WHO WE
ARE

With our industry, academic, philanthropic and public-sector partners we are focused every day on creating innovative strategies and programs that strengthen Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries.

OUR MISSION

Accelerate, promote, and grow Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics economy by leading innovative collaborations among industry, academic and public sector partners.

OUR VISION

Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics leadership is sustained for the next generations.

OUR CORE VALUES

INCLUSIVE

We are committed to driving diversity in the sectors we serve.

OPTIMISTIC

We are hopeful and confident in our future.

STRATEGIC

We are innovative and impactful in our pursuits.

GRITTY

We are bold and tenacious in our work.

GENUINE

We are authentic and candid in our actions.

THOUGHTFUL

We are purposeful and deliberate in our thinking.

HISTORY OF INNOVATION

Conexus Website Timeline
Conexus Website Timeline

OUR SPONSORS

Our work is possible through the generous funding from our many industry, philanthropic and public-sector partners.

Our philanthropic funders include:

Indiana: A State that Works

Our corporate sponsors include:

Ivy Tech

OUR SPONSORS

Our work is possible through the generous funding from our many industry, philanthropic and public-sector partners.

Our philanthropic funders include:

Indiana: A State that Works

Our corporate sponsors include:

GET INVOLVED

Whether you are focused on developing next-generation talent or defining technology’s role in the future of manufacturing and logistics, connect with Conexus Indiana and join the hundreds of stakeholders in support of our work.

Get Involved

OUR TEAM

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Conexus Indiana has assembled a team with vast expertise and experience in advanced manufacturing and logistics.

Conexus Indiana is led by President and CEO J. Mark Howell who is supported by a team of professionals with the knowledge and vision to work for the future of Indiana’s logistics and advanced manufacturing industries.

Bryce Carpenter
Vice President, Industry Engagement

Bryce Carpenter

“I hope to support industries that provide meaningful careers for Hoosiers.”

Read Bio

Sarah Harrison
Director, Talent Programs

Sarah Harrison

“My goal is to positively impact Hoosiers’ economic mobility.”

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Ryan Henderson
Director, Innovation and Digital Transformation

“I want the State of Indiana to lead the way in Industry 4.0 technology adoption and innovation.”

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J. Mark Howell
President and CEO

Mark Howell

“Advanced manufacturing and logistics are the backbone of Indiana.”

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Nikki Jagow
Manager of Talent Programs

“I want to see Indiana’s high school students become a viable solution for the growing need of skilled workers within advanced manufacturing.”

Read Bio

Mitch Landess
Vice President of Innovation and Digital Transformation

Mitch Landess

“I want to secure Indiana’s status in the make-things, move-things economy.”

Read Bio

Kyle Marshall
Director, Talent

Kyle Marshall

“I aim to enhance student learning by curating dynamic programs that strengthen the pathways to promising careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics.”

Read Bio

Bob McQuern
Director, Adult Education

Bob McQuern
“I hope to provide the unemployed and underemployed of Indiana with the opportunity for a bright future.”
Read Bio

Anna Meer
Manager, Operations & Data Analytics

Anna Meer

“I hope to raise Hoosier awareness of manufacturing and logistics careers.”

Read Bio

Laura Miller
Vice President, Communications

“I want Indiana to value to the impact of advanced manufacturing and logistics.”

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Brad Rhorer
Chief Talent Programs Officer

Brad Rhorer

“I hope to ignite the passion of learning to inspire the talent of tomorrow.”

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Michael Schmierer
Director, Operations & Strategic Initiatives

Michael Schmier

“I want to improve the quality of life for Hoosiers by growing the economy.”

Read Bio

Liz Waggoner
Executive Assistant and Events Manager

Liz Waggoner
“My goal is to help grow and promote Indiana’s manufacturing and logistics industries.”
Read Bio


J. Mark Howell
President and CEO
Email: mhowell@conexusindiana.com

Advanced manufacturing and logistics are the socio-economic backbone of Indiana and it is my hope that Conexus creates the networked communities and facilitates the thought leadership necessary to sustain Indiana as the leader in making and moving incredible things that impact the world.

