8:30am Check-in, Breakfast & Networking
9:05am ASU Welcome - Todd Sandrin - Vice Provost, Dean & Professor
9:10am - Fireside Chat - Work Based Learning
- Brian Wright - Economic Development Business Manager, City of Buckeye
- Jared Beard - Assistant Director, Human Services, Workforce Development, Maricopa County
- Erin McGehean - Project Manager, College and Career Pathways, Center for the Future of Arizona
9:30am CTE - Jim Grieshaber - Director, Career & Technical Education
9:40am Fireside Chat - Workforce Attraction and Retention Barriers
- Julie LaCroix - Career Counselor, Career Lab
- Brian Craig - Development Services Director, City of Buckeye
- Melinda Gulick - Chief Executive Officer, First Things First
10:05am Fireside Chat: Young Professionals
- Lauren Serrato - Special Events and Media Relations Coordinator, WESTMARC
- ELi Mastracci - Vice President, Principal, Phoenix West Commercial LLC
- Aden Ramirez - Program Manager, Junior Achievement of Arizona
- Delaney Russell - Regional Director, Southwest Maricopa Region, First Things First
10:25am WVP 2.0 Unveiling - Kevin Dumcum - Director of Regional Workforce Development, WESTMARC
10:55am Closing Remarks - Sintra Hoffman
Economic Development Business Manager
City of Buckeye
Brian A. Wright currently works as Economic Development Business Manager for the City of Buckeye. Brian brings over 20 plus years in Career Services, Performance Management, Customer Service, Auditing, Training, Employment Recruitment & Retention, Strategic Planning and Communication, Debt Management and Education experience.
Brian’s experience spans working with fortune 500 companies such as American Express, Arrow Financial, Midland Credit and various public sector organizations. In addition, Brian has worked in both public & for-profit education entities such as West-MEC and Arizona Automotive Institute. Throughout his career Brian has created and championed several cutting edge projects. He is an author and served as speaker/ lecture for ACTAZ Summer Conference, Arizona Commerce Authority and other organizations across the country. He currently serves on WESTMARC’s Education & Workforce Development Committees and Board Member of the Buckeye Elementary School District Foundation. Brian serves on the newly formed West Valley Workforce Steering Committee. He recently achieved his Six Sigma Lean Yellow Belt and in 2023 became a AZED PRO. Brian is a proud member of Class 29 for LeadershipWest…Best class ever! Most recently the 2023 Golden Prospector Award recipient for his Economic Development “Reduce the Commute” Job Fair initiative.
Brian has attended Baltimore City College, Morgan State University and graduated from Southwestern Bible College in Phoenix, AZ with a B.A. in Biblical Studies.
Husband, Father & yes Pastor of a multi-location church. An energetic and dynamic personality that can always be relied on to exercise prudent judgment and initiative in getting task and assignments accomplished. He is a true servant/ leader and has excellent communication, presentation and interpersonal skills.
Assistant Director, Human Services, Workforce Development
For the last decade, Jared has been dedicated to serving individuals and families in crisis and experiencing adversity through a number of leadership roles. Jared began his career as a case manager determining eligibility for SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, and General Assistance in Washington State, from there Jared worked his way up to become a TANF/Workfirst Program Manager for the entire state. As a TANF/WorkFirst Program Manager for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Jared developed and implemented statewide initiatives to assist Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients in achieving their goals and provide well-being for their family. In 2019, Jared made the move to the State of Arizona where he developed and implemented a Summer Nutrition Program for 21 of the 22 Native American Tribes located in Arizona, which allowed Jared the opportunity to visit and speak with tribal leaders across the entire state. When Jared first joined the Maricopa County Human Services Department, Jared led the Client Services teams in the Community Services Division where he managed the internal Contact Center and Crisis Assistance teams. In this role, he also spearheaded the development of the new Financial Empowerment and Client Coaching programs based on multi-generational and person-centered approaches that are offered to HSD clients.
