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L&IT Annual Conference 2017

Inclusiveness in the Business World:

Global Careers, Cross-Cultures, Identities

March 8, 2017

This year we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the L&IT Conference, a milestone of the event.

the beginning

The purpose of the Language and International Trade Conference is:

  • To promote the Clemson Language and International Trade Program and business studies at Clemson University
  • To promote student awareness of international businesses in the region
  • To provide networking opportunities for students, alumni and international firms
  • To provide a forum for members oFf academia and business to exchange ideas
  • To raise awareness and understanding of globalization
  • To highlight Clemson University's relationship to the business community.

Agenda

8:00 a.m. Welcome Center opens
Ballroom A&B, Hendrix Student Center
9:00 - 9:10 a.m. Opening ceremony
9:10 - 9:45 a.m. Keynote speech: The Business Case for Diversity
Mr. Lee A. Gill, Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Inclusion and Equity, Clemson University
10:00  - 11:00 a.m. Panel Discussion: Inclusiveness, Cross-Cultures, and Opportunities in a Globalized World
11:10 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. Panel Discussion with Clemson alumni, moderated by Clemson students
12:20 - 1:10 p.m. Lunch
1:20 - 2:45 p.m. Round Table with Clemson students and international business leaders
2:45 - 3:00 p.m. Closing ceremony
3:00 - 5:00 p.m. Networking social and Info Sessions
Peebles Room



Photos (2017)

Note: Attire is business casual for this event.

All events of the L&IT Conference are walk-in except for the round table discussions.  The round table sessions are limited to 8 students per session, first come-first served.  

Keynote Speech: The Business Case for Diversity

Lee Gill
Mr. Lee A. Gill, Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President
for Inclusive Excellence, Clemson University

Mr. Gill brings more than 25 years of private and public sector experience working with major corporate executives, law firm executive committees, hospital administrators, and college presidents. Lee Gill's passionate belief is that no organization can afford not to harness the rainbow of demographic change for a competitive advantage. As he views it, "The Business Case for Diversity" is akin to the education process, "learn it well and be rewarded. Fail to learn it and be left behind."

Lee received his B.A. degree in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and his Juris Doctor Degree in law from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL.

In March 2008, Mr. Gill was appointed as The University of Akron's first Associate Vice President for Inclusion & Equity/Chief Diversity Officer. In that role, he directs outreach efforts to diverse populations of students, faculty, staff, and community members developing mentoring programs, workshops, and seminars that raise cultural awareness, expand cultural competencies, and bring about a greater understanding and valuing of differences in people. On April 18, 2016, Mr. Gill was appointed as the Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence at Clemson University.

He serves on numerous boards of directors including the Upstate Urban League, NCORE (National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education), the National Conference of Artists, and Hispanic Alliance. In 2014 he received the National Diversity Visionary Award from Insight into Diversity magazine for his significant contributions to diversity in higher education.

Panel Discussion: Inclusiveness, Cross-Cultures, and Opportunities in a Globalized World

Adela Mendoza
Adela Mendoza, Executive Director, Hispanic Alliance

Adela is an international professional skilled at building strategic collaborative partnerships, facilitating cross-cultural relationships, and leading diverse teams and coalitions. As the Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance, Adela is helping build collective capacity to embrace the emerging Hispanic population as a thriving, productive, and positive contributor to the community at large. Before joining the Alliance, Adela worked for SE Consulting, Inc., and was Statewide Program Manager for the South Carolina Immigrant Victim Network, where she helped establish international cooperative relations among foreign consulates and US organizations. Adela is a native of Veracruz, Mexico, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Journalism from Universidad del Valle and worked for a leading radio station directing media relations, planning and managing large-scale event logistics attended annually by over 12,000 people, and coordinating communications with international recording companies. In 2013, Adela was selected as an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar among 60 leaders from around the world chosen for their accomplishments and their ability to transform ideas into action. Adela is a Liberty Fellow and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She is also a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Furman University’s Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Institute. Adela is a founding member of Upstate International and serves on the boards of Community Foundation of Greenville, United Way Community Investment Cabinet, Goodwill Industries of the Upstate/Midlands, the International Center of the Upstate, Greenville Forward, and the advisory boards of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce and MedEx Academy.

