Staff

The LIFT Team is a dedicated group of individuals working in the institute every day to move the needle on our technology and talent development programs. From engineering and program management to human resources and finance, our team of experts is driving LIFT and our ecosystem into the future.

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Nigel Francis

CEO & Executive Director

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Victor Claudio

Chief Financial Officer

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Noel Mack

Chief Technology Officer

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Sean Conway

Chief Development Officer

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Tony Bromwell

Vice President, Advanced Development

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Kevin T. Kerrigan

Vice President, Business Development

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Robert Shaner, Ph.D.

Vice President, Talent

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Joe Steele

Vice President, Communication and Legislative Affairs

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Hadrian Rori

Senior Technical Advisor

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Amberlee Haselhuhn, Ph.D.

Senior Director Technology, Materials Engineering

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John Keogh, Ph.D.

Senior Director Technology, Manufacturing Engineering

Gregg Marschner

Director, Program Management Office

Pete Czech

Senior Director, Program Management

David Hicks, Ph.D.

Engineering Manager, Modeling & Simulation

Reese Eichhorn

Engineering Manager, Modeling & Simulation

Anthony Koumpias, Ph.D.

Principal Engineer, Modeling & Simulation

Steven Grzesiak

Senior Manufacturing Engineer

Joshua Fox

Senior Engineer, Advanced Manufacturing

Benjamin Molnar

Engineer, Advanced Manufacturing

Eric Walker

Senior Engineer, Modeling & Simulation

Tanner Olson

Senior Engineer, Modeling & Simulation

Bradley Friend

Senior Program Manager

Jim Wolbers

Senior Program Manager

Nick Johnson

Senior Engineer Manager, Manufacturing & Metallurgy

Daniel Baker, Ph.D.

Senior Metallurgist

Alex Pace

Program Manager

Rich Hoffer

Manager, Facility Operations

Craig Winowiecki

Manager, Facility Operations

Alessandro Posteraro

Manufacturing Engineer

Philip Stites

Materials Engineer

Demaro Turner

Senior Advanced Manufacturing Technician

Derek Zbikowski

Manager, Advanced Manufacturing Operations

Jacob Warners

HPC-IT Admin Specialist

Fatima Majid

Senior Manager, Talent Programs

Jihad Mims

Manager, Learning Lab

Bernie Simms

STEM Talent Program Manager

Glomani Bravo-Lopez

Program Manager of LIFT Puerto Rico Operation Next

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Juan Aguayo-Leal

Director, LIFT Puerto Rico

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Christine Longroy

Senior Director, Ecosystem

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Federico Gambina, Ph.D.

Director, Sales

Addie Stone-Richards

Director of Member Engagement

Felipe Perea

Manager, Ecosystem

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Nancy Cummins

Senior Director, Corporate Controller

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Sherri Diehl

Program Controller

Beth Cryderman Moss

Director, Contracts and Mentor Protégé Program

Mark Whalin

Senior Manager, Human Resources & Administration

Kai Leung

Business Analyst and Sales Force Admin

Marina Fell

Staff Accountant

Bret Saka

Financial Analyst

Jessica Saba

Accounts Payable Specialist

Alicia Dembeck

Program Coordinator

Ivory Smaw

Executive Assistant

Lisa McLellan

Front Receptionist

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Nigel Francis is the CEO & Executive Director and Officer at LIFT.

Prior to joining LIFT, Francis served as Vice President and Officer, Advanced Engineering & Technology Development at American Axle (NYSE:AXL). Francis was also Senior Automotive Adviser to the State of Michigan and Senior Vice President, Automotive Industry Office, Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he was charged with developing, implementing and executing a comprehensive strategic plan and road map to promote, retain and grow the automotive industry in Michigan.

Francis has over 40 years of experience in the global automotive, aerospace and defense sectors, having held executive level positions at OEM and Tier 1 companies in North America and Europe, including Executive Vice President, Bright Automotive, and Vice President, Vehicle Engineering at Mercedes-Benz Technology. He has spent most of his career in advanced design and engineering, product development and had been closely involved with clean technology through hybrid and electric vehicle development and vehicle light-weighting initiatives, and weapon and armor systems design and engineering.

