Virginia Tech - Roanoke Center
Implementing Lean: Operational Excellence for Local Government  - March 3-4, 2016  - Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center  - Roanoke, Virginia
Implementing Lean: Operational Excellence for Local Government  - March 3-4, 2016  - Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center  - Roanoke, Virginia


photo of speaker Jeff Fuchs, Maryland World Class Consortia
Jeff Fuchs serves as the executive director of the Maryland World Class Consortia, a non-profit organization that helps members understand lean principles, achieve performance excellence, and strengthen the state and regional economies. He served on the Consortia’s founding member Advisory Board in 1996, and has previously been a consulting service provider to MWCC member organizations.

Jeff is also President of Neovista Consulting, a services firm specializing in operational excellence, Lean Thinking, leadership development, change management, and building cultures of continuous improvement.

Jeff was deeply involved in the creation and expansion of a nationally-recognized system of Lean Certification that is today jointly supported by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the Association for Manufacturing Excellence, the Shingo Institute, and the American Society for Quality. He is currently pursuing his Lean Silver Certification and he has served on the Lean Certification Oversight Committee continuously since its inception in 2006.

Jeff received his Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from West Point. He is an examiner for both the Shingo Prize and AME’s Manufacturing Excellence Award. He is the past Chairman of the Maryland Advisory Commission for Manufacturing Competitiveness.

photo of speaker Matt Roth, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Matt Roth is the Lean Production Systems Manager at Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s York Vehicle Operations in York, Pennsylvania. Matt utilizes the Company’s Continuous Improvement System to maximize the operational efficiency of the organization while maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and lean thinking.

Matt’s career with Harley-Davidson began in 2007. He started as a Manufacturing Engineer in Final Vehicle Assembly and was then promoted to an Area Manager role. In his last role as the Paint Department Area Manager, he was able to utilize his lean systems knowledge and experience to create flow, shorten lead time, minimize waste, and increase quality. He utilized a mix of Kanban and order scheduling to improve on time delivery and shorten the time from order genesis to order confirmation.

Matt is a 2006 graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He obtained his Master of Business Administration with a focus in Continuous Improvement and Lean Systems in 2012. Matt is also a graduate of Leadership York and currently serves on the Board of the Manufacturer’s Association.

photo of speaker Elizabeth "Eli" Jamison, Adjunct Professor at Virginia Tech
Dr. Jamison has been engaged in leadership and organizational development consulting for public, private, and nonprofit organizations for over 20 years. She spent more than 10 years at Radford University serving as director of the Master of Business Administration program and Leadership Development Center, and as an adjunct instructor of management in the College of Business and Economics. She is currently an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech and Hollins University.

Eli's expertise, engaging presentation style, and ability to create customized training programs have afforded her the opportunity to provide keynote addresses for a variety of professional associations, as well as deliver customized training programs for organizations both locally and across the United States. Eli received her Bachelor's degree from James Madison University, Master's degree from Vanderbilt University, and Doctorate degree from Virginia Tech.

photo of speaker Jason Bingham, Trane North America and Ingersoll Rand
Jason Bingham is the Vice President of Energy Services and Controls, an $800M strategic business of Trane North America and Ingersoll Rand. He previously served as VP for Trane’s central territory, a $1.2 billion segment of the business. Jason has held numerous other leadership positions including Vice President of Strategy for Trane North America and District Manager for Trane’s VA District.

He has proven his ability to deliver business results while developing strategies, planning processes and leadership curriculum that have now been distributed across the nation. Under his leadership and guidance, Trane has exceeded business expectations and created a winning culture regionally and nationally. Jason paid forward these lessons through his book, “Cultureship: The ACBs of Business Leadership,” which has far-reaching implications in shaping the way businesses perceive and strategically develop their cultures to deliver bottom line results. The book clearly shows how culture is not only directly connected to business results, but that contrary to popular belief, culture can change quickly. He delivers this through a genuine, no-nonsense approach that achieves real results.

photo of speaker Mike Leigh, OpX Solutions
Mike Leigh is the President of OpX Solutions, LLC, a performance improvement company that specializes in helping organizations pursue operational excellence by improving their processes and developing their leaders. Mike has over 25 years of operational leadership and process improvement experience in both government and corporate organizations, and currently supports the City of Roanoke’s lean initiatives by providing training, consulting, and strategic services through the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center. He specializes in helping organizations implement lean techniques and create a culture of continuous improvement.

