GVSU dean recognized as ‘Talent Champion’ by Michigan Manufacturing Association

GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu    
Paul Plotkowski, center, received the MFG Talent Champion Award from the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

GVL / Courtesy - gvsu.edu Paul Plotkowski, center, received the MFG Talent Champion Award from the Michigan Manufacturers Association.

Sarah Hollis

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More than 600,000 people in Michigan have jobs in manufacturing, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number is growing. It’s nearly equal to the number of people in Michigan with jobs in government, education or health care. The Michigan Manufacturing Association (MMA) is recognizing those who work hard to attract the next generation of the workforce to careers in manufacturing. 

On Thursday, Nov. 9, Paul Plotkowski, dean of Grand Valley State University’s Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, won the MFG Talent Champion award from the MMA at the MFG Excellence Awards Gala in Lansing, Michigan.

Plotkowski thoroughly enjoyed the experience and credited much of this recognition to GVSU and the surrounding community. 

“It was a wonderful experience,” Plotkowski said. “I view it more as a recognition of what the university and the community are doing together than it is of my personal actions. There is a wonderful partnership between the university and industry and the community that helps us provide just a really great education for students in our college. 

“A big part of that is through cooperative education and internships they all do, and that only works if everybody is working together on it.”

Plotkowski was nominated for this award by Charlie Standridge, associate dean and professor of product design and manufacturing engineering at GVSU. Standridge has known Plotkowski for 19 years. 

Standridge nominated Plotkowski for his work in building relationships between the College of Engineering and Computing and the local community, as well as helping to decide which industries relate to the students and building curriculum. 

The nomination criteria for this award have been similar every year since the MMA began awarding it in 2013. 

“The nomination process is based on a group of anonymous judges outside of MMA, representing manufacturers, local leaders, really anyone who’s had a stake hold in developing manufacturing across Michigan,” said Brett Gerrish, communications coordinator for the MMA and 2007 graduate of GVSU. “The criteria was based off of six key items that should have been included in any nomination we received.”

This year’s MFG Excellence Awards Gala was the first event of this kind to be held by the MMA, and it was successful enough that it will be held again next year. 

“I don’t see how we could avoid it (having the event again next year), honestly, not just because of how fun it was, but also because we got such a great turnout,” Gerrish said. “We sold out the event far sooner than we thought. We’re already thinking about where we could go from here. 

“We’re still in the early stages, so I can’t even say a date or anything like that, but yes, we will have the event again.”

Those interested in hearing more from Plotkowski regarding this event and his Talent Champion award can view a video interview with him at www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP7T2M9gVW8&feature=youtu.be&list=PLkpXhEUonmKPynch2dVaCn0e7Wyl5hTYO

Those interested in learning more about this event can visit the MMA’s website at http://mimfg.org/Articles/ArticleId/108