Francis holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from Brunel University in London, England. Professional affiliations include fellow, Institute of Mechanical Engineers of Great Britain; chartered engineer, Great Britain; Member SAE and Member SME. He sits on the advisory boards of several technology companies and universities, is a director and officer of the US Manufacturing Innovation Council and a director of the British American Business Council of Michigan.

Victor Claudio serves as Chief Financial Officer at the LIFT.

In this role, Claudio is responsible for all financial and administrative functions of the organization. Claudio brings to LIFT a diverse background in both the public and private sectors, with a keen focus on organizational finance and business operations. Claudio’s professional experience includes product development, fundraising, start-ups, and value stream alignment for small, medium and enterprise companies.

Recently, Claudio created a retention and scalability strategy and led the design of a suite of servicing products for one of the leading financial technology enterprise companies in the United States managing a portfolio of over $250B in recurring annual volume. Claudio is credited for the creation of new products that led to additional revenue streams of over $780M within 6 months of launch.

Prior to his role in enterprise product strategy, Claudio co-founded a financial technology and service company focused on creating a new vertical in the financial industry. The result was a digital personal financial wellness product providing services and solutions for the financial services industry. Claudio also successfully owned and operated a process manufacturing and consulting business where he provided a wide range of services to streamline and improve manufacturing technologies and processes for the electronics industry.

Claudio began his career with Code Alarm Inc., holding various technical positions, where he led effective teams of technicians and engineers through the manufacturing, production test and product development cycles for the leader in automotive security for OEM and retail industries.

Claudio studied internationally and possesses a Bachelor of Arts degree in Management from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. Claudio also holds an MBA in Accounting and Master’s degree in Financial Management and a post graduate certificate in financial planning.

Noel Mack is the Chief Technology Officer at LIFT.

In this role, Mack implements new technology focus areas to ensure alignment with Department of Defense priorities, directs large scope, complex projects and programs, leads LIFT member involvement in technology projects and serves as a mentor to LIFT technical and engineering staff.

Mack brings over 35 years of experience in engineering and design to LIFT. Previously, Mack served as a Product Line Executive, Strategic Technologies at American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. and as Director and Business Unit Lead, Driveline and Transmission Systems at Ricardo’s Detroit Technical Center. Mack also held leadership positions at Magna International, Inc. and Magna Steyr.
He began his career in the aerospace and defense industries, working at Denel Aviation as the Principal Engineer, Stress and Design, and as Manager of CAD and Specialist CAE Engineer for Combat Vehicles, Tanks, Heavy and Light Armored Vehicles at Denel Land Systems/Ermetek.

Mack holds six U.S. patents and is a graduate of both the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautical Specialization and the University of Detroit Mercy, where he earned a Master of Engineering Management degree and a Graduate Certificate in Business Turnaround Management.

Sean Conway is the Chief Development Officer at LIFT.

In this role, Conway identifies Department of Defense customer needs and matches them with LIFT’s technology and talent development capabilities to coordinate program and training activities within the institute across its ecosystem. He also is responsible for LIFT’s Ecosystem, Membership, Events and the Talent Business Unit.

Conway brings three decades of experience in engineering, marketing, business development and voice-of-the-customer experience to LIFT. Previously, Conway served as a Director of Marketing & Engineering at American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Conway also held leadership positions as Director of Vehicle Integration & Marketing at Bright Automotive, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle start-up automotive company, as well as multiple engineering and manufacturing leadership positions over two decades at the Chrysler Corporation.

Conway is a member of several board and professional societies and has been a featured speaker at industry events and conferences nationally and globally throughout his career.

Conway holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana and a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Kevin Kerrigan is the Vice President, Business Development at LIFT.

