FLP: Alumni Spotlight

The AHTD Future Leaders Program is a comprehensive two-year course accomplished with both in-person and virtual training. Offered to talented, high-potential employees from member companies, the curriculum has provided these emerging leaders with the leadership skills to help them grow professionally as individuals, and to help with the growth of their teams and organizations. We are proud to share the accomplishments of each of our AHTD Future Leader alumni! (please send the details of any Alumni updates to Leigha.Schatzman@ahtd.org)

 

Let's get to know our Future Leader Alumni!


April 2024 Alumni Spotlight



Jessica Chaffin
Operations Manager
HESCO
Spring 2023, Bravo Cohort
LinkedIn Profile


 

Jessica Chaffin graduated from the AHTD Future Leaders Program in the Spring of 2023 as part of our Bravo cohort. Having begun working in Customer Service with HESCO 8 years ago, Jessica is now the Operations Manager overseeing their Account Support, Purchasing, and Warehouse operations in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Since completing the Future Leaders Program, Jessica has been focused on the continual improvement of her communication skills. She is constantly evaluating her ability to connect and effectively communicate with both customers and team members.

Jessica found the most valuable parts of the Future Leaders Program to be the opportunity it provided for networking with colleagues in industrial automation, in addition to the program’s focus on employee development. She shares that it is easy to get sucked into the tactical parts of her role, and that participating in the Future Leaders Program has provided her with the tools to help her refocus on people. She utilizes these skills to help her people grow individually and as a team.

Selling ice cream on the beach was Jessica’s first job, but her ideal job has nothing to do with selling sweet summer treats.  If she weren’t working in Automation, Jessica would be a High School Physical Education Teacher.  If she were to win the lottery, Jessica has already determined she wouldn’t buy any one specific thing - instead, she would use any winnings to invest in experiences for her family and friends.
 
It is great to have Jessica as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 

#AHTDrocks because of members like Jessica Chaffin
.
 
 

March 2024 Alumni Spotlight

 


Jason Edwards
VP Marketing & Sales
B&K Power to Solve
Spring 2023, Bravo Cohort

LinkedIn Profile



Jason Edwards is the VP of Marketing & Sales at B&K Power to Solve in Southern California. Graduating in the spring of 2023 as part of the second cohort of the AHTD Future Leaders Program, Jason is already applying many of the techniques he learned from the program, including having developed B&K Power to Solve’s communication patterns derived after running a company-wide DiSC assessment.

Jason found the ability to practice the learned material and develop new relationships with his cohort of Future Leaders to be the most enjoyable parts of participating in the program. The most valuable? The time they took to practice conducting the more difficult conversations leaders inevitably have with their team, whether relating to performance or behavior.

Jason is a man of many interests. With a passion for sports, his first job was as a personal trainer. If he wasn’t in automation marketing and sales, he said he would be the proprietor of his own unique coffee shops.


While he professes it may be boring, if he won the lottery,
the first thing Jason would buy would be investment stock.


It is great to have Jason as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Jason Edwards.


 

January 2024 Alumni Spotlight

 


Mike Hrubes

Director of Sales
Neff Power -  A GCG Automation Company
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile

 


Mike Hrubes, Director of Sales at AHTD member Genuine Cable Group, graduated as part of the first cohort of the AHTD Future Leaders Program in the fall of 2021. In addition to obtaining beneficial content from excellent instructors, Mike valued the Future Leaders Program’s interactive experience where he could collaborate with colleagues in the class and study groups to truly understand the topics and information being taught. He appreciated getting to know the members of his class and everyone learning from each other as they shared "real life" anecdotes on how the material being conveyed could be applied. Course material and concepts such as understanding others’ personality profiles has helped Mike to work more effectively with his team members having differing personality types. 
 
After graduating from Purdue University in the middle of the 1992 recession, Mike’s first job was in the parts department at an FAA Certified Repair Station for Rockwell Sabreliner and Lockheed Jetstar corporate jets. His first "real" job was as a Quality Engineer with Rawlings Sporting Goods Company where they designed and built test and production equipment (automation).

As an avid pilot and guitarist, if Mike won the lottery he would buy either a Cessna Mustang (light jet for 6 people), or an authentic 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar. (As an aside, we at AHTD are happy to hear how much Mike appreciates the talents of Waukesha’s native son!)  Mike says owning either would be a lot of fun, but in the long run he believes the 1959 Gibson Les Paul is likely to require significantly less maintenance!

