View Class of 2021


View Class of 2021


Presented by Conexus Indiana, Rising 30 honors advanced manufacturing and logistics’ emerging leaders—building a prestigious community of young professionals revolutionizing the industry. 30 honorees under the age of 30 are selected each year and celebrated for their extraordinary talent and innovative thinking early in their career.

Nominated by mentors, colleagues and peers, Rising 30 honorees demonstrate career success and commitment to the industry’s future. Though individually diverse, the Conexus Rising 30 are all forging the industry forward through collaboration, drive and innovation. Prepare to be inspired.


Marcus Beckman

Industrial Engineering Supervisor

“Demonstrate an understanding of the larger system in which you work.”

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Katelyn Bemis

QA Materials Engineer
NTN Driveshaft

“Expand your knowledge from a book to practical applications.”

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Patrick Bowman

Americas Region Logistics and Distribution Manager
Allegion Plc

“A title is just a title. Perceptions will be built on interactions and honoring commitments.”

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Max Brickman

Managing Director
Heartland Ventures

“Younger people getting into these industries should gravitate to the Midwest.”

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Bessena Cabe

Associate Consultant Design Lead Engineer
Eli Lilly and Company

“Be willing to learn something new every day. Always ask ‘why’ no matter how trivial it may be. Asking questions sparks new, innovative ideas.”

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Emily Canepa

Program Quality Leader
GE Aviation

“The more well-rounded you are, and the more you understand the entire business, the better you will be.”

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Ryan Cowden

CTE and Advanced Manufacturing Teacher
Owen Valley High School

“Always be on the lookout for and take advantage of education opportunities.”

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Kacey Crane

Legislative Affairs Director
Indiana Department of Transportation

“Leaders in this industry are changing how society goes about its daily business. I find it incredibly rewarding to play a small part in making the economic engine of America run.”

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Ankit Dhandhania

Manufacturing Systems Manager
Cummins Global Manufacturing Group

“Do not wait for your dream job to do good work. The time to do good work is now.”

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Tyler Ewing

Warehouse Manager
Kem Krest

“When selecting an organization to work for, ensure they align with your views. Then, surround yourself with good people who care.”

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Raya Fields

Production Supervisor
TBK America

“Never give up and work twice as hard as everyone around you. Learn from all of your success and all of your mistakes.”

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Brandon Hardin

Estimator/Project Manager
E&B Paving, LLC

“Don’t be afraid to be the fool in the room. Everyone else might be in the dark on something, but if you are the one to ask the question, people will recognize you as closely listening and taking the initiative!”

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Terrance Harrell

Manufacturing Engineer
Allison Transmission

“Become well-rounded. The more well-rounded an individual is, the better they understand different manufacturing perspectives.”

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Sydney Hollingshead

Development Engineer
Cook Biotech

“When you start to feel overwhelmed, lean on your common sense and problem-solving skills, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice or input from your team.”

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Corey Horan

Manager, Sourcing & Supplier Development
Batesville Casket Co.

“The best piece of advice I was given is, ‘Eventually, humility is more important than ability.”

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Kailey Johnson

Community Involvement & Education and Program Specialist
Faurecia Clean Mobility

“There is always more to learn, so being able to keep an open mind and adapt to changes is a key skill for your growth and development.”

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Haley Marie Keith

MITO Material Solutions

“You’ll never succeed if your focus is to know everything about one thing. The best thing you can do for a career in this field is to commit to curiosity.”

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Rajan Kumar


“Everyone should invest in soft skills to be great leaders and coaches to the team that will bring any technology to fruition.”

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Eric Lemmel

IT & Business Processes Manager

“Say ‘yes’ to challenging opportunities, even if it will make you uncomfortable. Putting yourself in these situations is how you will grow and learn.”

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Erica Lopez-Cepero

Controls Programmer
Three I Engineering / Ivy Tech Community College

“If a teacher asks for help doing anything outside of classes for events or for fun, do it!”

