Catalyst Connection Launches Manufacturing Ambassadors Program, Navigators

Catalyst Connection has piloted a new manufacturing ambassador program for 2021. The program, called Navigators, is modeled after a national best practice program created by the Manufacturing Institute. Throughout the program, a team of eight ambassadors from local manufacturing companies will be connected with local schools, after school programs, and participate in virtual experiences to inspire and share their pathway story into a career in manufacturing.

Ambassadors, or “Navigators,” will allow students the ability to see someone who looks like them and has a similar background succeeding in a manufacturing career. The diverse group of ambassadors Catalyst Connection has chosen all have a wide array of career pathways, job responsibilities, and types of employers. Moving forward, ambassadors will be chosen by their companies for participation in the program and selected by a Catalyst Connection review committee. Each of this year’s ambassadors have gone through 8 hours of training and they are also required to participate in at least four in-person or virtual experiences over the course of the year. The Navigators program was made possible through a grant from the Arconic Foundation.

The 2021 Navigators Include:

Jacob Curley – Assembly Technician, MECCO 
Jonathan Donath – Quality Engineer, Ellwood City Forge 
Zac McConnell – Welder, ProMinent Fluid Controls 
Ryan Kozikowski – Winder, BRUSH Americas 
Genna Mucci – Operations Coordinator, Tudi Mechanical Systems 
Amber Nolf – Corporate Development Specialist, SMS Group 
Kendra Slis – Inside Sales Engineer, MECCO 
She’Cholle Winmon – Lab Assistant, RE2 

Scott Dietz, Director of Workforce Initiatives at Catalyst Connection, stated: “Navigators is a great way for us to engage young professionals in manufacturing and introduce them to local students, teachers and parents to create a dialogue about all of the great opportunities out there for pursuing a career in manufacturing.”

To learn more about the program, visit or contact Scott at 412.918.4227 or

About Catalyst Connection: Catalyst Connection is a private not-for-profit organization headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We provide consulting and training services to small manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania, accelerating revenue growth and improving productivity. Through active collaboration with our clients and the manufacturing community, we contribute to the growth, vibrancy, and ongoing robustness of manufacturing in our region. Catalyst Connection is supported, in part, by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development, and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

About Arconic Foundation: Arconic Foundation partners with nonprofit and community organizations to strengthen its communities by enhancing education through skill-building learning experiences, promoting environmental sustainability, and advancing social equity.