Prior to starting his business, Mike was a leader in GE Energy’s Global Lean Office where he developed lean programs, implemented lean concepts, and trained site lean leaders and executives at over 25 businesses, both domestically and internationally. During this time, he led or consulted hundreds of kaizen teams, and worked side-by-side for 45 weeks with consultants from Shingijutsu. Mike has held various supply chain management positions including Operations Manager, Quality Leader, and Global Master Scheduler.

Prior to his manufacturing career, Mike served in the US Navy where he qualified as a Nuclear Engineer and retired as a Commander. He resides in Roanoke, VA.

photo of speaker Chuck Springer, City of Denton, Texas
Chuck Springer has over thirty years of experience in local government finance. He started his local government career in 1983 as an administrative intern with the Town of Flower Mound and progressed to Assistant to the Town Manager and Assistant Town Manager. He then went to work for the City of Arlington, Texas for 18 years as Interim CFO, Treasury Manager and Cash and Debt Administrator. One highlight of his service in Arlington was working on the financial aspects of the construction of a baseball stadium and football stadium. In 2006, Chuck returned to the Town of Flower Mound in the role of Assistant Town Manager/Chief Financial Officer and a brief time as Acting Town Manager.

In February 2013, he accepted the position as the Director of Finance for the City of Denton. He is responsible for the functions of accounting, budget, customer service, purchasing and materials management, municipal court and treasury operations. His educational credentials are a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Texas (1985) and a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University (1981). He is a Certified Government Finance Officer (CGFO) of Texas and served as the President for the Government Treasurers’ Organization of Texas (GTOT) in 1996.

photo of speaker Jeff Cole, JCG Management Consulting
Jeff Cole is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, and is also certified as a Change Management Consultant and Trainer. As President of JCG Management Consulting, Jeff has trained and coached over 5000 people in quality and change across a wide range of industries throughout North America and Europe. Prior to forming his consultancy, he spent 20 years in industry where he held a variety of positions ranging from software developer to a quality executive in a Fortune 500 global firm. He holds a BS in Quantitative Business Analysis and an MBA in Management.

A frequent speaker at conferences, Jeff is co-author of an Amazon business best seller Driving Operational Excellence (ISBN 0982787103), authors a monthly column for the PEX Network called Street Smarts for Change Management, and is author of the recent e-book by that same title. He also writes the Excellence Insights newsletter and curates the Excellence Insights online Flipboard magazine.

photo of speaker David J. Williamson, PhD, PMP®, ITIL-F, Advance Auto Parts
Dr. Williamson is a full-time project and program manager, a part-time college instructor, and the founding president of the PMI® Southwest Virginia Chapter. He has worked in information technology and project management for more than 25 years, and is currently the Program Manager for IT Store Support at Advance Auto Parts in Roanoke, VA.

Williamson has taught management, information systems, and project management for more than 13 years at Mary Baldwin College, Virginia Western Community College, UVA Wise, Walden University, Colorado State University-Global Campus, and Virginia Tech. He has also provided training in project management, software engineering, and software quality management to several corporations, non-profits, and government agencies. He co-founded the PMI® Southwest Virginia Chapter in 2003 and served as its first president, contributed to the PMI® OPM3® standard, and published a paper on IT project complexity, complication, and success in 2012.

photo of speaker Kay Dunkley, Roanoke Higher Education Center
Kay Dunkley serves as the Executive Director of the Roanoke Higher Education Authority, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, constituted as a public body that operates the Roanoke Higher Education Center. The Center is currently comprised of thirteen member colleges, universities, and workforce training organizations that expand educational opportunities throughout the Roanoke region. Kay holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Radford University and a doctorate degree from Virginia Tech. She has served in various senior leadership positions at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Community College System, and also in secondary education.