In this role, Kerrigan’s focus is connecting LIFT with manufacturers across industries to help them work with the institute to further develop, optimize and commercialize their innovations.

Kerrigan brings to LIFT decades of experience in the manufacturing sector, having previously served as Senior Vice President, Automotive Office and the Senior Automotive Adviser to the State of Michigan with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. In this role, he focused on international business development for the MEDC’s Automotive Office. When working with the world’s automotive manufacturers, he was promoting Michigan’s automotive industry, building and maintaining strong international client relationships, nurturing economic development and assisting foreign based companies who choose Michigan for their future expansion.

Prior to working with the MEDC, Kerrigan led his own automotive design and engineering company for 20 years and has worked at an executive level for Tier 1 automotive suppliers. Kerrigan was also President of Eurotech Design, Inc. a Michigan based full-service engineering organization, President of Adaptive Systems a turnkey robotic integration company. Additionally, Kerrigan was Chief Engineer at Tata Technologies and Principal Engineer for International Automotive Components based at their Advanced Development Center, Troy Michigan.

In 2021, Kevin was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his services to the British automotive industry, by Queen Elizabeth II.

Kerrigan completed a full indentured British Mechanical Engineering Apprenticeship in the UK.

Robert Shaner, Ph. D., serves as the Vice President of Talent at LIFT.

In this role, Dr. Shaner leads all of LIFT’s talent development programs across the nation, including the IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing STEM program and the institute’s Operation Next skilled trades program.

Dr. Shaner joined LIFT after nearly 20 years in the educational field. Immediately prior to joining LIFT, Dr. Shaner served as the Superintendent of Rochester (Michigan) Community Schools where he oversaw budget development, management, and allocation of $300M in total annual revenue, servicing 23 sites, 15K students, 1.8K employees with a focus on long-term sustainability. His work, particularly in continuous improvement initiatives, resulted in 10 schools being identified as Reward Schools by Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and recognized with National Blue Ribbons.

Dr. Shaner also worked as the Executive Director of Infrastructure & Technology for the Warren (Michigan) Consolidated Schools and as the principal of a High School and Middle School.

Before working in education, Dr. Shaner served as a patrol officer with the Troy and St. Clair Shores Police Departments.

Dr. Shaner also served in the United States Marine Corps in the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit as a First Lieutenant deployed to Somalia and in the Gulf War. He also served as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps Reserve at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

As vice president of communications and legislative affairs at LIFT, Joe is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with key legislative stakeholders and other policymakers, as well as the media. His work also supports the institute’s sales and marketing teams.

Joe is a veteran communications and public affairs leader with a track record of developing and executing successful plans, strategies and delivering legislative victories, employee engagement and building key stakeholder relationships for Fortune 500 companies, statewide political campaigns, nonprofits and startups.

Over his career, Joe has led the public affairs strategy for a large telecommunications company, managed internal communications for a large financial institution as it transitioned through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and built a Political Action Committee (PAC).
Joe began his career as a reporter for several newspapers across Michigan, before moving to politics to lead the communications for a U.S. Senate campaign and then as a staff member in the Michigan House of Representatives followed by serving as an appointee of the Michigan Secretary of State.
Joe has a B.A. degree in Telecommunications from Michigan State University.

Hadrian Rori is a Senior Technical Advisor at Detroit-based LIFT, one of the founding Manufacturing USA institutes.

Mr. Rori is an accomplished executive with over 34 years of experience in product creation and quality improvement, and previously served as the Chief Technology Officer at LIFT.

His previously held positions include consultation to suppliers and entrepreneurial start-ups in the automotive sector providing operational guidance in application development and manufacturing ramp-up from small-scale prototyping to series production.

Prior positions also include Executive Vice President for Akebono Brake Corporation, where he was responsible for North American Engineering, Quality and Program Management. In addition, he served as Vice President of Vehicle Engineering at Bright Automotive. A manufacturer of state-of-the-art lightweight, hybrid electric vehicles for commercial and government fleets.

