We had a phenomenally successful Champions Breakfast on Friday. The support from our sponsors, our guests, or presenters, and of course, our Champions is what makes this all possible, so once again we want to thank all of you for your support. and for those of you who weren’t able to attend here’s a brief rundown of what you missed.
The private sector champion was Michael Ratliff, President of Poughkeepsie based Marco Manufacturing, Inc. When Atlantic Design Corporation closed their Poughkeepsie facility, where Mike Ratliff was General Manager, he decided to open his own manufacturing business (Marco Manufacturing). “20 years ago we all got laid off,” Ratliff recalled before introducing some of the employees who had been with him since Atlantic Design, “And we’re here now because we all stuck with it and made a plan.”
For public sector champion Dr. Cliff Wood, President of SUNY Rockland was selected by the Council’s Board of Directors. Dr. Wood has led efforts to meet the workforce development needs of Hudson Valley Manufacturers through the creation of the Manufacturing Center at the college’s Haverstraw campus and the expansion of its 3D Printing Center. The college has also begun, in partnership with the Council of Industry, a Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership. “This is all of our jobs,” Wood said, “To improve the economic development of this great state.”
Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress was the organization honored this year. Pattern has recently finished a project which mapped all the workforce and economic development resources in the region that support manufacturing. This “Asset Map” will become an integral part of a sector based regional economic and workforce development strategy. “I believe in lost causes” said Pattern CEO Jonathan Drapkin, “Pattern is there to create an environment in which other people can prosper.”
Last but not least, Mark Harris of Ulster BOCES was chosen to be the first ever educator champion. A teacher in metal trades, as well as the leader of the Solar Car project, the MIT robotic arm project, and the NASA prototype project. He has worked to build the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) classroom, and encouraged countless young people to pursue careers in machining. “My students have coming in on the weekend, they are dedicated students,” Harris said in accepting, “They are why I do what I do.” As part of the presentation Harris and his team of high school students, the Ulster BOCES Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam, demonstrated the robotic exoskeleton arm they designed and built under his tutelage. The device was touted as a tool to aid victims of stroke and paralysis with their physical therapy.