As an ambassador to the Roanoke region, Kay serves on the board of directors for the Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and is an active participant on the Public Policy Committee. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum and Foundation in Wytheville, VA. Her passion is connecting the rich resources of an academic environment to meet the ever changing workforce training needs of today’s businesses and industries.

photo of speaker Tom Gates, Roanoke County
On November 19, 2014, the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors announced the appointment of Thomas C. Gates as County Administrator. Gates comes to Roanoke County with nearly thirty years of experience working collaboratively with elected officials, citizens and employees to improve the functioning of government and delivering quality service to citizens.

Gates previously served as Deputy City Manager and Chief of Staff for the City of Alexandria where he implemented a city-wide ethics initiative, more effective civic engagement practices, and a comprehensive performance management system.

Prior to joining the City of Alexandria, Gates served as the Assistant County Administrator for Spartanburg County, South Carolina where he provided management oversight and coordination of administrative operations and public safety services.

Gates holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, jointly awarded by the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. He has also served as adjunct faculty for the University of South Carolina Upstate where he taught public administration and public financial administration.

photo of speaker Chris Morrill, City of Roanoke
Chris Morrill was appointed City Manager of the City of Roanoke, March 1, 2010. Previously, he served nine years as Assistant City Manager of the City of Savannah, GA. From 1999 through 2001, he worked for Research Triangle Institute as Senior Municipal Finance Advisor to the South African National Treasury under a U.S.AID funded project. In this position, he assisted the South African government in developing local government finance legislation, municipal budget reforms, and capacity building programs.

Chris served in the first group of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers in the former Soviet Union, where he advised the City of L’viv, Ukraine on finance & management issues. He also completed a three-year fellowship in the Kellogg National Leadership Program, exploring conflict resolution and community building in Peru, China, Northern Ireland, Spain and South Africa.

Morrill is an ICMA Credentialed Manager and was President of the Government Finance Officers Association of the US and Canada from 2012 - 2013. In 2011 he was chosen “Campaign Leader of the Year” by the United Way of the Roanoke Valley and served as its Board Chair in 2016. In 2013 Morrill was honored with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Roanoke Chapter, Martin Luther King, Jr. “Drum Major for Justice Award.” Most recently he was named to the list of “Top 100 Local Government Influencers” by Emerging Leaders in Local Government.

Morrill received a B.A. degree in political science from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and a master of public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

photo of speaker Margaret Deck, Pamplin School of Business, Virginia Tech
Margaret Deck has over 20 years of experience as a Lean practitioner. She began her career in 1987 when Lean was still new to US industries. Working in the automotive industry, she had the opportunity to participate from the beginning in a Lean transformation and then build on that foundation over the next 20 years. Margaret has held various management positions in manufacturing including Plant Manager, Operations Manager, Quality Manager and Engineering Manager.

Margaret has spent the last 8 years teaching at Virginia Tech. She teaches Lean philosophy and tools, as well as management and leadership courses, and works with student groups to develop Lean solutions in businesses in the New River Valley.  She also partners with the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center to provide Lean training for teams from government and industry. She is currently helping develop the Virginia Tech Lean Academy which will be offered through the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center.

photo of speaker Mark Oakes, Merit Medical
Mark Oakes is the Manufacturing Manager for Merit Medical. He is responsible for the procedure tray assembly and packaging processes. He is also leading the 6S and Training Within Industry (TWI) programs at the facility.

Prior to joining Merit, Mark was a senior consultant with Genedge. He has taught hundreds of classes on lean manufacturing topics including Value Stream Mapping, Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt. He has worked with numerous manufacturers in addition to federal and state governmental agencies and health care providers to improve their processes.

Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a BS degree in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and from Lynchburg College with a Master’s degree in Industrial Management. He is President of the Richmond Chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers and is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

photo of speaker Paul Pejsa, Healthcare Value Network at the ThedaCare Center
Paul Pejsa has over 30 years of experience in research, engineering, manufacturing, service and process improvement. He has held the positions of R&D engineer, project manager, manufacturing plan manager, and director of lean strategy deployment. He is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Lean Leader.

Paul is currently Director of the Healthcare Value Network (HVN) at the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value. The HVN fosters learning, sharing and connecting among members of the healthcare community to improve patient outcomes, population health and reduce cost.