Mark is passionate about Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors and was one of the early architects of Conexus Indiana’s mission and vision when the organization was launched in 2007. Today, as President and CEO, he drives the organization’s mission to grow and promote Indiana’s position as a global leader in making and moving products that impact the world.

A long-time supply chain logistics and business leader in Indiana, Mark spent a combined 25 years with Brightpoint Americas and Angie’s List before joining Conexus Indiana.

At Angie’s List, Mark served for five years as Chief Operating Officer, overseeing daily operations at the Indianapolis-based company. His prior experience included various executive leadership roles with Brightpoint Inc. for nearly 20 years, during which time the company grew from a 25-employee operation to an international Fortune 500 company.

Mark serves as a board member of KAR Auction Services and as a board and executive committee member of Ascend Indiana. He serves as Chairman for the Host Committee of the 2022 College Football Championship Game to be held in Indianapolis, as well as a board member for Visit Indy.

A CPA and graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he is a member of the university’s Sorin Society.

Bryce Carpenter
Bryce Carpenter
Vice President, Industry Engagement
Email: bcarpenter@conexusindiana.com

Working with industry, public-sector and educational partners, I hope to strengthen our economy and support industries that provide meaningful, life-changing careers for all Hoosiers.

As Vice President of Industry Engagement, Bryce supports the organization’s robust network of industry, public-sector and higher education stakeholders as they identify and activate the most impactful projects for industry growth.

Prior to joining Conexus Indiana, Bryce spent more than 10 years in business development, fundraising, marketing and communications for the Marion County Republican Central Committee (MCRCC). He most recently worked as the Executive Director for the MCRCC in Indianapolis, creating and executing individually tailored campaign platforms and grassroots strategies, and partnering with the Indianapolis City-County Council, State Legislature, and Mayor’s office on advance issues and legislation. Within the Committee, he previously held the position of Communication and Political Director where he managed press relations and volunteer programs.

Bryce holds a Bachelor of Arts from Centre College, Danville, Ky., where he majored in Government and minored in History.

Nikki Jagow
Nikki Jagow
Manager of Talent Programs
Email: njagow@conexusindiana.com

I want to see Indiana’s high school students become a viable solution for the growing need of skilled workers within advanced manufacturing.

Nikki, Manager of Talent Programs, spent more than 15 years in K-12 education. At Conexus, she uses that experience to support of K-12 talent initiatives with particular emphasis on the Modern Apprenticeship Program creating connections between high school students, educators and employers to establish comprehensive career pathways in advanced manufacturing.

Prior to joining Conexus, Nikki was the Work Based Learning Coordinator for the J. Everett Light Career Center (JELCC) where she was responsible for creating opportunities for students to learn in the workplace by facilitating and coordinating internships, apprenticeships and career exposure projects focused on student pathway goals. In this position she assisted students and families in successful transitions to postsecondary programs or career placements. The most meaningful moments were seeing students realize the powerful potential their future holds when their pathway is made clear.

Prior to JELCC, Nikki was a Parent and Community Coordinator for Indianapolis Public Schools. In this role she coordinated the efforts to establish the school as a centralized hub and resource to the students and families that attended. She was responsible for developing parent workshops to increase student academic performance, creating a viable parent/teacher organization, developing and sustaining community involvement, and organizing school-wide tutoring programs. It was in this role that she discovered a genuine talent and passion for seeing student growth and achievement.

Nikki attended Indiana State University and University of Southern Indiana with a major in Community and Public Health.

Sarah Harrison
Sarah Harrison
Director, Talent Programs
Email: sharrison@conexusindiana.com

My goal is to positively impact on Hoosiers’ economic mobility by ensuring they are aware of the available programs to learn new skills and realize the employment opportunities those skills bring.