Prior to Bright Automotive, Mr. Rori spent 24 years with Chrysler Corporation where he held a variety of product engineering executive positions. His last role at Chrysler was Director of Chassis Engineering for body-on-frame products. Prior to this position, he was senior manager – Jeep® Vehicle Development where he directed the group responsible for functional and quality objectives, vehicle testing, and development for the Grand Cherokee® program.

Mr. Rori has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University and an M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Detroit. He holds four U.S. patents – two patents for lightweight vehicles and associated components and two patents for advanced passenger car chassis systems.

Dr. Amberlee Haselhuhn is the Senior Director of Materials & ICME at LIFT.

Dr. Haselhuhn leads projects focused on driving national manufacturing strategy and material innovations in alignment with Department of Defense priorities. This includes developing digital solutions, such as coupling integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) toolsets, to enable a zero-prototype future.

Previously, Dr. Haselhuhn was a Senior Researcher at General Motors Global R&D Center where she developed solutions to eliminate manufacturing constraints associated with welding and joining of new materials and dissimilar material combinations for body in white structures.

Dr. Haselhuhn holds 10 U.S. patents and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed technical journal articles. She has bachelor’s degrees in both Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Juan Aguayo-Leal serves as the Director of LIFT Puerto Rico, the institute's satellite on the Island.

In this role, he is responsible for performing advanced professional and managerial work planning, organizing, and directing activities of LIFT Puerto Rico and working relationships with manufacturers, governmental agencies, training service providers, business contractors, employers, community colleges, and other educational institutions.

Aguayo-Leal is a former infantry paratrooper and operations and logistics officer (veteran) with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in the U.S. Army, and previously as an infantry officer with the 1/65th Puerto Rico Army National Guard. He has a master’s degree in communications from Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, USA, and has completed various courses in Business Administration from the Executive MBA Program of the University of New Orleans in Louisiana, USA, among other business training certificates.

Aguayo-Leal is the former Director of Business Development for the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. His team was responsible for providing professional assistance to businesses interested in expanding manufacturing operations, establishing new R&D projects, and/or acquiring new channels of distribution for products and services within Puerto Rico’s tax structure for job creation grants and credits. Some of the projects included high technology sectors such as information technologies, telecommunications, and aerospace engineering, among others.

Aguayo-Leal has also served as a health education official for the city of Houston Department of Health and Human Services, and as Vice President of finance and administration for Caribbean University in Puerto Rico. He has over 30 years of experience in business communications and as a multimedia marketing consultant and trainer for various commercial and non-profit organizations.

Christine Longroy is the Senior Director of Ecosystem at LIFT.

With a passion for creating meaningful impact and a dedication to excellence, Longroy is a driving force behind Ecosystem development at LIFT.

Prior to her role at LIFT, Longroy held various positions with SME, Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Her reputation for fostering collaboration, building lasting relationships, and driving sustainable growth is a testament to her dedication to manufacturing.
Longroy leverages her extensive experience and expertise to lead transformative initiatives that connect manufacturers within technology and innovation. With a career spanning over two decades, Longroy has cultivated a deep understanding of manufacturing and its interplay between technology, business, and collaboration. Her visionary leadership has consistently driven success in building and nurturing ecosystems that foster innovation, enhance competitiveness, and create value for all stakeholders.

Longroy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University and is a member of the SME.

Nancy Cummins is the Senior Director, Corporate Controller at LIFT.

Nancy is a Certified Public Accountant. Nancy’s focus is ensuring LIFT complies with non-profit accounting and grant regulations. She is responsible for internal and external financial reporting and oversees the annual independent audit.

Nancy received her CPA license in 2013 and has more than 15 years of professional experience in accounting and finance. Prior to joining LIFT, Nancy worked as an audit manager at the second largest accounting firm in Michigan for 8 years with specialties in non-profit and benefit plan audits.

Nancy received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and a Master’s of Science in Accounting from Eastern Michigan University. She serves on two non-profit boards in the Detroit area.