In his prior role, he was the Executive Director, Continuous Improvement, at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin with responsibility for the development and deployment of lean systems and tools. His team also initiated and participated in research and project work with the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Paul holds a research grant focused on improvement to the primary care of Type 2 diabetics, teaches a course in transactional lean at the University of Wisconsin, and is a volunteer faculty member and educational advisor at Medical College of Wisconsin.

photo of speaker Peter Mierke, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems
Peter Mierke is the General Manager for Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems at their Savannah Machinery Works. He is responsible for all operations including manufacturing, engineering, sourcing and project planning for heavy-duty gas & steam turbine manufacture as well as service/repair. These components are utilized in the global power generation business industry.  Peter has led a team of highly skilled operators and engineers through start-up operations and growing demands in a cost competitive environment.

Peter has held numerous roles within the power generation industry including various positions in operational and supply chain management.  In all facets of his career, Peter has promoted and utilized continuous improvement and kaizen to achieve desired performance.

Earlier in his career, Peter served in the US Navy as a surface warfare officer onboard two ships and separated as a Lieutenant Commander after 8 years on active duty. He attended the University of South Carolina and completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Geography and an MBA.

photo of speaker John Dyer, JD&A, Inc. - Process Innovations
John Dyer is President of the JD&A, Inc. - Process Innovations Company and has 30 years of experience in the field of improving processes. He started his career with General Electric and then worked for Ingersoll-Rand before starting his own consulting company. John has an Electrical Engineering degree from Tennessee Technological University as well as an international Masters of Business from Purdue University and the University of Rouen in France.

John is a Director in the Southeast Region for the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME). He is also a contributing Editor for IndustryWeek magazine with over 25 articles (several have made it into the top 10 most read articles each year) and a judge for the IndustryWeek “Best Plants” annual competition. John is also working with Virginia Tech as an instructor in the Continuing and Professional Education center.

photo of speaker Leigh Anne Strahler, Appalachian Power
Leigh Anne Strahler is Director of Business Operations Support for Appalachian Power. She is responsible for review, reporting and analysis of operating company financial results, and coordination of short- and long-term financial plans, including facilitation of prioritization of operation and maintenance and capital expenditures consistent with AEP strategy. In addition, she is responsible for sustaining a “lean” culture of continuous improvement in the operating company.

Leigh Anne joined AEP in 2006 as a senior cost control analyst. In 2012, she was promoted to Project Manager / Change Agent for AEP’s Operations and Performance Transformation Team. She was responsible for rolling out lean across AEP. Prior to joining the company, she worked for Limited Brands and IBM Global Services.

She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bethany College in West Virginia and an MBA from The Ohio State University. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She is a graduate of Leadership Columbus and past president of the Junior League of Columbus. She is a board member of the Columbus Diaper Bank.

photo of speaker Michael J. Mercier, Appalachian Power
Mike Mercier is the Lean and Process Improvement Manager for Appalachian Power. He is responsible for implementing efficiency and effectiveness improvements and for sustaining Lean activities in the Company’s districts in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Mike joined Appalachian Power in 1985 as an Electrical Engineer and progressed through the Company holding various positions of increasing responsibility. Prior to leading the Lean Implementation effort, he served for 12 years as the Distribution Systems Manager for Roanoke District. He has also held leadership positions in other Operations, Engineering and Back Office organizations.

Mike received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech. He is a graduate of the Leadership Roanoke Valley program and The Ohio State University Strategic Leadership and Management Development programs. He is past board member of Junior Achievement of the Roanoke Valley where he received the Silver Leadership award for securing the single largest contribution in Chapter history.

photo of speaker Andrea Ross, Virginia Department of Corrections
Andrea is a leader in the Richmond and Charlottesville Lean/Agile community, founding the Capital Kanban special interest group.  She brings over 25 years of IT experience including development, business/systems analysis, project management, Kanban implementation, coaching and business process re-engineering. 