Jesse Moore
Jesse N. Moore, Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Marketing, Clemson University

Dr. Jesse N. Moore joined the faculty of Clemson University in August 1997 after completing business degrees at The University of Richmond (B.S.), Northern Arizona University (MBA), and the University of South Florida (Ph.D.). A student athlete while an undergraduate, Dr. Moore has served as an active duty Army Officer and held several positions in the private sector with companies including Citibank (AZ), The Dial Corporation (Now Henkel Corporation), and The Southland Corporation. Some of Dr. Moore’s prior research has examined issues related to diversity in the Professional Sales career field. He accepted the role of Interim Chair of the Department of Marketing on January 1, 2017 in addition to other responsibilities of a faculty member in the College of Business

Marco Tonolo
Marco Tonolo, President, SMarT International Consulting LLC

SMarT Int’l Consulting LLC focuses on International Business; complex IT projects and implementations and Coaching and Mentoring young CFOs. I am a high-impact Senior Financial Executive with demonstrated expertise troubleshooting and turning around under-performing operations and leading successful startup operations within a multi-national organization; demonstrated proficiency in cross-cultural communications with business holdings throughout the Pacific and Far East regions, Europe and North and South America.

I have the unique international perspective to find successful solutions and remedies to complex problems or opportunities that include finance, funding, leveraging and use of foreign capital sources, international trade, recruitment of international talent and application of global market logic. I am analytical and expert at developing productive relationships with associates at all levels both within and external to the organization.

Website: http://smartintlconsulting.com/about.html


Alumni Panel Discussion 

The panel will give Clemson students the opportunity to hear from alumni who graduated recently in the L&IT program and are now working in an international company. The aim is to exchange views on understanding the transition from Clemson to the workplace. The alumni will share their experience about:

  1. their studies at Clemson (including internships and study abroad);
  2. looking for a job and selecting a company; and
  3. their current work and responsibilities.
Sierra Axtell

Sierra Axtell, Alumna, French and International Trade

Sierra Axtell is a recent 2015 graduate of the L&IT French program.  During her years at Clemson she enjoyed being involved in the L&IT Society, interned for Michelin's International Services and Onboarding team, and was an active member of the Triathlon club team.  She studied abroad her junior year in Lyon, France, taking Master's courses at l'Université de Jean Moulin Lyon 3, living with a host family.  Upon graduation, she started her career at Meyer Tool Inc., an aerospace and turbine technology company where she worked as an Assistant Project Engineer.  After 6 months she was offered a position at Scansource to join a great team who works for one of the company's biggest vendors. Sierra is now a Services Product Manager, working with sales representatives, vendors and resellers to ensure the efficiency and ease of delivery to all of Scansource's end users. 

Marina Besedina

Marina Besedina, Alumna, Spanish and International Trade

I am a 2011 graduate of the L&IT Spanish program, and I studied in Cordoba, Argentina during my time at Clemson University. After graduation I began working for AFL Global, a company that specializes in fiber optic cable and components for the telecommunications industry as an International Trade Coordinator and Specialist. There I developed an interest and a passion for learning what it takes to import and export material in compliance with US Customs regulations.  In 2015 I made the transition to learn a new area of trade and began working for Adidas Group as part of the Foreign Trade Zone team, and in the beginning of this year I joined the compliance group as a Compliance Trade Specialist. I love that a career in trade allows for constant change as businesses keep up and adapt to new and changing regulations.

Stephanie Brown

Stephanie Brown, Alumna, Chinese and International Trade

I'm a 2006 graduate of the Chinese and International Trade program at Clemson.  I later got my IMBA (Chinese Track) from the University South Carolina and lived a total of five years in China throughout my studies and career.  I worked six years for Eaton Corporation in the Electrical and Aerospace Divisions, including a 2-year role as the Launch Manager for an Aerospace Joint Venture in Shanghai in 2011-12.  I moved to Charleston, SC in March 2015 to work for Amazon's self-publishing division and am currently an Operations Manager for our author services group.  In my role, I am responsible for approximately 40 team members and ensure our services are meeting and exceeding customer expectations.  While my professional roles have varied in their use of my language skills developed at Clemson, I am a strong believer that extensive international experience makes us broader thinkers, more inclusive, and better decision-makers in any career path that we choose.