It is great to have Mike as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Mike Hrubes.


 

 

December 2023 Alumni Spotlight

 


Sean Hesson
Sales Director

PULS
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile

 


Sean Hesson took part in the first class of our AHTD Future Leaders Program, having graduated in the fall of 2021. Before working in automation, Sean’s first job was selling hardware and software solutions to the hospitality and retail industry.  He had to “make tons of in-person cold calls which turned out to be an excellent opportunity for a first-time salesperson.” Today, Sean is the Sales Director at PULS.

Sean valued so many aspects of the AHTD Future Leaders Program that he finds it nearly impossible to select just one as the most valuable, and puts the program’s content and the relationships he’s formed at the top of his list.  He reports, “I can honestly say the program made me both a better leader for our organization and a better person outside of work. I have also developed close working relationships and some close friendships with members of the Alpha cohort.”  Sean found one of the more eye-opening pieces of information learned in Future Leaders to be how people within the same career/job can be differently driven. He has used this knowledge to better understand what is important to the individual members of his team, and this helps him to keep them motivated and engaged.

If Sean were to win the lottery, he says he would buy a private jet membership to travel the world with family and friends, all without the hassle of long lines and travel delays!  If he weren’t in automation, he would want to be a professional golfer even ‘though, by his own admission, he is “a really bad golfer”!
 
In addition to participating in the Future Leaders Program, Sean is an active AHTD member, serving on the association’s Program Committee. It is great to have Sean as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Sean Hesson.


 


November 2023 Alumni Spotlight

 


CJ Gilson
Outside Sales Representative

Gilson Engineering Sales, Inc.
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile



CJ Gilson's first step into the work world was as a Pizza Delivery Driver. Today he is a member of the sales team at Gilson Engineering in Pittsburgh, PA.

CJ was a part of the first class of AHTD’s Future Leaders Program. He found the most valuable part of the program to be the ability to build connections with similar, like-minded people in the same industry.  He appreciated having other Future Leaders act as a sounding board, and learning from each other with respect to present day issues and how to address them.

When asked what he would do if he weren’t in automation, CJ said he’d likely still be in sales of some kind, most probably in the software industry!

If CJ won the lottery, he says he would buy a vacation home in Marco Island.
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like CJ Gilson. It is great to have CJ as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and we appreciate his outstanding ambassadorship for this AHTD program!

 

October 2023 Alumni Spotlight

 



Marshall Fleming
Manager of Production & Assembly Operations

Schmalz USA
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort


 

Marshall Fleming, Schmalz USA’s Manager of Production & Assembly Operations, graduated as part of the first cohort of the AHTD Future Leaders Program in the fall of 2021. In addition to being able to directly apply the lessons learned from each module along the way, Marshall has found the most valuable part of the Future Leaders Program to be the discussions and peer mentoring he experienced among a group that is sharing the same challenges at the same times.
 
Marshall shares that, with his engineering background, in the past he tended to focus on the technical and would work to solve team problems with a more hands-on approach. Today he credits the Future Leaders Program with helping him to transition out of this model, focusing more on his people and coaching them up. He has appointed several supervisors and has frequent conversations aimed at coaching, training, and mentoring team members, placing special emphasis on building relationships with and within his team. He makes it a priority to empower employees with the tools and training necessary to feel like a part of the team and do a job of which they can be proud. 
 
Marshall’s first job was in lawn maintenance (cutting grass!). He likes working with his hands and being outside, so if he weren’t working in automation, he has said he could see himself working in construction.

If Marshall won the lottery, he says the first thing he would do is buy a new car for his wife and then he would treat himself to a new truck.
 
It is great to have Marshall as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Marshall Fleming.


 

September 2023 Alumni Spotlight

 


Brandon Bazemore
Regional Sales Manager

Electrical Equipment Company (EECO)
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile



Brandon Bazemore, one of the graduates of the AHTD Future Leaders Program's Alpha Cohort, completed his FLP instruction in the fall of 2021. Valuing the relationships he continues to build among the other Future Leaders Program participants, Brandon found the interactive group discussions to be the most beneficial part of the FLP program as it has allowed each of them the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences. He’s been able to apply all that he’s learned through the collaboration required of his role at Electrical Equipment, and he attributes AHTD’s leadership training as having provided him with the tools for resolving conflict as well as those required for interviewing and hiring new team members. 