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Carrie Maguire

Operations Manager
PowerUp Inc. d/b/a PBTT

“Lead by example. I always respect a manager who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty to help production employees when needed.”

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Taylor McGregor

Continuous Improvement Engineer
Cook Medical

“The trick is staying curious and continuing to soak in crucial observations, even as you collect the badges of experience.”

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Lora O’Toole

Chief Administrative Officer

“As manufacturing and logistics are both still quite male-dominated industries, my advice as a woman as well as a young professional is to not listen to those who overlook you or brush you off.”

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Amanda Raver

Powertrain Manufacturing Engineer
Subaru of Indiana Automotive

“The heart of manufacturing is improvement. If you have a passion for making things better, manufacturing is a perfect fit.”

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Kyle Richmond

Supervisor, Quality Control
Roche Diabetes Care, Inc.

“First, remember that engineering is a mindset, not a skillset. Second, don’t ever be afraid to ask why. And last, but certainly not least, focus on being an effective communicator.”

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Justin Robertson

Electrical Project Engineer
Red Gold

“Take the leap. There’s so much to do and so many opportunities in this field.”

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Jonathan Smith

Human Resources Manager
Fred Smith Store Fixtures

“Speak to coworkers who have careers that interest you. More people are willing to help and coach you than most people are aware of.”

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Brandon Sobera

Materials and Safety Manager

“The power of self-motivation and grit can get you 50% of the way there. The other soft skills such as vulnerability and intelligent questions can get you to the other 50%.”

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Michelle White

Forecast Planner

“There are things about this field that are unpredictable, but the unpredictability is what builds your character and strength.”

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Roland Wilson

Assistant Operations Manager – Variable Labor
GEODIS Americas

“Your education provides you tools to excel in your industry, but the real learning is at the workplace.”

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NOMINATIONS OPEN November 1, 2021

Questions? Email us at Rising30@conexusindiana.com


There is no minimum age to apply, but applicants will be required to have substantial experience in the AML field. Experience can include summer internships, full time positions or research positions.

If you have additional questions regarding the eligibility requirements listed above, please contact info@conexusindiana.com.

The advanced manufacturing and logistics industries make and move products that save lives, change lives and improve lives. These industries’ impact across the Hoosier State are diverse and innumerable. For this award, we are considering all who contribute and support the industry. For example, Conexus has partners in staffing, real estate, healthcare and many other fields, all of which contribute to the AML ecosystem.

The deadline to apply for the Conexus Indiana Rising 30 is November 15. Once applications are closed, the Conexus leadership team will evaluate and notify the winners over the course of the month. The winners will be announced virtually to the public in January 2021.
Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our winners, honorees will be announced virtually. Applicants will not be evaluated based on the photo provided, it is solely for promotional purposes. Awardees may be asked to film a short interview with a Conexus team member, should they be chosen for this award.
Conexus Indiana Advanced Manufacturing Council (CIAMC) quarterly meetings for 2021, Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC) quarterly meetings for 2021, Community Industry Event with the Indianapolis Business Journal, M3 Tour, Conexus Indiana Case Competition Awards Dinner, Industry Working Groups and Emerging Technology Showcases.
No, but it is highly encouraged. Conexus events provide high-level networking opportunities with representatives from industries across the state. This is your chance to make connections and make your voice be heard in this diverse and vital community. The power of Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries is woven into our state’s socioeconomic fabric and is a significant part of our future.

First, please check the file size and type of materials for submission. Files exceeding 5 MB are not encouraged. If problems persist, please submit all questions and concerns to info@conexusindiana.com. A Conexus team member will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.




Honorees represent a variety of professional occupations that significantly impact progress within advanced manufacturing and logistics. These individuals are influential team players who inspire those around them and are committed to revolutionizing the industry.


