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Last updateThu, 14 Dec 2017 8pm

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HR Workshop in Houston, Nov. 14-15: How to Build a Better Workforce

Attendees will gather in Houston to hear from several industry and human resources (HR) experts on how to overcome the challenges of recruiting and retention in the industrial and manufacturing sector. Hosted by the Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA), the 2016 Human Resources Workshop: Building a Better Workforce through Employee Engagement takes place Nov. 14-15, 2016 at the Houston Marriott West Loop – Galleria, and features a global marketing and strategy expert; a mentoring and training specialist; an employment law attorney; and the Deputy Director of the Houston Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC).

Speakers and Panels

Among the variety of knowledgeable speakers for this event is keynoter Ian Baynes, former Global Marketing Director for A.W. Chesterton, a VMA member company. Baynes will discuss the difficulties that many industrial companies encounter when filling critical positions. To build the workforce of the future, Baynes says, there is a vital need to invest time and resources. Having formerly led a successful mentoring program at A.W. Chesterton, Baynes is familiar with what it takes to effectively face the reality of an aging workforce and the loss of critical knowledge, and will share his wealth of experience and recommendations with attendees.

Another highly anticipated speaker for this event is Tiffany Gearhart, who returns for her second year as a speaker. Gearhart—a training specialist with AIRS, an ADP company—formerly developed and led a mentoring program in her previous position and is excited to share her passion for training and mentoring with the group. Last year, Gearhart received rave reviews from workshop attendees for her presentations on social, mobile and college recruiting. Her comprehensive and instructive presentations gave attendees tactile, insightful tools that could be put to use immediately on the HR front. Gearhart’s presentations will focus on mentoring and training a multigenerational workforce, and attracting talent and building loyalty with unconventional perks.

New to the program this year is acclaimed human resources speaker and the Deputy Director for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Houston office, Joe Bontke. A 27-year veteran in the field of human resources will bring his knowledge of HR best practices to the workshop, along with his keen eye for upcoming issues within the EEOC and how they affect HR across all industries. Bontke, who has been praised for his entertaining and enthusiastic speaking style, will offer a fun and insightful look at the EEOC strategic enforcement plan, and how HR workers can best adhere to these important guidelines to remain in compliance.

In addition, the VMA HR Workshop includes Jack Wisdom, partner and employment attorney for the law practice of Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, LLP. Wisdom will bring his unique sense of humor and his expertise in employment litigation to discuss recent developments and best practices for today’s digitally focused hiring environment. Attendees will be sure to enjoy the enlightening resources and anecdotes that he will provide.

Panels, Networking and ‘YVPs’

To provide time for interaction among attendees, the workshop also includes a panel of HR pros sharing what has—and hasn’t worked at their companies; a panel of VMA member Young Valve Professionals (YVPs)—to explain in their own words what makes them engaged and happy in their valve industry careers, and how to attract other newcomers to the world of valves. Also, attendees will be divided into three groups for small-group discussions on topics of their choosing, to share in summary form with all attendees.

Members with a paying attendee may register one or two YVPs at no cost. We will interview YVPs (no company identification or full names will be used in interviews) as part of VMA’s Valve Careers Initiative, including the making of a new video about why the newest members of the workforce would do well to consider careers in the valve industry.

The program begins at 1:00 pm on Monday, Nov. 14 and ends at 11:30 am on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Both members ($425) and non-members ($495) are eligible to attend. The fee includes: Monday evening networking reception and dinner, beverage breaks and Tuesday morning breakfast, as well as copies of select presentations and a VMA Certificate of Completion awarding 8 education hours.

If you are in any way involved in the HR functions within your company, or as a company director or executive who wants to find solutions for employing, integrating and retaining today’s young workforce into your company, don’t miss the opportunity to attend.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. is the careers program coordinator for the Valve Manufacturers Association. She is happy to answer any questions about the Human Resources Workshop or any aspect of VMA’s Valve Careers Initiative.  

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