Sarah works with high school students, industry leaders, teachers and administrators with one goal in mind: to prepare the next generation of students for careers in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. As Director of Talent Programs, she manages and supports all of Conexus' post-secondary programming including the annual Case Competition and the Movers & Makers: Emerging Leaders lecture series.

Prior to joining Conexus Indiana, Sarah held the position as Key Account Manager for NETLOGX in Indianapolis where her consultative sales and business expertise facilitated the company’s move from government to the private sector. Prior to NETLOGX, Sarah was Director of Admissions at the International School of Indiana where she recruited and retained domestic and international students and planned and coordinated school-sponsored events. Sarah has also held positions as Lead Trainer, Sales Training and Marketing Research Associate, and Pharmaceutical Sales Representative at Eli Lilly and Company U.K. where she managed in-house sales training for sales representatives and promoted four retail products to general practitioners and hospitals.

Sarah graduated from the Cookridge School of Radiology in Leeds, U.K. and served as a Combat Medical Technician in the Army Reserves, U.K.


Ryan Henderson
Director, Innovation and Digital Transformation
Email: rhenderson@conexusindiana.com

At Conexus Indiana, Ryan advances Conexus’ Industry 4.0 programming, which supports Indiana-based, advanced manufacturing and logistics companies with emerging and sustainable technology adoption to drive productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability.

Ryan is passionate about emerging technologies, innovation, and sustainable economic development. He strives to propel collaboration and innovation initiatives between industry, startups, nonprofits, and the investor community to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. He joined Conexus Indiana as the Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation from Techstars, where he helped manage The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars. During the program, Ryan helped 10 hardtech startups grow from early-stage to venture-backed companies. He engaged founders in Techstars intensive 3-month accelerator programming, which included working closely with 12 global network partners, the corporate partner (The Heritage Group & Heritage Group Ventures), over 85 mentors, and the Techstars associate team.

Before Techstars, Ryan worked at Current, Chicago's water innovation hub. He helped build demonstration projects and pilots and ran various events to accelerate the adoption of innovative water technologies. Most notably, Ryan supported the development of H2NOW Chicago, a first-of-its-kind pilot project aimed at providing real-time water quality data from the Chicago River to the general public.

Ryan a bachelor's degree in business from Eastern Illinois University, and a master's degree in sustainability management from DePaul University.

Andrea Kirschling
Andrea Kirschling
Program Manager, Industry Engagement
Email: akirschling@conexusindiana.com

I want to bring industry leaders together to create sustainable solutions for Indiana residents to thrive in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries.

As Industry Engagement Program Manager, Andrea supports Conexus Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics councils through data and information collection and analysis, special event planning and grant reporting.

Andrea has served in various support and analytical roles. Prior to joining Conexus Indiana, she investigated cases of housing discrimination as Test Coordinator at the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. In this role she trained volunteers, coordinated investigations, and performed analyses of housing discrimination cases for potential litigation across Indiana.  Prior to her work in Fair Housing, Andrea joined Exodus Refugee as an intern within the Reception and Placement Department, coordinating the needs of refugees within their first 90-days of arrival to Indiana.

Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in Honors History and Religious Studies with minors in Jewish Studies and Islamic Studies from Purdue University.

Mitch Landess
Mitch Landess
Vice President of Innovation and Digital Transformation

Email: mlandess@conexusindiana.com

I want to help secure Indiana’s leadership in the make-things, move-things economy.

Mitch joined Conexus Indiana as Senior Director of Industry 4.0 after more than 17 years at Rose-Hulman Ventures (RHV) where he grew revenue from $200,000 to $1.2 million over 12 years, formed collaborative innovation projects with universities across Indiana and developed paid internship opportunities for more than 1,000 students.

At Conexus Indiana, Mitch uses that experience to help develop Conexus Indiana’s Industry 4.0 initiative, which focuses on ensuring advanced manufacturing and logistics companies adopt technologies that will drive their growth.