Nominees must:

  • Be a young professional within the AML ecosystem

  • Demonstrate significant industry impact and success

  • Have full-time employment or other work-and-learn experience such as an internship, co-op or research position

  • Be 30 years old or younger by end of the 2021 calendar year


NOMINATIONS OPEN November 1, 2021


Marcus Beckman has made the most of his five years at Stellantis. Working out of the firm’s Kokomo Transmission Plant, the Industrial Engineering Supervisor has developed key teaching materials, maxed out performance ratings, been named a “Return to Work Champion” during the COVID-19 shutdown, developed a tool for measuring production-line key performance indicators, and more, with a collective net impact that the company has quantified as being in the millions of dollars. A Purdue University graduate with an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth and Six Sigma Black and Green belts, Marcus adds to his impact by mentoring others and continually seeking to further his own development.

A 2019 graduate of Purdue University, Katelyn was first exposed to NTN Driveshaft as a college intern. Now a QA Materials Engineer, she has made her presence known with a strong work ethic and cheerful attitude, but also by driving improvement. One key activity has been the development of a Heat Treat Certification Program for new and current NTN Driveshaft employees, a process that her employer says helps to increase overall training and comprehension, motivate continuous improvement and sustain a quality-based culture. Katelyn hopes to expand the program with other NTN plants, and to develop a digital system for recording production metrics.

As Americas Region Logistics & Distribution Manager at Allegion Plc., Patrick manages relationships with plants throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico, ensuring successful collaborations with Allegion’s manufacturing and distribution facilities. He joined Allegion in 2019 after rising through the ranks at Indianapolis’ FULLBEAUTY brands, where he started as an intern while finishing his degree at IU’s Kelley School of Business and worked for seven years. Applauded by superiors as someone who “does the right thing” and strives to balance team decisions with financial implications, Patrick aspires to become Director for Global Distribution and Logistics.

As Managing Director of Heartland Ventures, Max leads his fifth start-up, with his first ones dating back to his high school and college years. Applauded for his drive to create more positive connections between Indiana’s economy and the rest of the country, Max has created the largest network of mid-market tech buyers in the Midwest, with many of them being in advanced manufacturing and logistics. The IU Kelley School of Business grad serves as a Smart Manufacturing Fellow for the State of Indiana’s Manufacturing Readiness Grant program, and he hopes to replicate his business model across the Midwest over the next few years.

As Consulting Design Engineer with Eli Lilly and Company, Bessena oversees major projects, including the development of a pre-filled syringe manufacturing facility    that his nominator said was delivered “in record time.” He also has been added to a corporate team assessing the company’s safety culture in project delivery and corporate engineering groups – a project he ultimately will lead as manager – and is also the design lead for a lab consolidation project. With a bachelor’s degree from Union College and a master’s from Penn State University, Bessena previously worked at General Dynamics.

Emily was just a freshman in college when she first crossed the threshold at GE Aviation, spending time at four facilities as part of an internship/co-op program. After graduating from Trine University, she joined the manufacturer full-time, immediately being admitted into GE’s operations management leadership program. Now a Six Sigma Green Belt, Emily works as a Program Quality Leader with GE Aviation in Lafayette, where, her nominator notes, she leads with passion, commitment and a capacity to connect with people from all levels of the organization. In addition, the volunteer high school lacrosse coach is also recognized as a resource for supporting minorities and women developing their careers at GE.

In just his first year in the Owen Valley High School manufacturing classroom, Ryan, the school’s CTE Technology Education and Advanced Manufacturing teacher, has quickly showed the ability to inspire students and increase their manufacturing knowledge and skills. His nominator notes that the school’s students’ performance on the advanced manufacturing and logistics course assessments have increased since Ryan joined the team. Student-centered and dedicated to providing opportunities for hands-on learning, Ryan serves as an assistant varsity wrestling coach and has also coached football and track and field. He aspires to increase student experience by exposing them to real manufacturing settings.