Jared began assumed his new role as Maricopa County's Workforce Development Assistant Director in October 2022 and currently leads a very high performing team committed to providing a myriad of workforce services to job seekers and businesses alike. The Maricopa County Workforce Development Division is a proud partner of Arizona@Work, and provides services across the entire valley.
Throughout his career, Jared has focused on ensuring client-driven services through not only becoming a subject matter expert on federal programs but also by working collaboratively with staff and partners at the local, state, tribal, and federal level. His commitment to staff-led initiatives and shared leadership, engagement through transparent and responsive communication, and, moreover, to the integration of services to support the needs of individuals and families who have experienced adversity provide an excellent lens to deliver family-centered workforce services.
Project Manager, College and Career Pathways
Center for the Future of Arizona
With over two decades of dedicated experience in the field, Erin McGehean has established herself as a trailblazer in the realm of work-based learning and career development. She began her professional career in higher education as an academic advisor working with students as they pursued their goals completing their degree programs. This work helped provide her with insights and an understanding of student needs as well as their education and workforce barriers.
As Erin continued to grow and evolve, she recognized the profound impact that strong partnerships and workforce development initiatives could have on shaping the future of education and employment. Eager to contribute to this transformation, she ventured into the domain of partnership and workforce development, where she excelled at forging connections between educational institutions, businesses, and communities. Her work in this capacity facilitated opportunities for students to engage in meaningful, hands-on learning experiences, setting the stage for successful career pathways.
Today, Erin is a member of the Center for the Future of Arizona, an organization whose mission is to bring Arizonans together to create a strong and brighter future for our state. Erin is working on the Pathways to Prosperity initiative developing college and career pathways that equip students with pathways to high-demand, high-wage industries in a rapidly changing job market. Erin is an advocate for the transformative power of education and the vital role of work-based learning in shaping young peoples’ futures.
Director, Career and Technical Education
Dysart Unified School District
Jim is currently working as the Career and Technical Education Director in the Dysart Unified School District. As the CTE Director, Jim has been a member of Association or Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Association of Career and Technical Education Arizona (ACTEAZ), Curriculum Consortium and ACOVA member, member at large, President elect, President and Past President for the past 6 years. Jim has been a Principal, Assistant Principal. He has supervised the CTE programs on his campus and was a Future Educators of America teacher. He also was a high school and middle school teacher for 14 years. Jim has 30 years of experience and has held numerous leadership roles during his tenure as a teacher, Building Administrator, and CTE Director.
Julie LaCroix, M.A. Ed.
Julie LaCroix, M.A. Ed. is a career counselor in private practice serving adults of all ages with launching, establishing and advancing their careers. With a decade long business background in sales and trading for Merrill Lynch and Bloomberg, Julie launched a boutique recruiting firm and comes to career counseling with a blend of business, economics and psychology. Her unique perspective and broad network allows her to connect people and businesses quickly.
She graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in Psychology, earned an M.A. in Educational Clinical Counseling from Azusa Pacific University, and obtained 6,000 hours of advanced training in adult development and career psychology. For over a decade she was the keynote speaker for a program supporting military-to-civilian career transitions, and is a subject matter expert for the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, furthering the development of their virtual reality interview training experience.
Julie sits on the Economic Development Advisory Board with the City of Peoria, the WESTMARC Regional Marketing Committee, and is a graduate of Leadership West Class 29.
Development Services Director
City of Buckeye
Brian Craig serves as the Development Services Director for the City of Buckeye. Brian’s team includes Planning, Building, Civil Engineering, and Permitting. Brian has over 15 years of public sector planning and development experience and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). The Buckeye Development Services Department prioritizes speed to market and responsive communication and has been responsible for leading growth in Buckeye, which is consistently among the fastest growing mid-sized cities in the country.
