OUR STAFF

Dan Swinney
Founder
dswinney@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 x14

Dan founded Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) in 1982 in response to the thousands of manufacturing plant closings in the Chicago area. At the beginning, the organization’s work was focused on industrial retention efforts, but for the past 10 years it has expanded to include education and training. Dan’s goals are to fuel innovation and competitiveness; to fill the skills and succession gap; and to build stable, thriving communities.

Prior to founding MR, Dan worked for 13 years as a machinist in the Chicago area. He organized Steelworker Local 8787 at G+W Taylor Forge in Cicero, Illinois and served as Vice President. Taylor Forge closed in 1983.
Dan went to the University of Wisconsin, graduating with a B.A. in history in 1967. He writes and speaks regularly for manufacturing trade associations, universities and colleges, community development networks, unions, and others interested in promoting advanced manufacturing and its intersection with public interests domestically and internationally.

Erica Swinney Staley
Executive Director
estaley@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 20

Since 2008, Erica has worked for Manufacturing Renaissance (MR) and now serves as its Executive Director. MR advances sustainable development anchored in manufacturing. Through MR, Erica developed and managed the Manufacturing Connect (MC) and Young Manufacturers Association (YMA) programs to expose, inspire, prepare, and support Black and Latinx youth and young adults to pursue career pathways in manufacturing.  
 
Erica also has been one of the lead grant writers for MR, including designing the program which MR earned a multi-year grant from the U.S. Dept. of Labor and most recently a grant that lead to establishing MR as a youth-delegate agency for the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. 
 
Erica, a biracial Black woman (she/her), was born and raised in the Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods of Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools through graduating from Whitney Young Magnet HS. After completing her BA degree at the University of California (Berkeley), she served two years in Peace Corps in Paraguay and eighteen months in Americorps. She later earned a Master’s degree in Ecology from San Francisco State University. Before joining MR, Erica started her career in California as a community organizer and project manager for youth and community projects addressing environmental, social, and economic justice issues in low-income, communities of color. Erica currently lives in Logan Square with her husband and son.

David Robinson
External Affairs Director 
drobinson@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 19

David brings a unique blend of skills and experiences to the MR team. Prior to joining MR in 2016, David teamed with the late Henry L. English as the Communications Director/Sr. Program Officer of the Black United Fund of Illinois. While there, Robinson played a leading role in designing and implementing numerous initiatives including the Safe Passage School Safety program now in use citywide by the Chicago Public School system; the Construction Trades Pre-Apprenticeship Program which prepared community members for careers in the construction trades; several social entrepreneur business models; and a service and outreach-driven violence abatement program that Chicago Police brass credited with reducing violent crime in the target area by 33 percent.

David is a proud Morehouse College man with credentials from a DePaul University Egan center executive management seminar series. He is also a certified conflict resolution specialist and holds a TV studio production certificate from CANTV.

​Veronica Buenrostro
Director of Financial Management
vbuenrostro@mfgren.org
(773) 278 5418 ext 25

Veronica joined Manufacturing Renaissance in March 2016, bringing over 10 years of accounting and 15 years of office management experience. Throughout her career, she has worked for several non-profits, including the Mujeres Latina en Accion. She holds a M.B.A from National Louis University, and a B.A in Business Administration, with a concentration in Accounting from the Robert Morris University. Although she was born and raised in Chicago, she speaks fluently in Spanish. 

Joyce Weston​
Program Director, Career Pathway Services 
jweston@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 21

Joyce Weston, a Chicago native, obtained both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at Northeastern Illinois University and Loyola University Chicago, respectively.  Having grown up in the Cabrini Green housing projects, Joyce’s plan and passion has always been to work in underserved communities.  She has spent the last 15 years providing clinical and case management services to youth, families and older adults throughout the city.  Joyce brings a breadth of program management, evaluation and quality compliance experience to MR.

 

Although she enjoys the administrative side of social work, Joyce is also committed to the therapeutic process and maintains a private practice, working with individuals and couples.  Her work is rooted in her belief that, given the right tools, people have the ability to create lasting change in their lives.  And when she isn’t working, Joyce is continually chasing the next adventure in her own life. 

Selene Diaz
Project Director, Cook County Early Warning Network
sdiaz@mfgren.org

Selene is an accomplished leader with over 15 years of global experience managing people, operations, and products in the direct-selling, e-commerce, and manufacturing industries. For the last six years, Selene worked at LBP Manufacturing, a Pritzker Private Capital company, that manufactures sustainable packaging for the foodservice industry. Selene also has extensive experience in private equity and company valuation.

 

During her career, she was exposed to every aspect of the business from product management to warehouse operations to sales and accounting. Selene’s experience taught her the importance of listening – to customers, to business partners, and to employees.