Hanna Denney

Hanna Denney, Alumna, German and International Trade

Hanna Denney recently graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor's degree in German & International Trade in May of 2016. While at Clemson, she served in leadership roles in both the German Club and German Professional Society. She studied abroad her junior year in Lüneburg, Germany as a DAAD Undergraduate Scholar. After graduation, she began her career as a Public Relations & Communications Specialist for Decostar Industries, a division of Magna International. Magna is the second largest automotive supplier in the world with over 155,000 employees. Decostar Industries, located in Carrollton, GA specializes in manufacturing plastic exterior parts for customers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. In her role, she oversees all internal and external communications, monitors employee engagement activities, and facilitates all charitable donations and volunteering programs.

Round Table Hosts

Marina Besedina

Adidas Group

Marina Besedina, Customs Compliance Specialist

I’m a 2011 graduate of the L&IT Spanish program, and I studied in Cordoba, Argentina during my time at Clemson University. After graduation I began working for AFL Global, a company that specializes in fiber optic cable and components for the telecommunications industry as an International Trade Coordinator and Specialist. There I developed an interest and a passion for learning what it takes to import and export material in compliance with US Customs regulations.  In 2015 I made the transition to learn a new area of trade and began working for Adidas Group as part of the Foreign Trade Zone team, and in the beginning of this year I joined the compliance group as a Compliance Trade Specialist. I love that a career in trade allows for constant change as businesses keep up and adapt to new and changing regulations.

Website: http://www.adidas-group.com/en/

Andreas Abbing

AFCO  Associated Fuel Pump Systems Corporations

Andreas Abbing, Executive Vice President 

After completing his degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Rhineland-Palatinate – Bingen, Andreas Abbing began working for Robert Bosch, GmbH in 1984. During his time with Bosch, Mr. Abbing has worked in Japan, Germany, China and the US.  In Japan, he was general manager of Bosch Automotive Systems – Higashi Matsuyama – JP Chassis Systems and general manager of Project manufacturing restructuring with Bosch Braking Systems in Tokyo. From 2004-2010 he was vice president of Corporate Purchasing – Technical Support in Shanghai, China. A native speaker of German, he is also fluent in English and Japanese.  He has used his language capabilities throughout his career, and they have allowed him to do many interesting jobs, see many interesting places, and do many interesting things.

Website: www.afcopump.com

Juliana Cano

AFL Telecommunications

Juliana Cano, International Trade Coordinator

Born in Colombia, South America, Juliana moved to the States at the age of eight and has lived in Greenville ever since. She was a French and International Trade Major at Clemson university class of 2016, and interned with AFL in spring of 2014 and again fall of 2015 through spring 2016. After graduation, she was hired on with the company as full time International Trade Coordinator. Her responsibilities include: HTS Classifications and Free trade/preferential treatment qualifications.

Website: www.AFLglobal.com

Brianna Woodsby

AFL

Briana Woodsby, Interantional Trade Manager

Brianna Woodsby is a 2005 graduate of the L&IT French program. During her time at Clemson, she studied abroad in Angers, France.  After graduation, Brianna moved to Atlanta, GA and began her career with Expeditors International in the Import/Customs Brokerage department.  In 2007, she relocated to Spartanburg, SC and has since been employed by AFL at their corporate headquarters in Duncan, SC.  AFL is a Fujikura company which manufactures and engineers a wide range of fiber optic products with locations worldwide.  In her current role at AFL, Brianna serves as the International Trade Manager responsible for the company’s import compliance and export control programs.  She is responsible for overseeing cost savings programs including duty drawback and free trade agreements, preparing and submitting export license applications, providing site education/training, M&A due diligence, managing other compliance personnel, as well as working with external legal counsel and consultants.   She has also led several projects related to the company wide implementation of trade compliance software.  Brianna attends a variety of seminars, workshops, and other events to stay current on import and export trade compliance regulations.  She is a licensed Customs Broker and is currently pursuing an MBA from Clemson University.   

Website: www.AFLglobal.com 

Tim Williamson

AXA Advisors

Timothy L. Williamson, Retirement Planning Specialist/Financial Consultant 

Tim L. Williamson is a Financial Consultant for AXA Advisors, LLC and has been practicing for 24 years.  He holds a B.S. degree in Economics with concentration in Finance from Clemson University.  In addition, he has earned a Certificate in Retirement Planning from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and has been awarded AXA Advisors’ Retirement Planning Specialist title for completing the AXA Equitable At Retirement education program.  His office is located at 118 North Main Street, Anderson, SC 29621. AXA is a French multinational insurance firm headquartered in the 8th arrondissement of Paris that engages in global insurance, investment management, and other financial services.

