Dear SVMA Members & Friends,

As 2022 arrives SVMA is nearly its 5th anniversary.  And as Kevin McGrew, SVMA President noted, “It’s time we let the world know what we are doing, and not remain a well-kept secret!”  Hence, here’s a synopsis of key milestones,  changes and plans for SVMA in the New Year! 

A New Restart – SVMA is Now It’s Own 501(c)3!

When the Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative (SVMI) was formally organized in April 2017, we needed a fiscal partner who could support the organization and receive grant funding from our founding partner, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting  (CMTC).  SVMA will forever be grateful to Valley Vision for their leadership, moral & fiscal support.    In early 2021, SVMI and Valley Vision agreed that we needed to be our own organizations.  In June 2021 SVMI formally changed its name to SVMA and we officially launched it as our own 501(c)3.  We have a strong accountant in Lee & Sakai, who is intimately familiar with accounting for nonprofits and has made the transition seamless. 

A New Organization Deserves a New Strategic Plan

A new organization requires a new vision & a new strategic plan.  SVMA was fortunate to secure the services of Rick Barerra, who guided SVMA through a 6-week rapid fire strategic planning process.    First, here is the new SVMA Vision, “Leadership Support & Solutions for Sacramento Valley Manufacturers…..Now & in the Future.”  

Second, the Strategic Plan is focused on the organization achieving financial independence and solvency.  As Rick continuously reiterated, “The only difference between a for-profit and a nonprofit is what you do with the profits.”  Achieving financial independence allows SVMA to reinvest in manufacturing workforce development programs and education partnerships which support the growth of the region’s manufacturers.

Here’s a quick summary of the SVMA Strategic Plan (to be implemented by 12/2024): 

  • Increase the participation of the region’s manufacturers with a focus on meeting their needs.
  • Implement all 6 apprenticeship career pathways (CNC machinist, QC technician, technical welding, industrial maintenance technician, industrial automation technician, sewn products).
  • Place 175 graduates of the Charles A Jones (CAJ) Pre-apprenticeship Program with area employers.
  • Place 25  graduates of the Charles A Jones (CAJ)  Manufacturing Technician Program with area employers.
  • Set up and implement a fee schedule for placing CAJ program graduates with employers.
  • Secure sponsorships to support SVMA educational, professional development & training programs.
  • Generate sponsorships for CAJ students to wear program  attire.
  • Raise $200,000 annually from local, state & federal grants to support SVMA education and workforce development programs.
  • Build strategic partnerships with local, state and federal agencies to support programs which directly benefit area manufacturers.
  • Conduct quarterly roundtable member meetings to get feedback on what manufacturers need from SVMA and adjust our missions accordingly
  • Create a written partnership plan
Strategic Partnerships

The success of any business, for profit or nonprofit, depends upon strategic partnerships.  Joe Wernette, SVMA Vice-President, lead the creation of a “partnership plan” which identifies critical partners in local government, community-based organizations, manufacturing-focused groups such as CMTC or CMTA, and workforce development partners.  

SVMA’s partnership with the Sacramento Chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Excellence enabled us to host the region’s first Manufacturing Expo on National Manufacturing Day, Oct 1, at the City of Rancho Cordova.    Given ongoing health concerns, the outdoor venue was the perfect venue, and the weather was ideal.  Arlen Orchard of the CA Mobility Center and Kevin McGrew, SVMA President, set the stage for a great event, offering keynote messages to the attendees.  The day ended with a lively discussion with 3 women in manufacturing, Lori Symon, President of Aerometals, Michelle Stofan, VP of Garner Products and Sonia Susac, President of Tecma Company.  Overall, the event hosted 50 exhibitors and over 400 attendees.  Thank you to everyone who made this day an amazing success!

Second, in 2020, SVMA formed a strategic partnership with the CA Mobility Center (CMC),  to support our mutual workforce development efforts.  The CMC was established to help future mobility companies at all phases of the innovation to commercialization lifecycle.   Our combined efforts help launch the Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program at Charles A Jones Career & Education Center and continues to evolve as we invest in workforce development programs supportING the CMC and Sacramento Valley manufacturers.   

Third, recognizing that the region’s manufacturing workforce will be going through a major transition as 25% of the workforce retires over the next 10 years and 45% over the next 20 years, SVMA partnered with the Charles A Jones (CAJ) Career & Education Center to launch the region’s first adult education manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program.  Our mutual goal is to provide the basic skills necessary for adults to succeed in manufacturing, without enrolling in college immediately.  The success of this partnership depends upon the active participation of you, the manufacturer, serving on the CAJ advisory, but most importantly, hiring the graduates from the program.  Details about the program are below in the Workforce Development Committee update.

As noted, the manufacturing workforce will be going through a major transition over the next 20 years.

SVMA and the CA Manufacturing Technology Association (CMTA), the statewide manufacturing association, are exploring how we can leverage our mutual strengths to raise the profile of manufacturing workforce development programs such as pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs.   Stay tuned over the next year for periodic updates.

Workforce Development Committee

The Workforce Development Committee has been fortunate  to recruit three SVMA manufacturers as tri-chairs,  Sonia Susac of Tecma Company, Alex Muhs of Tri Tool and Herman Kaiser of  Insight Manufacturing Services.

In March 2021 the SVMA CNC Machinist Apprenticeship Program  received US Dept of Labor approval, thanks to the tireless work of Mike Bell and Tim Schaefer.  Approval by the State of CA Dept of Apprenticeship Standards will occur in Q1 2022.  SVMA is actively recruiting manufacturers and apprentices with an employer orientation scheduled for January 2022.

