“I have been working with and mentoring young people all of my adult life. Our youth are most important priority in life. Over a decade and a half ago I transitioned from coaching travel soccer to becoming ingrained into the technical education fabric of the Midwest and around the country. This was the start of what became CHAMPION Now!®. Many distractions tried to pull me away from this concept, fortunately it became a focus that wouldn’t go away. The marketing of good paying manufacturing careers and their opportunities they offer is essential for so many reasons. Our country’s economy, manufacturers and young people all have much to gain in the process of understanding today’s reality. Help us discover tomorrow’s CHAMPIONS and become a CHAMPION Now!®”
Board of Directors
Terry M. Iverson
Iverson & Company
Roy Sweatman, President – Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), a precision custom manufacturer in Tampa producing high precision components for the Aircraft, Aerospace, Medical and Defense Industries. Roy has spent his entire career in manufacturing and is a past National Chairman of NTMA. He serves on the Boards of NIMS, NTMA, BAMA, AmSkills, CSTB and Florida Makes where he also is Chair of the AMWLC. Roy serves on Advisory Councils for East Lake, Middleton, Armwood, River Ridge High Schools and Pinellas Technical College where he is Chair of the Tampa Bay Machining Apprenticeship.
President Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc.
“In an effort to ensure the continued prosperity of individuals, families and communities throughout this country, the manufacturing industry must do a better job in marketing itself to this generation and generations to come. With millions of positions in the industry going unfilled, a skills gap that is widening by the day and unemployment at record lows, the manufacturing industry may only be one recession away, from going away. The days of complaining about the difficulties of finding skilled talent should be behind us. Its time industry leaders, companies, educational institutions and trade associations work together through a common platform to find our next Champions. Champions who are sitting right in front of us at the dinner table and inside of our classrooms.”
Formerly of SME Education Foundation
Although his dream was to be a broadcaster, his father recommended he apply for the GE Machinist Apprentice program out of high school. That program exposed him to all types of machining, assembly, programming, and manufacturing operations, as well college courses at night for 4 years. From there, he spent several years in engineering and production supervision. He took on his first management role at 22, with 68 direct reports over 2 shifts. That time as an apprentice and as a night shift foreman helped hone his skills for adaptation and creativity. As the economy shifted in 1986 and thousands were being laid off, he was offered an opportunity to interview for a sales position. Starting out in technical marketing, Jerry took a regional sales position a year later and in 1990, was promoted to Regional Manager for Carboloy. In 1992, he got into the machine tool side of the business and has held roles as Vice President, President and CEO with some of the best in the industry, including Gosiger, J&H Machine Tools, Morris Group and Methods Machine Tools. He currently runs his own advisory firm, Rex Connects, LLC, connecting people, companies, technologies and solutions, including American Precision Museum.
Mr. J. Paul Wahnish, is a long-standing member of the SAE, SME, ASME and is the President and Founder of several Engineering companies including Wahnish Consulting, Inc, and Metro Automotive Marine Accessories, Inc. While traveling the globe as an entrepreneurial owner of these businesses it became apparent to Mr. Wahnish that the structure of education in the United States was not preparing today’s students to fill the workforce needs for tomorrow.
In 2001, he sold one of the engineering companies and began a new career as a professional educator. Mr. Wahnish founded the East Lake High School Academy of Engineering and CTEF (Career Technical Education Foundation) in 2003 and served as the lead technical instructor, engineering mentor, and the Academy of Engineering Department Chair. Several years later Mr. Wahnish and his wife moved from Pinellas County to Seminole County to accept a position as a Career Technical Education (CTE) Administrator with Seminole County Public Schools (SCPS). After successfully completing the launch of several CTE programs in Seminole County, Mr. Wahnish accepted an Administrator position with Valencia College’s, Advanced Manufacturing facility as its Assistant Director.
Mr. Wahnish retired recently and has been very active in his company Wahnish Consulting, Inc., providing expertise and services to others interested in advancing educational opportunities for students.
“CHAMPION Now® is a movement to get people from all walks of life: every ethnicity, race, income level, student, teacher, parent, grandparent, guidance counselor, in the know about Manufacturing in the United States. Manufacturing can offer so much to so many as a source of good income and a steady career. It provides a way to make things with your hands and your mind using advanced computerized machining. The CHAMPION Now® movement offers camps, internships, plant tours, education materials, mentoring and so much more to help people understand the Manufacturing Industry.”