Join us for our Fall Manufacturing Forum on September 8th! The Forum will be held at Flexfab Training Center in Hastings and kicks-off at 8:00am. The Fall Forum has been moved to a virtual-only format. This year's forum will be a deep dive into onshoring, reshoring, and supply chain networks. We will also provide a brief update on the CHIPS legislation, and it's potential impact on the West Michigan region.
Leading the discussion is Sonja Johnson, Executive Director of the GVSU Van Andel Global Trade Center. Sonja will provide insight into the onshoring and reshoring process.
Kelsey Rhoda, Region 3 Program Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) Program Director, will discuss how your company can utilize PTAC resources to secure government contracts, attain special designations, and provide bid matching services to strengthen and grow your company.
Tanya Markos-Vanno, Development & Operations Manager for Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) will offer attendees insight into resources and services they offer, including organizing buyer-supplier meetings. A representative will also discuss how PMBC can assist with entering the global market (more details to come).
A representative from Sen. Gary Peters' office will provide an update on the CHIPS legislation, and it's anticipated impact on the West Michigan manufacturing ecosystem. Finally, Jason Hill of Davenport University will discuss how GoingPro Talent funds can be utilized for the IPEx training programs offered at DU.
Grand Valley State University, Seidman College of Business Sonja Johnson, Executive Director, Van Andel Global Trade Center (VAGTC)
Sonja is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker, who specializes in global supply chain, foreign-trade zone administration and Customs compliance. Her past work includes working for multi-national and global companies, supporting their international trade operations, international sales/customer service, global supply chain with responsibilities for developing and overseeing global trade and compliance programs. Sonja joined the Trade Center in 2003, to provide global trade expertise, as a consultant and trainer. She has been in her current role as Executive Director of the Center since 2006. Sonja has led trade missions to facilitate business expansion of Michigan small businesses to Mumbai, India, Guangzhou Province in Southern China and São Paulo, Brazil.
Sonja is responsible for setting strategic direction and overseas operations for the Center who offers international education, international research and export/import consulting services to assist Michigan businesses with global business growth. Under her leadership, VAGTC has received the President’s “E” Award, the highest recognition of any U.S. entity can receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports.
Sonja holds a Bachelor of Science with dual majors in International Business and Marketing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota and a Masters of Business Administration, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Tanya Markos-Vanno currently works as the development and operations manager for Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC), a program of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role, Vanno is responsible for initiating, designing and organizing strategic buyer-supplier matchmaking initiatives. She works to increase procurement for Michigan suppliers through creating and maintaining strategic partnerships between suppliers and private sector executives to further PMBC recruitment.
Prior to PMBC, Vanno served for eight years as Executive Director for the Southfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Under her direction, the chamber developed & implemented a five-year strategic plan including, but not limited to, establishing brand equity, implementing operating systems, developing & managing volunteer committees, hiring & training staff, securing major sponsors, and establishing attraction & retention protocol. Before her position at the Southfield Chamber, she worked for a virtual officing company, moving up through the company throughout her seven-year tenure. As a business consultant, she worked directly with clients and business owners to find solutions to keep their overhead costs down, while maintaining their professional image. In this capacity, she served as an ambassador for the Southfield Chamber, then as a board member.
Vanno has more than 15 years of experience as a strong relationships builder, trusted leader, and dedicated business partner. She brings excitement and dedication to her position at PMBC and continues to explore new ways to grow Michigan businesses. Vanno has a master's degree in Urban Planning from Wayne State University.