As the Legislative Affairs Director with the Indiana Department of Transportation, Kacey works each day to build legislative consensus in support of transportation and logistics projects. Most recently, she has focused on aligning policies regarding oversize and overweight cargo, safety in work zones and critical infrastructure funding – tasks she sees as opportunities to improve the lives of her fellow Hoosiers. A Butler University graduate who is working on her master’s at IUPUI, Kacey is credited with bringing an infectious energy and enthusiasm to her role and with being a strong advocate for the transportation industry.

Described by his nominator as “an emerging technology leader,” Ankit joined Cummins in 2014 and has worked as a Manufacturing Systems Manager since 2015. Recently he was charged with leading the global deployment of a project for which he received a Business Impact Award. Certified as a Project Management Professional and Advanced Supply Chain Professional, Ankit received his undergrad degree at PESIT, in India, and his master’s in industrial engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. When not building his career toward his goal of becoming Cummins’ Chief Digital Officer, Ankit is writing a fantasy novel or venturing into spirituality through yoga and meditation.

As he approaches his 10th anniversary with Kem Krest, Tyler can look back on a steady stream of promotions, from his first days as a temporary associate to his current role as Warehouse Manager . Responsible for approximately $165 million in revenue, Tyler leads a team of 70 associates with a focus on continuous improvement, creativity and innovation. He is credited with playing a key role in the company’s earning the highest level of quality certification from GM, and he is active in a wide range of community projects – from serving as a volunteer for Junior Achievement Lemonade Day to teaching classes on continuous improvement for the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy.

Raya was one of many applicants for her job as Production Supervisor with TBK America, but she was the only one who came prepared with her own list of questions and suggestions for improving the production process. “She had some of the best ideas I have heard in a long time,” her nominator said. Raya was new to manufacturing when she started with TBK America as an assembly operator, but she quickly proved herself and emerged as an organized, approachable and even-keeled leader who is respected by her team. The biggest key to her success? “She puts her team before herself,” her nominator said.

An Estimator/Project Manager for E&B Paving, Brandon currently serves on the project management team for a $143 million interstate reconstruction project while also working on other projects. During his time pursuing his Purdue University bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, Brandon received a number of academic honors. Earning kudos from his team for his exceptional leadership and communication skills, Brandon enjoys mentoring interns and providing advice about careers within the company, and he also volunteers at his church.

As Manufacturing Engineer  with Allison Transmission, Terrance is responsible for process design and project management for new manufacturing capital purchases. In the past year, his work introducing new tool technology and processing methods to the organization required what his nominator described as a willingness to take “well-researched technical risks.” With a strong technical skillset, clear communication skills and a resilient positive attitude, the Purdue University graduate who also holds an MBA from the University of Indianapolis has earned Six Sigma Yellow and Green belts, and he looks forward to someday launching his own 3D printing consultancy as a side gig.

Since joining Cook Biotech as Development Engineer in 2018, Sydney has helped to scale up production processes, led or partnered on five new-product-development programs and submitted 13 invention disclosures and contributed to 2 provisional patents. She also founded and serves as team leader for CBI Professionals in Career Development, leading a group of eight volunteers to run 12 annual events for professional and personal development. With a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree from University of California at Santa Barbara, Sydney aspires to one day take at least one product line from initial discovery through submission to the FDA and commercialization.

While Corey has shown ongoing success since he joined Batesville Casket Co. as a project engineer in 2014, he put his skills to especially good use during the pandemic. As Manager of Sourcing & Supplier Development, he created systems to monitor the company’s domestic and overseas suppliers to ensure a steady supply of materials to the firm’s assembly plants. “Corey’s proactive actions have enabled us to keep running without any interruptions,” his nominator said. Having received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, Corey also earned an MBA from his alma mater by doing coursework during lunch breaks and on nights and weekends, while at the same time earning two promotions and receiving increasing levels of responsibility at Batesville.