 

Selene completed her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a focus on finance and entrepreneurship in June. She earned her undergraduate degree at Elmhurst College in Communications and Organizational Psychology.

 

Ms. Diaz's deep experience and knowledge in finance and manufacturing business and operations will help us take the Re/Cast project to another level. See her experience here.

Leslye Long
Assistant Program Director, Career Pathway Services
llong@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 30

Leslye Long is a native Chicagoan who has provided mentor program development to youth and adults throughout Chicagoland communities for almost 16 years. Leslye joined Manufacturing Renaissance in 2014, when the organization was awarded a $2.4M Department of Labor grant, which brought to the development of Manufacturing Connect's mentoring program. She is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago and enjoys incorporating organized creativity and life skills into her program designs. During her spare time she enjoys self-improvement activities and teaching Empowerment Art Workshops at the University of Chicago’s Logan Art Center.

Brence Turner
Senior Machining Instructor, Career Pathway Services 
bturner@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 31

Brence Turner is Manufacturing Renaissance’s Senior Machining Instructor who has over 20 years of aerospace and power generation industry experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Vocational Leadership, Training and Development, as well as a Journeyman's apprenticeship certification from the Tooling and Manufacturing Association.  He is committed to bridging his experience and partnering with youth to enhance their access to economic equity through educational and advanced manufacturing career pathways. His work is rooted in building stronger communities in the City of Chicago and the surround Chicagoland area. When he is not in the classroom, he enjoys personal training, reading, and spending time with his family.

DeeDee Jones
Industry Coordinator, Career Pathway Services 
hjones@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 33

Dee Dee is responsible for recruiting manufacturing companies for field trips, job shadowing experiences, internships and career opportunities, as well as prepare students for careers in manufacturing. DeeDee has been part of the MR team since 2014. She has recruited for various manufacturing companies in multiple industries for various types of positions for over 15 years. She also worked as an adviser for manufacturing companies on current trends, labor market information, workforce programs and funding and connected companies to partner agencies for additional resources.

She is a graduate from Lewis University with a B.A. in Business Administration and MMS NIMS Credential holder.

Mieka Matthews
MC Program Coordinator, Career Pathway Services
mmatthews@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 32

Mieka joined Manufacturing Renaissance in the fall of 2015 as a tutor and is now a full-time program coordinator as of July 2017. She supports all program activities related to our Manufacturing Connect program serving in-school youth from multiple high schools. In particular, she helps with the implementation of mentoring activities, tutoring and manages participants’ Individualized Development Plans. Mieka received her B.A in Human Development at The University of Illinois at Chicago. She hopes to further pursue a career in education and politics.

Torres Hughes
YMA Program Coordinator, Career Pathway Services 
thughes@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 40

Torres started off as a Program Assistant joining the Manufacturing Renaissance's team on a full-time basis in the fall of 2018, although he has been part of the network for many years. Torres is in fact a 2012 graduate of Manufacturing Connect Austin Polytech Academy, with 2 NIMS credentials. He worked for a couple of years in manufacturing at WaterSaver Faucet and Freedman Seating, before discovering that his real passion and interest is community development. As a program coordinator, he supports YMA training and services activities, particularly in its outreach efforts and engagement with the YMA members.

Leslie Montoya
Bookkeeper & Program Assistant, Career Pathway Services 
lmontoya@mfgren.org
(773) 278-5418 ext 13

Leslie provides administrative support to the Manufacturing Renaissance team. Leslie is an Illinoisan native and has worked in the nonprofit community in Chicago as a Family Advocate and Case Worker for the past six years. She received a BA in Anthropology from DePaul University with a minor in History. Leslie developed a strong sense of devotion for the nonprofit sector during her time as a Case Worker with Heartland Alliance. This experience gave her a deep appreciation for how nonprofits seek to improve the quality of life for people in low income communities.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Edward Hamburg 
Chairman
Edward Hamburg serves on the board of directors of high technology companies and as a venture partner with the private equity group of Morgan Stanley. His directorships include Interactive Intelligence Incorporated (contact center software), Interlink Electronics (components for medical and hand-held devices), Perceptive Software (document management), ThruPoint (information technology services), Core Security Technologies (software for computer perimeter testing), HyPerformix (capacity planning software), and Sendmail (software for managing complex e-mail systems).
Mr. Hamburg was Executive Vice President of Corporate Operations, Chief Financial Officer, and Corporate Secretary of SPSS Inc. from 1992 to 2004. He headed SPSS business and corporate development efforts from 1986 to 1992 after senior roles in sales, marketing, and professional services. Ed received a Ph.D. from the department of political science at The University of Chicago and was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his M.A. and B.A. from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Tod Lickerman 
Chicago Impact Development Company
Tod is an independent investor and advisor to a number of growth companies including the nano-tech company Ultra Small Fibers, the medical device company Stem Scaffold Technologies and the European indoor skydiving company ISI, based in Germany. Tod’s main focus is as Chair and Managing Partner of the Chicago Impact Development Company, a development company committed to investing in American inner cities. Tod has over 33 years experience in the commercial real estate field helping to create two of the top global commercial real estate firms; JLL and Cushman & Wakefield.

