Sterling Heights

Women in manufacturing leadership: An On the Ground Sterling Heights panel discussion

As part of On the Ground series Sterling Heights, Metromode will be hosting a panel discussion featuring female leaders in manufacturing. Three women leaders will be talking about their experience in the manufacturing field, opportunities available for women today, and what the future holds for women in this field.


The event will take place October 25 at Velocity in Sterling Heights from 6-8 pm. Click here to RSVP.


The following leaders will be featured on the panel:


Patricia Lopez is president of Rose-A-Lee Technologies, an award-winning Michigan manufacturing company. She has gained recognition as the: Notable Woman in Manufacturing 2018, Macomb's Business to Watch 2018, Corp! Most Valuable Millennial 2018, and Manufacturing Marvel 2017. Lopez holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering. She has held managerial positions at Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles where she gained experience learning the manufacturing industry first-hand.


Rose-A-Lee Technologies manufactures projectiles, ballistic grilles, seating structures and more for the Dept. of Defense. Lopez co-founded RAL with Jennifer Howard in 2013 to be a U.S. Defense manufacturing arm to sister company Elmhirst Industries, an automotive manufacturing company. RAL has since expanded its focus to provide engineering and state-of-the-art manufacturing of metal, plastic, and carbon fiber components across multiple industries, including automotive. In 2018 alone, they have experienced nearly 400 percent growth.


Kay Becker is Vice President of Marketing for Chardam Gear, a leading manufacturer of components for the aerospace and defense industries. She has a BBA in Management and Marketing from Northwood University and an MBA in Business from Wayne State University.


Linda A. Merlo is COO of Spot Imaging Solutions, an internationally recognized brand for imaging solutions in the Life science, Industrial and Medical Markets. Raised among Engineers, Doctors, Physicist, and nurses, she joined her father’s engineering business after graduating with a degree in Physical Education from the University of Michigan. Once Linda realized that SPOT Imaging was going to be her work home she pursued post bachelors studies in business at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Linda has led many initiatives in her career at SPOT including Project Manager, Engineering Change Management, Lean Manufacturing, New Business development alongside her traditional COO roles.



Christine Johns, Ed.D. is superintendent of the nationally-recognized Utica Community Schools, Michigan’s second-largest school district. UCS is Macomb’s largest school district and is identified by Crain’s Detroit Business as the county’s second largest public employer.

As superintendent, Dr. Johns has been a strong voice for Utica Community Schools and Macomb County. She has worked directly with legislators and policymakers at all levels to advocate for students, teachers and the community on issues related to funding and high academic standards.

Dr. Johns has leveraged the district’s location in the heart of the automotive industry and Macomb County’s defense corridor to promote instructional programs that bridge the gap between employer needs and student skill sets. These programs include the Utica Center for Science and Industry, Michigan’s first public school elementary virtual reality labs, and a comprehensive industry partnership network that provides high school students with professional certifications.

Dr. Johns has received numerous educational and leadership honors, including eSchool News National Tech-Savvy Superintendent of the Year, the Macomb Hall of Fame, the People’s Choice Award from Leadership Macomb and one of Michigan’s 100 Most Influential Women by Crain’s Detroit Business.

Panel Discussion: Women in Manufacturing Leadership is FREE and open to the public. To RSVP for the event, CLICK HERE.

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