Bagging groceries was Brandon’s first job.  When we asked Brandon what he would be doing now if he weren’t in automation, Brandon responded that he would be selling real-estate and flipping houses, both vocations which also require collaboration with others. If he won the lottery, Brandon would buy himself a fancy sports car.

#AHTDrocks because of members like Brandon Bazemore. It is great to have Brandon as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and we appreciate his outstanding ambassadorship for this AHTD program! 




August 2023 Alumni Spotlight



Adam Jackson
Regional Vice President of Sales for Illinois,
Iowa and Nebraska / Leader of the Business Development team

Power/mation
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile


Residing in Iowa, Adam Jackson is Power/mation’s Regional Vice President of Sales for Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska as well as leading the Business Development team. Adam graduated from the first group of Future Leaders where he found the opportunity to train with a diverse network of colleagues - where it was possible to conduct conversations specifically in the context of the automation industry - to be of the greatest value. As a leader, Adam finds that he is often challenged to provide a common direction to members of his team who all exhibit a disparate set of communication and behavior styles. He feels the Future Leader Program training prepared him to be more effective in seeing each member of his team as an individual and to communicate with and motivate them in the way needed by each one.
 
For his first job, Adam was employed at a country club where he worked in the bag room cleaning members’ golf clubs, maintaining the driving range, and ensuring an enjoyable member experience. If Adam weren’t in automation, he would be teaching high school physics or chemistry. 

Adam is the husband to the greatest wife, Trichelle, and father to four of the best children, so it comes as no surprise that if he won the lottery, he would take Trichelle on a well-deserved vacation.

Adam is now a Director on our AHTD Board and participates in a number of other programs offered by our association. It is great to have Adam as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this beneficial AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Adam Jackson.



July 2023 Alumni Spotlight




Adam Hershey
Vice President - Administration

NOSHOK
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile


Adam Hershey took part in the first class of our AHTD Future Leaders Program, having graduated in the fall of 2021. Adam values the relationships he is building among the other Future Leaders Program participants and appreciates the opportunity they had to determine how distributors and manufacturers could improve relationships and work together, better. He attributes AHTD’s leadership training as having provided him with the tools for handling difficult conversations, and in Adam’s current role as NOSHOK’s Vice-President, Administration in Berea, OH, he finds these communication skills are key. Adam has also coupled what he learned in the program with distributor feedback to update and improve processes and provide the best outcomes for NOSHOK’s partners. 


When we asked Adam what he would do if he weren’t in automation, Adam responded that he is still unsure about what he wants to be when he grows up!  He feels that, like most in the industry, measurement instrumentation manufacturing was not on his childhood list of what he wanted to be, but it has worked out great!


#AHTDrocks because of members like Adam Hershey. It is great to have Adam as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and we appreciate his outstanding ambassadorship for this AHTD program! 


 

June 2023 Alumni Spotlight




Lillie Deas
Director of Projects

EandM
Fall 2021, Alpha Cohort

LinkedIn Profile

 


Lillie Deas, one of the graduates of the AHTD Future Leaders Program's Alpha Cohort, completed her instruction in the fall of 2021. Now, as Director of Projects at EandM in Healdsburg, California, Lillie has stepped into a role that touches just about every team in her company.  She is finding everyone has different needs, a daily challenge that Lillie really enjoys! As an up-and-coming manager, she appreciates the tips learned from more experienced managers who participated in Future Leaders' discussions. She reports that it was “...great to hear examples of situations and how they were handled with grace and poise.” While she took away several concepts she regularly utilizes in her current role, she has been applying the concept of “flexing communication styles” the most.

Lillie has been in the automation industry since she began working; no flipping burgers for her. Her first job rewinding motors in EandM’s Motor Shop taught Lillie the importance of being dedicated and detail-oriented. If Lillie were not in automation, she says she would either be an artist or do something fun with the Spanish language. She also shared that she would perhaps appreciate combining the two by moving abroad and being creative.

If Lillie were to win the lottery, she dreams of helping close family members pay off their mortgages, and then take a proper family vacation. The rest she would wisely put away for the future.

In addition to participating in the Association’s Future Leaders Program, Lillie is an active AHTD member, participating in a number of our programming opportunities, including Women in Automation. It is great to have Lillie as one of our Future Leaders Alumni, and as such, an ambassador of this AHTD program! 
 
#AHTDrocks because of members like Lillie Deas.


Membership Video

Know anyone in industrial automation who is not yet an AHTD member? Perhaps it's even you! Watch our Membership Video to check out the benefits of membership and click here to find out why #AHTDrocks!