Certificate awarded based on completion of a training program at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Securities offered through AXA Advisors, LLC (212-314-4600), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory products and services offered through AXA Advisors, LLC, an investment advisor registered with the SEC. Annuity and insurance products offered through AXA Network, LLC and its insurance agency subsidiaries. AXA Network, LLC does business in California as AXA Network Insurance Agency of California, LLC and, in Utah, AXA Network Insurance Agency of Utah, LLC. AXA Advisors and its affiliates do not provide tax or legal advice. Individuals may transact business and/or respond to inquiries only in state(s) in which they are properly registered and/or licensed. AGE 100711 (1/15)(exp 1/17)

Sara Smotherman

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

Sara Smotherman, IT Project Planning, Americas Region

Sara is a Project Coordinator in IT at BMW Manufacturing Corp., LLC in Greer, SC. Her responsibilities include financial recovery and reporting, asset management, regional project coordination, and process standardization and documentation. She has worked at BMW in various planning, engineering, and leadership roles since graduating Clemson in 2012 with a degree in Spanish & International Trade. Her variety of roles across disciplines is a perfect example of how flexible a degree in L&IT can be!

Sara's international experience includes study abroad programs in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Barcelona, Spain, as well as extensive travel in Europe. Sara is a native of Clemson, and currently resides in Greenville, SC. She is active in the Greenville community and is a member of the Pulse Young Professionals organization. 

Website: www.bmwusfactory.com

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

Joerg Schulte, Manager, Liaison Office for Research and Innovation

Joerg has been the Manager of the BMW Liaison Office for Research and Innovation since May 2013. Located at plant Spartanburg, SC, the office is setting up and driving numerous R&D projects at the plant, most of them carried out in collaboration with universities in the region. Spanning topics from quality management to robotics, Industry 4.0 and concept vehicles, BMW customers for such innovation projects are located in the plant, at BMW’s corporate headquarters in Munich, Germany or other plants around the world. In addition, Joerg is Adjunct Professor at the Automotive Engineering department of Clemson University, teaching a graduate class on Automotive Manufacturing.

Since joining BMW in 1996, Joerg held various leadership positions in capacity and investment planning, supply chain management and research and innovation with BMW in Germany and at the BMW Technology Office in Palo Alto, CA.

Prior to BMW, Joerg managed the Process Optimization group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (FhG-IPA) in Stuttgart, Germany. In the course of numerous R&D projects he provided advanced solutions on manufacturing systems design, order to delivery optimization and scheduling for industrial companies across Germany and Europe.

Joerg Schulte studied mechanical / industrial engineering at the universities of Braunschweig, Germany and Waterloo, Canada. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

Corey Benson, Mechanical Engineer, Engineering and Operations Management

During my time at Clemson as a Mechanical Engineering student, I was a co-op at BMW in the power and drive-train testing department for one year.  My main role was to diagnose issues with the 4-cylinder diesel motor.  I then spent an additional 8 months in Munich with BMW writing programs for prototype gasoline motors.  Currently, I am employed full time in the Engineering and Operations Management (EOM) program.  This consists of 3, 8 month rotations in different departments before final placement.  For my first rotation I am a paint-shop new model planner for the X7 which will begin production in 2018.

Bosch-Rexroth Corporation

Eric Seawell, Manager Direct Materials Purchasing
Thomas Tugulescu

Consulate General of France in Atlanta

Thomas Tugulescu, Deputy Cultural Attaché for Educational and University Affairs

Thomas Tugulescu holds a degree in languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese) and a master in European and International from the Université de Toulouse. He studied for two semesters in Spain and worked in New Zealand for a year. After his studies, he worked as Policy Assistant at the Lifelong Learning Platform in Brussels before joining the European Commission as a French teacher. Passionate about languages, teaching, and travel, he works at the General Consulate of France in Atlanta as Deputy Cultural Attaché in charge of educational and university affairs.

Website: http://www.consulfrance-atlanta.org/

Decostar Industries

David Meier, General Manager

Website: www.magna.com

Hanna Denney

Decostar Industries

Hanna Denney, Public Relations & Communications Specialist

Hanna Denney recently graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor's degree in German & International Trade in May of 2016. While at Clemson, she served in leadership roles in both the German Club and German Professional Society. She studied abroad her junior year in Lüneburg, Germany as a DAAD Undergraduate Scholar. After graduation, she began her career as a Public Relations & Communications Specialist for Decostar Industries, a division of Magna International. Magna is the second largest automotive supplier in the world with over 155,000 employees. Decostar Industries, located in Carrollton, GA specializes in manufacturing plastic exterior parts for customers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan. In her role, she oversees all internal and external communications, monitors employee engagement activities, and facilitates all charitable donations and volunteering programs.