Andrea is passionate about helping business customers leverage IT to achieve the greatest value and has found that using Lean/Agile methods are the most effective.  She currently works as a Business Systems Analyst with the Virginia Department of Corrections. She actively pursues her interest in Lean Government and is a graduate of the LEAN Facilitator Certification Program.

photo of speaker Bobby Bowman, Altec
Bobby Bowman is the plant manager at Altec Industries, at Roanoke operations. Altec is the leading manufacturer of custom equipment serving markets such as utility, tree care, and telecommunications. At the Roanoke Operations, Altec manufactures cranes, aerial devices, and digger derricks and other hydraulic-powered mobile equipment. Bobby graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering in 2008. Since then, he has worked for Altec as a manufacturing engineer, quality-engineering supervisor, manufacturing lead, and currently as plant manager. While working as manufacturing lead, Bobby took a leadership position in the creation of materials known as the Altec Production System, with a specific focus on value stream mapping.

photo of speaker R.B. Lawhorn, City of Roanoke
R. B. Lawhorn has been with the City of Roanoke since October 2001.  He currently serves in the Department of Management and Budget as the Budget Administrator for the City having been promoted into that position in February 2016.  Prior to that he served as a Budget/Management Analyst in the Department.  He has been involved with the City's Lean program since its beginning in the spring of 2012.  He has supported the Director of Management and Budget in coordinating the City's Lean efforts.  Prior to joining the City, he spent 21 years in the banking industry.  He is a graduate of Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.

photo of speaker Jason Cash, City of Roanoke, VA
Jason Cash, PMP, CLSSGB, GISP, serves as the Technology Program Services Manager for the City of Roanoke’s Department of Technology. With close to 15 years in the information technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) fields, he was recently asked to develop a new office aimed at implementing IT best practices, organizational performance and enhancing IT service delivery with a goal of optimized business processes and predictive decision making with the City’s Department of Technology.

Jason has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, a Master’s Degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and a Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management all through Virginia Tech. He has completed a LEAN training series through a partnership between the City of Roanoke and Virginia Tech and has had success with multiple process improvement efforts around the City. Jason is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Practitioner (CLSSGB) and a Geographic Information Systems Professional (GISP). He also serves on the City’s Lean Steering and Information Technology Committees.

photo of speaker Lt. Jeffrey Newman, Roanoke Police Department
Lt. Jeffrey Newman has been at the Roanoke Police Department since 2005. He currently serves as the supervisor of Planning and Analysis within the Roanoke Police Department. His responsibilities include technology, procurement, grant writing, public policy, and planning activities. Lt. Newman has a Masters of Public Administration degree and is the graduate of the Police Executive Leadership School.

photo of speaker Jessica Webb, Roanoke County Department of Social Services
Jessica Webb works with the Roanoke County Department of Social Services as the Children's Services Act (CSA) Coordinator, serving in this capacity for the past 6 years. In this position, her responsibilities include the coordination and facilitation of multi-disciplinary planning teams, program development and management, and fiscal management of state and local pool funds. Jessica has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Roanoke College and a Master of Business Administration from Averett University.

photo of speaker Meredith Thompson, Roanoke County
Meredith Thompson joined the Roanoke County Office of Management & Budget in May 2016. Meredith completed her Lean Practitioner Training in 2013 while working for the City of Roanoke in the Human Resources Department. As a Budget Analyst, Meredith assists the organization in developing, monitoring, and projecting budgets. She also assists in the development and publication of the Annual Fiscal Plan and Capital Improvement Program. Meredith has a Master of Public Administration Degree from James Madison University.

photo of speaker Karen Thomas, Roanoke County
Karen Thomas works in the Human Resources Department at Roanoke County and is responsible for Training and Organizational Development.  She has more than 15 years of experience in Training & Development Management, Human Resources, and Professional Coaching.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management & Development and is currently enrolled in the Virginia Tech Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management Program.

photo of speaker Amelia Merchant, City of Roanoke
Amelia Merchant has been with the City of Roanoke since 2001 and has served as the Director of the Department of Management and Budget since November of 2010. In her role as Director, she is responsible for leading budget related and supporting organization-wide activities including Lean. The Department of Management and Budget is also responsible for working jointly with Departments to utilize the principles of Budgeting for Outcomes to develop the annual budget and report on progress through performance measurers as well as priority indicators. Her previous employment includes NASA, Virginia Tech, Allstate Insurance Company and the HOPE Institute of Technology. Merchant holds a degree in Physics from Norfolk State University (1991) and an MBA from Virginia Tech (1994). She is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and the Virginia Government Finance Officers Association.

photo of speaker Connie Carter, City of Roanoke
Connie Carter is the Human Services Business Administrator for the City of Roanoke where she oversees a $36 million Social Services budget and manages the administrative services for the department. She is a career public servant with over thirty years of service and has worked at the local, regional, and state levels of the Virginia Social Services System.

