AWT Annual Meeting Press Release 2021



 Mentor, OH (03/25/2021) – The Alliance for Working Together (AWT) Foundation hosted the AWT Annual Meeting on Thursday, March 25th from 10am-11:15am online. The AWT Annual Meeting is a chance for Northeast Ohio manufacturing companies, elected officials, educators, and community leaders to come together to celebrate working together to promote rewarding manufacturing careers and announce future manufacturing workforce initiatives.

During the meeting, Juliana Petti, AWT Executive Director and Roger Sustar, CEO of Fredon Corporation and AWT Founder welcomed State Senator Jerry Cirino, State Representative Dan Troy, State Representative Jamie Callender, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown to provide remarks about manufacturing workforce and education initiatives at both the State and Federal level.

State Senator Matt Dolan then provided remarks on the State of Ohio’s tremendous support of manufacturing career and technical education training programs and introduced the keynote speaker, Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted referenced his article “Debt-free college is very possible in Ohio” and  highlighted four main points in his keynote address including (1) the ability to obtain college credit through industry recognized credentials at no cost to an individual through the Individual Microcredential Assistance Program (IMAP), (2) the TechCred training reimbursement program allowing employers to upskill employees through obtaining industry recognized credentials, (3) the Governor and Lt. Governor’s Offices pushing towards helping high school students obtain industry recognized credentials through assessment financial provisions to schools, and (4) the commitment to industry sector partnerships to help organize partnerships among the private sector and educational institutions.

Chris Burton, Sr., Owner of Burton Industries and Founding AWT Board Member was recognized for his 19+ years of service on the AWT Board of Directors and as the AWT Membership Committee Chair. Moreover, Mr. Burton was recognized for his constant support of AWT youth programs such as RoboBots. Vince Profeta, Engineer at Mar-Bal Inc., was also recognized for his service on the AWT Board of Directors from 2018-2020.

Juliana Petti welcomed the newly appointed members of the AWT Board of Directors including, Jen Rhone, Painesville Plant Manager at Avery Dennison, Joel DiMare, Director of Administrative Services at the Lake County Board of Commissioners, Kristin Jenkins, Executive Vice President of Sales & Diversity at Universal Metal Products, and Mike Mulroy, Manager of the Quality & Materials Lab at Eaton Corporation.

Juliana Petti then discussed the AWT Apprenticeship Program and the ability to receive reimbursement for the apprenticeship training through the Ohio TechCred initiative mentioned by the Lt. Governor previously. Fahim Gemayel, Owner of Lakeland Construction presented on the site renderings of the Northeast Ohio AWT Transformation Training Center.

To conclude the AWT Annual Meeting, the AWT Manufacturing Hero Award was then presented to two deserving individuals. The first AWT Manufacturing Hero Award recipient being, Roger Sustar, CEO of Fredon Corporation, AWT Foundation, and known fondly as “The Manufacturing Maven.” The second AWT Manufacturing Hero Award recipient being, Representative Jamie Callender, a strong advocate for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-to-career manufacturing education and training to boost our economy and change the lives of young people for the better.

For more information on the AWT Annual Meeting, please contact Juliana Petti at or 440-462-1995.


About Alliance for Working Together (AWT) Foundation The Alliance for Working Together (AWT) Foundation is a 501-c(3) non-profit, dedicated to promoting rewarding manufacturing careers. AWT is a coalition of education, business, social services, and community leaders focused on aligning the learning system with the needs of the business community to support economic growth. As a membership organization, we work together to introduce students to manufacturing and connect businesses to engage with their potential future workers. Based in Northeast Ohio, AWT and its members work toward the sustainability of manufacturing in our community. For more information about AWT, please visit


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