Mitch served as director of business development and operations at RHV from 2005 to 2019 where he helped expand the RHV operating model and managed the mechanical engineering group. Before joining RHV, Mitch was a Senior Control and Process Optimization Engineer for Wabash River Energy, LTD.

Mitch holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Kyle Marshall
Kyle Marshall
Director, Talent
Email: kmarshall@conexusindiana.com

I aim to enhance student learning by curating dynamic programs that strengthen the pathways to promising careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics.

Kyle joined the Conexus team as the Director of K-12 Talent Initiatives in January 2020. He is responsible for leading the Hire Tech program and supporting its related programming, including teaching training and enrichment, Conexus Interns and the Conexus Interns’ Summit.

Kyle’s connection with Conexus Indiana started in 2015 as an educator in the Hire Tech program at the J. Everett Light Career Center in Indianapolis. While there, he served as a Hire Tech Master Teacher, demonstrating pedagogy best practices and supporting new Hire Tech teachers across the state of Indiana.

Prior to joining Conexus Indiana and teaching Hire Tech, Kyle was a project manager for Wynright Corporation. There he implemented logistics solutions for customers throughout North America and supported sites with document creation and training. His projects integrated automated palletization, pick sortation, package routing, and many other material handling and storage technologies.

When Kyle decided to take his industry knowledge to the classroom, he chose Teach for America as a transitional program to earn his teaching license. As a Teach For America corps member, he served at-risk youth as a middle school math and science teacher.

Kyle holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from Marian University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and an Associate of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Purdue University.

Anna Meer
Anna Meer
Manager, Operations & Data Analytics
Email: ameer@conexusindiana.com

Through educational and hands-on experiences, I hope to increase Hoosier awareness of the incredible opportunities that exist in Indiana's manufacturing and logistics careers.

As Manager of Talent Programs, Anna is responsible for data and information tracking, coordinating and supporting talent programming, drafting communications for talent programs, and providing Hire Tech field support.

Prior to joining Conexus Indiana, Anna was a Write Place Consultant with the Franklin College Academic Resource Center where she tutored students who were struggling in English literature courses, created and delivered short seminars on exam preparation, and led one-on-one workshops for students struggling in writing and composition courses. Anna also served as a Research Assistant for the Franklin College Department of Biology editing educational brochures and articles for publication through the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN).

Anna was an Intern with Conexus during the summer of 2016, providing support for Talent Team programming.

Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Franklin College.


Laura Miller
Vice President, Communications

Email: lmiller@conexusindiana.com

Laura Miller is a 25+-year marketing communications veteran with a passion for helping local economic development and healthcare companies deliver compelling messages and reach audiences close to home and around the globe.

She moved to Zionsville in 1990 with her husband, Jim, and son, Alex. At the time, she was the Managing Editor and part owner of the Zionsville Times Sentinel. She is a graduate of the Boone County Leadership program and has been an active community volunteer for the past 22 years.

After 11 years as a journalist, she joined a small marketing communications agency in Indianapolis as public relations director. She later joined Eli Lilly and Company as a corporate Public Relations Senior Associate where she gained experience working in the medical field and communicating complex issues to consumer audiences.

Laura stepped back into the agency environment after nearly four years at Eli Lilly and Company, serving in leadership roles at various global and small agencies in Indianapolis. Her last agency position was as Vice President, Director of Public Relations for Caldwell VanRiper.

Brad Rhorer
Brad Rhorer
Chief Talent Programs Officer
Email: brhorer@conexusindiana.com

I hope to ignite the passion of education and industry to engage the workforce of today and inspire the talent of tomorrow.

Brad is a long-time industry professional recognized in both the public sector and manufacturing industry for his expertise in talent development. As Chief Talent Programs Officer, Brad uses his experience to develop and direct programs that support secondary and post-secondary students, as well as adult workers across Indiana, to succeed in an evolving technologically advanced industry sector.