Website: www.magna.com

Jason Jenkins

GE Global Operations

Jason Jenkins, Customs Manager

Jason Jenkins graduated from Clemson in 2005 with a B.A. in Spanish & International trade with a concentration in Applied Economics, after changing his major from Civil Engineering. Post-graduation, he became a Licensed Customs Broker.

Jason is now an International Trade Controls and Customs Manager for GE Global Operations located in Atlanta, GA. He manages the global teams responsible for conducting negotiations, shipments, and customs clearances on behalf of GE Energy Connections. He’s been with GE for 11 years and has held various roles of increasing responsibility in the import, export and logistics functions located in the US and Europe.

Website: GE Global Operations

Anthony Tosti

Greenfield Industries / TDC Cutting Tools Inc.

Anthony Tosti, Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director

Anthony is responsible for all financial, IT and human resource functions for both Greenfield Industries, Inc. and TDC Cutting Tools -Overseas Operations. Prior to joining TDC and Greenfield in 2013, Anthony held various leadership roles for over 20 years at Robert Bosch as CFO, Managing Director, Vice-President Finance and Commercial Plant Manager in China, Austria, Germany, Mexico and the US. He has a bachelor'’'s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.

Greenfield Industries has held a leading position in the cutting tools industry for more than 100 years and its name is synonymous with quality manufacturing of cutting tools. Greenfield's U.S. and Canadian headquarters are located in Seneca, SC. Greenfield employs over 300 employees in the U.S. and Canada. In 2009, it was acquired by TDC Cutting Tools Company.

Established in China in 1995, TDC Cutting Tools Company is one of the fastest growing cutting tool companies in the world and is the world market leader for high speed steel cutting tools. TDC employs around 3000 employees worldwide, produces over 300 million tools and 6000 miles of saw blades annually.  Headquarters for all worldwide operations outside of China including Germany, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia and the U.S. are currently being established in Seneca, SC. 

As part of the commitment to the Upstate, Greenfield focuses on providing educational opportunities to the community.  It has established an apprenticeship program in cooperation with Apprenticeship Carolina for CNC Technicians, Mechatronics and Maintenance.  In addition to this, Greenfield started its Management Trainee Program to develop future leaders from highly qualified recent college graduates, focusing on students from South Carolina universities.

Website: www.gfii.com 

Greenfield Industries / TDC Cutting Tools Inc.

Bonnie Sun, VP of Strategy and Compliance for Greenfield Industries Inc and TDC Cutting Tools Inc.– Overseas Businesses

Website: www.gfii.com

Tim Welborn

JTEKT North America

Timothy Welborn, HR Manager

Tim graduated from Clemson University in Clemson, SC with a Bachelor of Science degree in Administrative Management and attended Greenville Technical College in Mechanical Engineering. 

Tim began his career at Reliance Electric Company as a Customer Service Representative and later moved into the Human Resources field. Since that time Tim has held positions of increased responsibility with different international companies competing in a variety of industries including, consumer goods, High Carbon wire, packaging equipment manufacturing, and automotive. 

In December of 1998, he joined Hartness International where he became their first Human resources manager and eventually over his 15 year tenure moved into plant operations. In this role he was responsible for all aspects of manufacturing. He was also instrumental in a plant start-up located in Tianjin, China and manufacturing partnerships and Austria, Sweden and Slovakia. 

Tim currently holds the position of Human Resources manager at JTEKT, Automotive.

Tim is married and has two daughters, one that has recently graduated from Clemson University and the other currently attends Clemson University. 

Website: www.jtekt-na.com

Rachel Holler

Keer America Corporation

Rachel Holler, HR Lead

Rachel Holler joined KEER America Corporation last October 2015 as Human Resources Professional.  Her primary function was retaining the Chinese culture and best practices that were perfected over the years in China blending and modifying the best to suit the American workforce. Rachel has 13 years of successful experience in HR & Administrative functions (Recruitment, Training, Employee Relations , Compensation & Benefits ).