From 2013 - 2017 Tod was instrumental in carving out the international real estate services company DTZ from their Australian parent company and selling the company to a private equity consortium led by TPG, PAG and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. As CEO of DTZ Tod led growth and M&A acquiring Cassidy Turley in the United States and the international real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. After acquisition and integration of 20 companies deploying capital in excess of $4.1B, C&W went public in 2018 and has an enterprise value of over $7B.

At JLL Tod ran several divisions including Corporate Solutions, Commercial Solutions, Healthcare, Energy and Sustainability Services, Corporate Property Services, European Facility Management and Project and Development Services during his 23 year tenure at the firm. Tod has a degree in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin.
Victor Dickson
Safer Foundation
Victor Dickson is the President/CEO of Safer Foundation in Chicago IL, a leader in community corrections, prisoner reentry and workforce development. Safer Foundation assists individuals with a full spectrum of services designed to overcome the barriers to reentry. The core of Safer’s mission is job preparation and placement which substantially lowers the rate of recidivism. Safer Foundation helps individuals reenter as productive, contributing members to society. Victor offers not-for-profit and corporate senior level management experience in strategic planning, organizational development, financial management and process improvement.
Victor is a member of the State of Illinois Human Services Commission, the State Workforce Investment Opportunity Board and State Commission to Eliminate Poverty. He served on the City of Chicago Police Accountability Task Force and was recently appointed to the Cook County Commission for Social Innovation. Mr. Dickson received his undergraduate degree from Roosevelt University Chicago IL.
Doug Gamble
Secretary
Mr. Gamble was an International Representative of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) 1995-2002 and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU), 1985-1995. He was associated with the union’s Industrial Development Department, which worked with staff and local unions on developing union-centered “high road” manufacturing and labor-management partnerships.
 
He recently served on the boards of directors of the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee, and the Socio-Technical Systems Roundtable, of which he was President. He was a founder of the Tennessee Industrial Renewal Network and worked as a university professor. He received his undergraduate degree from Maryville College (TN) and an M.A and PhD from Ohio State University.
Peter Cunningham 
Consultant
Peter Cunningham is the Executive Director of Education Post, a Chicago-based non-profit communications organization promoting efforts to improve public education. Previously, Peter was President of Cunningham Communications, a Chicago-based communications company serving public, private and non-profit sector clients. He is also affiliated with Whiteboard Advisors, a DC-based education policy and research firm.
 
He recently served as Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama Administration’s first term. Prior to that he worked with Arne Duncan when he was CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Peter serves on the board of different organizations involved with education. He earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in Philosophy from Duke University.
Garrick Davis 
U.S Securities and Exchange Commission
Garrick Davis is the Program Manager at the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. He directs program management efforts for the processing and verification review of more than 97,000 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. Prior, he was the Legislative Director for Economic and Financial Policy at the National Urban League Policy Institute in Washington, DC.
 
Garrick, under the Obama administration, was a Policy Analyst in the Office of the Vice President as part of a team assigned with the tactical implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and received his undergraduate degree from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Craig Freedman 
Freedman Seating Company 

Craig Freedman is CEO of Freedman Seating Company, a Chicago-based manufacturing company. For over 125 years, Freedman Seating has been engineering and manufacturing seats and seating related products for many different applications. The company's commitment to keep manufacturing in Chicago and strengthen the industry is proven by its partnerships with schools and community and employment organizations.

As one of our closest partners, Craig sits on the board of directors as a representative of our work through the Chicagoland Manufacturing Renaissance Council. 

Susan Helper

Case Western Reserve University

 

Susan Helper is the Carlton Professor of Economics at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. She was formerly chief economist at the U.S. Department of Commerce and a member of the White House staff. She has served as chair of the economics department and has been a visiting scholar at University of Oxford, the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on supply chain globalization, technology implementation that enhances job quality, and creation of supply chains for a low-carbon economy. She is a Research Associate at NBER and Co-Director of CIFAR’s Project on Innovation, Equity, and the Future of Prosperity. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard and her BA from Oberlin College in economics, government, and Spanish.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Contact Manufacturing Renaissance

3411 W. Diversey Ave, Suite 10

Chicago, IL 60647

773-278-5418

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