As Community Involvement & Education and Program Specialist with Faurecia Clean Mobility, Kailey has worked to ensure that young people have access to careers in the industry and that the company has access to the resources it needs to attract, hire and retain good employees. The University of Indianapolis grad pairs high school student interns with experts in the company’s technology career fields so they can learn about the industry’s work and opportunities. In addition, she helped to grow the firm’s Maintenance Apprenticeship program in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and secured grant funding to help offset the cost of the program at two of the company’s plants.

As an Elkhart native, Haley Marie grew up in the shadow of manufacturing companies and wrote a college thesis about the RV industry. After earning her undergraduate degree at John Brown University and while studying for her MBA at Oklahoma State University, she came across MITO, a resin modifier that enhances the durability, flexibility and performance of composite materials used in manufacturing. Recognizing an opportunity, in 2015 she created MITO, winning more than $160,000 in business-plan-competition awards and later landing more than $3 million in grant and investor funding. Now the CEO of MITO Material Solutions, she recently moved the firm to Indianapolis to partner with more Midwest manufacturing firms.

Nominated by fellow Rising 30 honoree Haley Marie Keith, Rajan leads Ateios Inc., a firm that attracted more than $1.8 million in funding and for which he invented a patented battery technology and its manufacturing process. With a bachelor’s degree in nanoengineering from State University of New York Albany and a master’s and Ph.D. in the same discipline from the University of California San Diego, Rajan was described by his nominator as “one of the few engineers that can translate research into commercial products and use innovation to change the way existing industries operate.” His goal is to grow his company around innovations that will increase the life and charging speed of batteries while also lowering the cost.

Eric started his post-secondary education journey focused on eventually going to med school, but he quickly realized that what he really loves is engineering. Now IT & Business Processes Manager at Endress+Hauser, he not only works to build the firm’s business-to-business sales, but he shares his passion for engineering with others though mentoring and coaching. A Purdue University engineering grad who has earned his Six Sigma Green Belt and is working toward his Black Belt, Eric is described as a “passionate and patient leader” who sees talent development as a means for building the firm’s customer base.

A few years ago, Erica was asked to run a simple robotics demonstration in front a group of elected and community leaders. When attendees wanted to see more, she quickly programmed a new demonstration – which went so smoothly she was asked to make some impromptu remarks. “She rose to the occasion,” her nominator said, demonstrating not only robotics but also the can-do attitude that has defined her career. Often standing out in professional settings – usually the only female, only Latina, and only person below 5’ 2” in stature – the Three I Design Controls Programmer exudes a confidence that inspires others. “Erica has advanced minority involvement in the Evansville area more than she knows,” her nominator said.

When Carrie started her time with PBTT as an operator in 2017, she not only was new to the company but also to manufacturing. She proved to be a quick study, and today the firm’s Operations Manager is credited with acquiring and introducing to the firm an automated technology that allowed the company to increase market penetration, annualized revenue and employment by a year-over-year average of 300%. With a bachelor’s degree in communications studies and health administration from the University of Southern Indiana, Carrie worked for a long-term care facility and an investment firm before finding her niche at PBTT, where she is described as having a “keen understanding of disruptive technology and financial knowledge.”

As Continuous Improvement Engineer at Cook Medical, Taylor is helping to drive a manufacturing transformation at the firm’s Bloomington facility, leading process improvements, flow and systems integration to improve safety, quality, delivery and cost. The University of New Mexico graduate joined Cook in 2015 as a production engineer, and now is dedicated to helping not only to improve systems but also the Cook team. A former college and high school swimmer, she coaches the girls’ swimming team at Bloomington North High School and also serves as a volunteer coach with Bloomington Lacrosse – underscoring her ongoing commitment to helping others grow and achieve.