In 2022 SVMA will register 4 occupations with the US Dept of Labor and the QC Technician Apprenticeship  with the State in 2022.

During the past year, under Covid 19 restriction, SVMA and CAJ launched the 90 hour manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program, thanks to public sector grant support.   The 90 hour program provides graduates with the basic skills necessary for entry-level manufacturing jobs.   None of this would have been possible without the generous support of manufacturers who have donated equipment & materials to launch the program.  Upgrades to the electrical and air infrastructure in 2022 will enable CAJ to add additional equipment.  CAJ is fortunate to have hired Todd Frazee as the primary instructor, Todd has over 25 years of manufacturing experience and over 5 years of teaching at the community college level.

CAJ will be launching the manufacturing technician program (1,080 hours) in 2022. Graduates will have a broad range of skills necessary to effectively contribute to a local manufacturer.

Two final items of note,  SVMA will be launching a QC technician training program in Q2  2022, to support local employers’ needs for basic QC skills for incumbent employees.  If you are interested in upskilling your incumbent machinists, please let me know at your earliest convenience.  The workforce development committee will discuss  the program on  January 19.  

Last, in 2021, SVMA and CAJ launched a manufacturing career fair at CAJ, coinciding with the end of each pre-apprenticeship cohort.  These career fairs are open to the public.  If you would like to participate, introduce your company and recruit your future workforce, please let me know.  Future career fairs are scheduled for 1/28,  3/11, 4/22 & 6/3.   


SVMA was created with the intent of attracting the next generation of manufacturing, through our collaboration and partnerships with area high schools and community colleges.  None of this would have been possible without the generous financial support of the CA Community Colleges and the regional directors for advanced manufacturing who have generously given of their time – Caroll Pepper-Kittredge of Sierra College, Steve Dicus-educator emeritus, Mike Bell and most recently Jeff Briggs.  

As Covid 19 prevented local manufacturers from directly engaging with local high schools  and community colleges, and advisory meetings became Zoom meetings, SVMA and the CCC pivoted.  Steve and Jeff implemented bi-weekly and monthly “Shop Talks” and “Train the Trainer” events  to support the  instructors as they delivered virtual classrooms to their students.   We now have a community of educators who speak to each other regularly, sharing best practices that reflect real life manufacturing challenges.

As we all know, life evolves and organizations change.  And so, the role of the CA Community College Regional Director for Advanced Manufacturing has ended.    Please read Jeff Briggs’ Regional Director Message reflecting on the great work of Jeff and his predecessors.  Jeff & Mike Bell will continue to keep the website, EDU2MFG active, including the map of area manufacturers and schools.

If you are interested in supporting and sponsoring SVMA’s ongoing collaboration with area schools and educators, please reach out to Jeff Briggs.   Last, but certainly not least, if you are aware of any regional high school and community college advisory meetings, opportunities for collaboration, or  you are interested in hosting a student intern at your company, please let Jeff know.  Ms. Terri Griffiin  of the Roseville Joint Unified High School District has built a high school internship program and is actively looking for participating manufacturers.  Garner Products is one of the first area manufacturers to participate, with the intern starting in January 2022. 


When SVMA was originally organized, the members overwhelmingly expressed a need to host events where manufacturers could meet each other in a social setting.  As many of you may recall SVMA held its last social event in March 2020, 1 week prior to Covid 19 put an end to all social gatherings.  We were fortunate to host a social event  in Oct 2021 at Drakes Barn in West Sacramento with over 30 attendees.  We will be hosting another gathering on January 18 at Smart Axe in Rancho Cordova.  Here’s a weblink to the Smart Axe Event.  Register now as capacity is limited to 50.   These events will be a quarterly event so be on the lookout for future announcements.

The Membership Committee will also be hosting monthly professional development events in 2022.  Here’s a summary of events for January through July.

  • January Labor Law Updates
  • February Employee Retention Tax Credit
  • March Workplace Automation
  • April Workers Compensation Update
  • May Best Practices for Employee Retention
  • June Risk Management
  • July Quality Control for Manufacturing

The Sacramento Region is fortunate to have many women in leadership positions in the region.  Accordingly, Debra Griffin of MUN CPA, with the support of Alex Briggs of the CA Mobility Center will be hosting a social gathering for Women in Manufacturing in Q1 2022.  The goal of this group is to raise the awareness of the great opportunities for women in manufacturing, from production, to support and leadership.

Communications – “Let the Region Know About Manufacturing”
In keeping with Kevin McGrew’s mantra, that we need to raise SVMA’s visibility and the great work of the region’s manufacturers, SVMA is organizing a Communications Committee.  This committee will be responsible for critical messaging including SVMA branding,  media communications, social media, and related collateral materials.    The success of the organization and manufacturing growth depends upon your participation.   Please let Kevin, Joe or me know if you are interested in participating.

If you’ve made it to the end of this story, CONGRATULATIONS!  Please know that future newsletters will be succinct and action-oriented, with a focus on delivering the programs and services needed by you, the manufacturer!  

In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact SVMA leadership,  Kevin McGrew, SVMA President,  Joe Wernette, SVMA Vice-President/Secretary  or me,  Dean Peckham  with your suggestions.  We need to hear from you!

And last, if you’re not following SVMA on social media,  here are the links.  Please like us, link to us and contribute!

All The Best!

Director’s Message

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