Chief Executive Officer
First Things First
Melinda Morrison Gulick is an active contributor to community and business organizations, including serving on the boards of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Humane Society, the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center, Arizona Town Hall, the Scottsdale Charros Foundation and the Desert Foundation Auxiliary. She is the past chair of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy and received the first ever Arizona Cox Conserves Heroes Award in recognition of her advocacy and volunteer work for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Ms. Gulick is a graduate of Valley Leadership, an honorary graduate of Scottsdale Leadership and has been active in numerous local city elections, school bond and override campaign committees. Melinda Gulick has her own management consulting firm focused on strategic planning, governance, communications and sustainable business planning primarily for nonprofit organizations and periodically serves in Interim CEO and Executive Director roles. She currently serves as the Interim Executive Director for Experience Matters, Inc. in Phoenix. Melinda served on the executive team at DMB Associates for 14 years responsible for operations, communications, marketing, human resources and community affairs. Prior to DMB, she was the Executive Director of both the Desert Foothills Land Trust and Scottsdale Leadership. She has been honored by the Junior League of Phoenix with the Sandra Day O’Connor Award, Scottsdale Leadership with the Frank W. Hodges Alumni Achievement Award, the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Outstanding Women in Business and by Trends Magazine as a Trendsetter. Ms. Gulick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University. She lives in Phoenix with her two sons, Zane and Jace, and three rescue dogs, Liberty, Beau and Nigel.
Special Events and Media Relations Coordinator
Lauren Serrato is the WESTMARC Special Events & Media Relations Coordinator. With a background in journalism, she has been published, produced multimedia content, and edited for numerous national and local news media markets. With a passion for the West Valley, Lauren was born and raised in Arizona and has lived, worked and gone to school in 6 of the 15 communities WESTMARC serves.
Lauren holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism from Wagner College in New York. She also earned her master's degree from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Vice President, Principal
Phoenix West Commercial LLC
ELi Mastracci is an established and experienced agent, providing commercial real estate consultation to clients of all facets since 2019. Both Principal and Vice President with Phoenix West Commercial, ELi specializes in corporate office leasing, acquisition, and disposition. Being the “”youngest”” to date to earn the CCIM designation, ELi brings original, creative ideas to problem solving for both international corporations and local credit tenants, supported by the prestigious education the Institute offers. ELi is currently on the Central Arizona CCIM chapter Board of Directors, establishing relationships with Arizona market trendsetters – broker, lender, and principal alike. Additionally, ELi has been appointed to the National Strategic Planning Committee for 2023, as well as Vice Presidency of his Local Chapter in 2023.
Junior Achievement of Arizona
Aden Ramirez is a JA Inspire Program Manager at Junior Achievement of Arizona. He has over 8 years of experience working with nonprofits and Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). A product of Career and Technical Education, Aden enjoys working with teachers and students to provide them with the knowledge and resources to be successful. He also enjoys the outdoors, exploring Arizona, and cooking for friends and family. He enjoys learning and staying current with issues affecting education and nonprofit organizations.
Regional Director, Southwest Maricopa Region
First Things First
Delaney Russell currently serves as the Southwest Maricopa Regional Director for First Things First. Her background is rooted in early childhood development and she has a passion for supporting Arizona’s youngest children birth to age 5. She began her career as an early childhood educator, and went on to do non profit programming for Arizona’s largest family support non profit organization. She then joined First Things First as part of their community engagement team. Her current role as Regional Director includes supporting a Regional Partnership Council of 11 volunteer community members, overseeing various grant and programmatic partnerships, and assisting in leading cross regional efforts in Maricopa including the Early Childhood Nutrition Collaborative. Delaney recently completed her Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certification and also currently serves as the Chair for the Goodyear Faith and Community Roundtable. She is committed to building stronger systems in the state that support young children, their families, and their communities.
Director of Regional Workforce Development
Kevin Dumcum has been the Director for Regional Workforce Development for WESTMARC since June 2022. Prior to that, he spent seven years as a Business Services Representative and Business Services Team Supervisor for Maricopa County Human Services Department / ARIZONA@WORK Maricopa County. Kevin has given numerous presentations on workforce development services, labor market information, and job search employability tips to government and private boards, service groups, and job seekers. In addition to stints at a couple of local-area non-profit organizations, Kevin had a long career as an account executive and data analyst for a global market research company.