Brad joined Conexus Indiana after a 25-year career at Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. (SIA), starting with experience on the production assembly line. He held positions of increasing leadership up to his most recent role leading Human Resources operations and serving as manufacturing liaison for more than 5,000 employees at the Lafayette, Ind., plant. He was instrumental in developing major programs to address talent needs at SIA. He is also a member of the Indiana Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, a group created during the 2018 legislative session to assess and realign Indiana’s workforce development programs and services.

Brad holds a master’s degree in business administration from Western Governors University, a bachelor’s degree in management of human resources from Bellevue University and an associate’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision from Purdue University.

Michael Schmier
Michael Schmierer
Director of Operations & Strategic Initiatives
Email: mschmierer@conexusindiana.com

I want to improve the quality of life for Hoosiers by growing the advanced manufacturing and logistics economy and providing more pathways and opportunities for Indiana residents.

As Director of Operations, Michael is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Conexus Indiana and manages the organization’s performance, productivity, efficiency and processes.

Before joining Conexus Indiana, Michael was a Legislative Assistant for the Indiana House of Representatives where he assisted in policy research regarding various state issues, tracked and analyzed bills through the legislative process, and organized and scheduled events for legislators.  Prior to his position as Legislative Assistant, Michael worked as an intern in the Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

Michael holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Purdue University.

Bob McQuern
Bob McQuern
Director, Adult Education
Email: rmcquern@conexusindiana.com

I hope to provide the unemployed and underemployed of Indiana with the opportunity for a bright future.

Bob works with industry and educational partners of our Catapult program to provide job training to unemployed and underemployed Hoosiers for entry-level manufacturing jobs. The goal of the Catapult program is to meet current and emerging industry needs, build a stronger talent pipeline, expand employment participation and increase worker wages.

Bob joined Conexus after a 30-year career in the manufacturing industry, starting on the production side and working his way to human resources. Working with Caterpillar and Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA), Bob specialized in recruiting production, technical and professional staff, and implementing policies and procedures and wage and benefits surveys. While working for SIA, Bob managed the Advanced Internship Manufacturing (AIM) program for high school students which provides skills and training to develop students into full-time maintenance associates.

Liz Waggoner
Liz Waggoner
Executive Assistant & Events Manager
Email: ewaggoner@Conexusindiana.com

My goal is to help grow and promote Indiana’s manufacturing and logistics industries.

As the Operations Manager and Executive Assistant, Liz Waggoner is responsible for the support of the President & CEO, as well as supporting initiatives within Conexus Indiana. She maintains calendars and details to ensure efficiency of the entire organization.

Prior to joining Conexus in August 2019, Liz spent seven years at Total Quality Logistics (TQL) as a Logistics Coordinator. While with TQL, Liz acted as a liaison between shippers, receivers and transport companies to best serve TQL’s customers. She was also responsible for mentoring and training up and coming team members within the company.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law & Society from Purdue University.


Tim Raper
Director, Industry Engagement, Advanced Manufacturing

Email: traper@conexusindiana.com

Conexus' focus on advancing manufacturing within Indiana will not only make the companies driving our GDP more competitive, but also more efficient, and in alignment with industry 4.0 objectives.

As Director of Industry Engagement, Tim is leading Conexus Indiana's corporate involvement in council-based working groups that will accelerate the planning and design thinking required to increase productivity and economic growth in the manufacturing sector.

Previously, Tim served as the Telematics Product & Program Manager for Toyota Material Handling, USA, Inc. where he directed and program managed their IoT business initiatives to deliver cloud based real-time fleet and asset management telematics services for national account customers and dealership network of over 200 locations throughout North America.

Prior to Toyota Material Handling, Tim served as Senior Product Marketing Manager while at CSR Technology, and Standard Micro Systems Corporation, Officer and Director of Communications for IEEE, Director of Technical Marketing at OASIS Silicon Systems, Product Marketing Manager for Advanced Micro Systems, and as Lead Electrical Design Engineer for Delphi Automotive Electronics.

Published in industry trade press, and application notes, Tim holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering & technology from Purdue University.

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