Welcomes U.S. Senator Gary Peters to Discuss the Future of Michigan’s Manufacturing Workforce

On June 18, hosted an event featuring Senator Gary Peters in Detroit to highlight the role of software in Michigan’s manufacturing industry. Senator Peters delivered opening remarks about the manufacturing skills gap and growing the state’s economy, then moderated two panels of experts. The first panel focused on industry perspectives and the second panel focused on workforce development – especially partnerships with unions and educational institutions. Middle school and high school students from the local Black Frogs Robotics Team demonstrated a robot they built for competitions and provided a unique perspective on workforce development partnerships.

At the event, announced its new report, “Every Sector is a Software Sector: Manufacturing,” which explores how software is now an integral part of the manufacturing industry.


  • Opening remarks: Senator Gary Peters
  • Opening remarks: Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director, the BSA Foundation
  • Industry panel:
    • Shelley Grach, Director of Civic Engagement, Microsoft
    • David Crane, Vice President of Government Affairs, Autodesk
    • Mike Coast, President and CEO, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center
    • Fred Sansom, Vice President of Operations, Diversified Chemical Technologies Inc.
  • Workforce panel:
    • Rick Hecker, President, Eifel Mold and Engineering
    • Fred Cook, CAD/CAM Design Instructor and Co-Op Coordinator, Lincoln High School Career and Technology Center
    • David Palmer, Senior Director for Strategies & Partnerships, Workforce Intelligence Network
    • William Peterson, Skilled Trades Department Assistant Director, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America

Sen. Gary Peters moderates the first panel. Executive Director Chris Hopfensperger addresses the second panel

The Black Frogs Robotics Team demonstrates their robot for Sen. Gary Peters.