops lined up for the final session are Workforce Training Funds for Employers – Innovative Partnerships for Manufacturers; Building the Central Valley’s 21st Century Workforce; and The Hardest-Working Generation? A Multigenerational Conversation About Work Ethic.

Towards the end of the summit, a happy hour will take place in the exhibit’s lounge area from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. to wrap up the event.

“It’s really to be able to celebrate the day, to network amongst each other, finish up some business and also enjoy some brews and food that are all produced locally,” Kumpe said.

Of the many projects launched by the Fresno Business Council is the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance. SJVMA provides support for local manufacturers through elevating the workforce pipeline with the recently formed Career Nexus, educating the public on the industry, building constructive relationships and hosting the “Valley Made” summit. 

The Fresno Business Council aims to create social and economic change that leaves a lasting impact on Fresno’s community by combining its collective passion and intellectual capital to form strategic solutions for local issues, according to the council’s website. The council’s CEO and board take a leadership role as they execute their strategies and have been the force behind major local initiatives involving education, land use, workforce development and more. 

Based in Fresno, Career Nexus is an engine to elevate business and industry, according to the organization’s website. The organization accomplishes this by training the next generation of workers through a uniquely established ecosystem, which involves the collaboration of aligned employers, educators, training organizations, essential support services and job seekers to best transform young adults into an adequate workforce.

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