IACMI Speakers Turn Attention to Expanding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Composites and Advanced Manufacturing Workforce

IACMI will welcome Zack Valdez, DEI lead at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office, and Marcy Offner, Director of Marketing Communications for Composites One and co-founder of Women in the Composites Industry, to our Summer 2022 Members Meeting June 28-30 in Salt Lake City. 

Valdez and Offner will deliver impactful sessions on June 29 on the business case for more diverse workplace cultures in the composites and manufacturing industries and why it is important if employers hope to recruit and retain top talent and maintain a competitive edge. 

Dr. Zack Valdez: Coordinating DEI at all levels, government, industry, and academia 

As DEI lead for NIST and co-chair of DEI efforts at the Department of Commerce, Dr. Valdez will be a featured speaker on June 29. He is working with Manufacturing USA to expand diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the manufacturing workplace. In advanced manufacturing, he sees a chance to coordinate at all levels (government, industry and academia) and increase DEI efforts in workforce development.  

Valdez brings over 15 years of experience in executing STEM engagement to increase access, awareness and opportunity. His efforts span domestic and international projects that amplify the breadth and depth of solutions from the nexus of science and policy. His academic experiences encompass STEM degrees through a Ph.D. and teaching Physics for Future Presidents at American University. Outside of science policy, Dr. Valdez works with national non-profits to promote community-first science and K-to-gray educational and career development programs for underrepresented groups in STEM. Valdez’s current role at the Office of Advanced Manufacturing promotes and builds federal strategy on education and workforce with a lens for diversity, equity and inclusion that compliments his previous work policy work in the U.S. Senate.  

Marcy Offner: Providing resources to women in all stages of their career 

As director of marketing communications at Composites One, Offner will lead a Women in Composites panel discussion on June 29. She is well known as a brand strategist and communications leader in the composites industry. In 2020, she co-founded and led the formation of Women in the Composites Industry (WCI), an organization within the composites industry designed to promote the role of women in composites manufacturing environments. 

Offner says WCI is designed to help women in composites via three service areas: networking, mentoring and education. Networking will connect women in composites with each other and with job and career opportunities. Mentoring will connect women in composites with experienced composites professionals (women and men) to provide feedback, coaching, encouragement, challenge and support. Education will include provide online and in-person career development and certification services. She says WIC provides resources to women at all stages of their career to network, to learn new skills and to share their experiences with others on the same path. 

Steller Lineup of Speakers, Presenters, Panels, and Impactful Working Groups 

In addition to Valdez and Offer, IACMI recently announced high-profile speakers for its June 28-30 Summer 2022 Members Meeting – Adele Ratcliff, Director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS) Program, and Jeff Sloan, editor-in-chief at CompositesWorld. 

  • Adele Ratcliff: Domestic Manufacturing as a Matter of National Security 
  • Jeff Sloan: Opportunity and Challenge – Sustainability 

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Also on the agenda are panel themes and presentations showcasing IACMI Working Groups reports, IACMI core partner capabilities, technology advancements from small/medium enterprises. Stay tuned for more speaker updates coming soon. IACMI Working Groups will meet on June 28 and June 30. 

Tuesday, June 28 

  • Infrastructure & Construction Working Group 
  • High Rate Aerostructures Fabrication Working Group 
  • Wind Energy Working Group 

Thursday, June 30 

  • Future Mobility/Vehicles Technology Working Group 
  • Recycling/Circular Economy Working Group 

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