In this meetup we will examine the status of manufacturing in our community, and review which industries/sectors are active in our community, which may be growing, and the associated labour market considerations and opportunities.
Don’t miss this special opportunity to learn about and discuss our manufacturing environment with local leaders from Economic Development, Business Development and Workforce Planning.
Maria Suarez is a Senior Business Development Officer with Waterloo EDC, the investment promotion agency for the Region of Waterloo. As an organization, the goal is to attract companies that want to locate, relocate or expand in the region. Her focus is on the German market in terms of foreign direct investment while she takes care of the manufacturing file, including food processing. Before joining Waterloo EDC in 2016, Maria spent seven years working for the Consulate of Mexico in Toronto, in charge of Trade and Investment promotion. She has been living in Canada for 10 years.
Carol Simpson is the Executive Director of the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin and has been in that position since 2000. Previously, she has had experience working in many different settings including public corporations, private enterprises, both small and large, not-for-profit organizations, municipal and federal government and enjoyed time as an entrepreneur doing private consulting and as owner/operator of a catering company in Brantford. As a strong proponent of life-long learning, she was granted her Chartered Manager designation in 2016 through the Canadian Institute of Management. Carol likes to think and work outside of the box and strongly believes that nurturing partnerships and creating opportunities for collaboration can really make a difference in how our work impacts communities for the better.
In her spare time Carol likes to travel and is currently finishing a cook book.
Valerie Bradford has been a Business Development Officer with the City of Kitchener since 2005, where she is involved with the manufacturing sector, industrial land sales, and is coordinator of the city’s corporate consultation program. She also serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN), a position she has held since its inception in 2008. In addition, Valerie is also Chair of the Board of Directors of the Workforce Planning Board for Waterloo, Wellington, and Dufferin, and is a member of the Advisory Board for Conestoga’s Centre for Smart Manufacturing. Previous to joining the City of Kitchener, Valerie worked as a senior business advisor with the small business group of a large chartered bank and has also been employed with a planning consulting firm, a law office, and in the insurance industry. Her previous experience in economic development was with the former Regional Municipality of Haldimand-Norfolk.
Valerie is a graduate of the Travel and Tourism program of Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto. She was honored to participate in a joint mission to Ukraine with the Canadian Urban Institute and the Canadian International Development Agency as a consultant on the development of their tourism product.
Valerie is a graduate of the University of Waterloo Economic Development program, and has obtained the professional designation, Ec.D. from the Economic Developers Association of Canada. Professional memberships include the Economic Development Council of Ontario, the Economic Developers Association of Canada, and Business Retention and Expansion International, from which she has earned the title of BR&E Project Coordinator.
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