Connie graduated from Mary Baldwin College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Management. She is a certified Lean Practioner as well as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has a passion for helping make LEAN a part of the city’s work culture. Connie is a native Roanoker and likes to spend time enjoying the natural beauty of this great outdoor community.

photo of speaker Steve Martin, City of Roanoke
Steven Martin became Chief of Benefit Programs and Employment Services for the City of Roanoke Department of Social Services in June 2009. In this role, he oversees the largest division of Benefit Program and Employment Service staff in Southwest Virginia with 105 workers and supervisors. He has worked within the Department of Social Services in Virginia for 17 years after coming to City of Roanoke from Bedford Department of Social Services in October 2000. Before coming to Department of Social Services, he worked six years for United States Office of Personnel Management as an Investigator.

Steven has a B.A from Roanoke College where he majored in English. He is a Certified Lean Practitioner and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He has witnessed the benefit of Lean practices within the Department of Social Services and feels that the Lean journey within the department has been the driver of culture change in the department, which has contributed to a stronger emphasis on individual accountability, improved customer service, and utilizing the diverse talents of staff.

photo of speaker Nancy Duval, Roanoke County
Nancy Duval is the Solid Waste Manager for Roanoke County.   She oversees a staff of more than 30 people and a budget of over $4 million.  She has more than 20 years experience in the solid waste field and has served on the boards of many organizations within the industry.  She is a proud Hokie with a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration and has completed the VT Graduate Certificate in Local Government Management Program. 

photo of speaker Chad Sweeney, Roanoke County
Chad Sweeney has been with Roanoke County since January 2000. He has been in the Communications and Information Technology Department since May 2006. He currently serves as the Enterprise Services Manager leading the areas of document management, technology project management, and web services within CommIT. Chad’s responsibilities include technology, project management, procurement, vendor management, system oversight, and strategic planning activities. He is a past Chair of Leadership Roanoke Valley, a local area leadership program established to encourage community leadership in the region. Chad holds a Master of Business Administration degree, a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration and is a certified Project Management Professional.

photo of speaker Gwin Ellis, City of Roanoke
Gwin Ellis currently serves as the City of Roanoke’s Coordinator of Organization Development and Learning. A Michigan native with deep-rooted family ties to the Roanoke Valley, Gwin fulfilled a lifelong dream when she relocated to Virginia. Prior to relocating, she served as Director of Human Resources for an affiliate of Southeastern Michigan's electric and gas utility, DTE Energy, Inc. She joined the City of Roanoke Department of Human Resources in 2001. Since then she has contributed as the Human Resources’ Learning Specialist; the Assistant to the City Manager in the City Manager’s Office; and Neighborhood Services Coordinator. In her current role in Human Resources, Gwin manages the organization's development and employee learning processes.

Gwin has enjoyed supporting Michigan and Virginia communities through Boysville of Michigan, Welfare to Work, Literacy Volunteers of America, as well as, Roanoke Public Schools' Help One Student to Succeed (HOSTS) mentor program. Her current projects include serving as the chair of the Diversity Advisory Council, project manager for several City initiatives, including the organizational culture change effort, the Lean Management Project and the organization’s Leadership Development Initiative.

photo of speaker Maria Ward, Roanoke County
Maria Ward is the Application Services Manager for Roanoke County Communications and Information Technology. She is primarily responsible for managing a team of Business Systems Analysts who deploy and support departmental applications related to Public Safety, Revenue, Real Estate Valuation, Finance and Human Resources. Maria has been with the County of Roanoke for 13 years, and prior to that worked in similar Applications and Integration management positions at Carilion and The Vanguard Group. She is also the owner of a retail, family business in the Roanoke area. Maria has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Virginia and a Masters in Management, Business Administration from Pennsylvania State University.

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