As she wraps up her degrees at Indiana University (one in International Studies and Japanese, and another in East Asian Language and Culture: Japanese), Lora is already deeply involved in company building. The Chief Administrative Officer of DRONEDEK since 2019, she has helped this family-owned startup secure patents and continue fundraising activities. Among her achievements: leading a global search to select a contract manufacturing partner and reducing projected per-unit production costs. The company expects to launch a pilot of its drone delivery project later this year, and with it a vision that Lora says offers “a ‘smart mailbox’ for every address in the United States and one day the world.”

In a little less than one year as Powertrain Manufacturing Engineer at Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Amanda has made her mark. For example, she led an effort that reduced production cycle time by 17% and improved product quality while also handling facility expansions, including a $390,000 office addition. With a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University Kokomo, she has earned her Six Sigma Green Belt certification, been named a World Class Manufacturing Specialist for NAFTA and, in 2018, helped create STEM-focused summer camps for boys and girls, serving more than 200 students a year in the Greater Kokomo area.

As Supervisor, Quality Control with Roche Diabetes Care, Kyle leads the largest group within Quality Control. Having joined Roche in 2014, he recently led the transfer of operations from a closed manufacturing facility to Indianapolis (resulting in a 60% increase in production volume), and he continually drives process improvements. In particular, his nominator praised Kyle’s ability to help his team adapt to changing conditions during the pandemic. Utilizing technology, Kyle kept his team engaged and focused, and he helped them continue to develop meaningful ideas that led to tangible results. Through these and other practices, Kyle earns praise for his mentoring, team building and genuine interest in people’s success.

You could say Justin has notched a towering achievement in his time with Red Gold. An Electrical Project Engineer, he designed and implemented the electrical system for a piece of equipment known as “the Mega Tower,” a large cooling tower at the firm’s Elwood facility that supports four process systems, and also created the human-machine interface and other elements of its operation – all while continuing to work on other projects. The Purdue University grad started with Red Gold as a summer intern and earned a spot on the team with his skills and abilities, but also with his positive attitude and willingness to help others succeed.

A Human Resources Manager with Fred Smith Store Fixtures, Jonathan is described as a “true servant leader” who strives to make connections in the community that will help to improve lives. For example, he created relationships between Indiana Department of Corrections in Branchville and the local Transitional Living House facilities to create career opportunities for individuals re-entering community from incarceration. A Butler University Lacy School of Business graduate who also spent time studying in Auckland, New Zealand, Jonathan serves on the board of a program providing high school manufacturing internships and also works with organizations supporting children and youth in Harrison County.

Since joining Arcamed in 2018, Brandon has received a steady stream of promotions and increases in responsibility, serving in multiple roles in quality, materials and safety. Now the firm’s Materials and Safety Manager, he has driven several improvements at the company, most notably the implementation of Arcaboard, a digital, live-feed information-sharing system. An alumnus of the University of Dayton, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Brandon is credited with continual improvements in Arcamed’s safety standards and also with strengthening relationships with suppliers across the state and country.

A veteran of Rolls-Royce’s internship program, Michelle has been connected with the firm since 2017, and in March she was named Forecast Planner, charged with managing a dashboard for open customer orders totaling $37 million. Even while she was in the company’s graduate development program, she made a difference, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in cost savings, improving delivery performance and more. With a degree in operations and supply chain management from Indiana State University, she is active in diversity and inclusion efforts at Rolls-Royce and was herself recognized with a 2021 Aerospace Industries Association Diversity & Inclusion Spotlight honor.

As Assistant Operations Manager – Variable Labor for GEODIS Americas, Roland has been instrumental in helping GEODIS create a new job classification around flexible/variable labor similar to the gig-work concept made popular by UBER and LYFT. Operating in a marketplace with a high degree of demand variability, GEODIS is constantly searching for ways to break through barriers that make it difficult to consistently match labor force and demand. “This program is helping to break down those barriers,” Roland’s nominator said. An Indiana State University Scott College of Business grad, Roland also has earned Six Sigma Yellow and Orange belts.