KEER America was founded in February 2013 as a result of an endless pursuit of excellence in textile. It is located in Indian Land South Carolina on 165 acres of land. It was a $218 million dollar investment to construct a 1,614,450 square foot manufacturing facility that will create over 500 new jobs over the next five years.  The first and only facility in the US began its full operation in February 2015 and has a production capacity of 30,000 metric tons of yarn per year.  The Phase II project started February 2016 designed for 65,000 spindles of ring spun will add two more plants at the same location.

Prior to joining KEER America Corporation. Rachel held a Human Resources Manager position for Tuscarora Yarns Inc- Clover Plant for almost 2 years. Rachel lead and fully executed key initiatives that support company HR Strategy for 200 employees . Rachel also held a Human Resources position in a diverse manufacturing environment with Remprex LLC & Nascent Technology, an intermodal and transportation industry. Rachel held positions with Pharr Yarns , a carpet yarn textile manufacturing; Shin-Etsu Magnetics, a manufacturer of rare earth magnets; and Fuji-Reynolds, manufacturer and installer of aluminum curtain walls.

Rachel Holler graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She also has one year of college in Mass Communication Major in Journalism.

Website: http://www.keeramerica.com/

Keer America Corporation

Anett Rodriguez, Recruiter

Website: http://www.keeramerica.com/

Janet Krupka

Michelin North America

Janet Krupka, Director of Recruiting

Janet Krupka has been a Michelin employee for 29 years.  She received her B.S. in Marketing/Management from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA, and then earned a Master’s degree in International Business (MIBS) at the University of South Carolina in May of 1985, in the French language track.  Janet has had held numerous HR roles during her career at Michelin, and spent ten years in truck tire Sales as well.  Currently, Janet is the Director of Recruiting for Michelin North America. 

In the community, Janet is a board member of The International Center of the Upstate, and chairs the Upstate International committee.  Janet and her husband, Tom, have three children, and live in Simpsonville. 

Website: www.michelincareers.com

Ramon Nieves Lugo

SC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Ramon Nieves-Lugo, Chief Marketing Officer/Partner

As CMO of UniComm Media Group, Mr. Nieves provides the strategic and marketing expertise necessary to deliver a successful product to a client. He is constantly meeting and consulting with clients in order to make sure objectives are met. He has lived in Greenville for seven years and has been active in the Hispanic community through the South Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where he has served as Marketing Director. Mr. Nieves has a bachelor’s degree in marketing management and has earned an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Ramon serves on the Greenville County Human Relations Commission and on the Michelin Development Corporation Steering Committee

Website: http://schcc.org/

Sierra Axtell

ScanSource

Sierra Axtell, Services Product Manager

Sierra Axtell is a recent 2015 graduate of the L&IT French program. During her years at Clemson she enjoyed being involved in the L&IT Society, interned for Michelin's International Services and Onboarding team, and was an active member of the Triathlon club team. She studied abroad her junior year in Lyon, France, taking Master's courses at l'Université de Jean Moulin Lyon 3, living with a host family. Upon graduation, she started her career at Meyer Tool Inc., an aerospace and turbine technology company where she worked as an Assistant Project Engineer. After 6 months she was offered a position at Scansource to join a great team who works for one of the company's biggest vendors. Sierra is now a Services Product Manager, working with sales representatives, vendors and resellers to ensure the efficiency and ease of delivery to all of Scansource's end users.

Website: www.scansource.com

Sunfiber LLC

Ya Sun, Chief Executive Officer

With degrees in Accounting and Finance, Ms. Sun had worked in the banking industry in China for nearly 8 years. She went on to manage the company for 13 years and is respected by the whole industry and society for her excellent leadership. 

Being the most internationalized professional in the industry, Ms. Sun has been constantly invited as the guest speaker on annual International Conference of Recycled PET, giving speeches with representatives from Coca-Cola, Danone and Teijin to discuss developing directions and other topics for the industry. As a member of the city congress, Ms. Sun is actively involved in social work, and she has brought forward numerous suggestions to improve the community.

SUN FIBER is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CIXI JIANGNAN CHEMICAL FIBER CO., LTD of Zhejiang, Peoples Republic of China. SUN FIBER, an international manufacturer of PET staple fibers, has a planned annual throughput of 100,000 tons (220 million pounds) divided evenly between two phases. The first phase is scheduled to go into operation at the end of first quarter in 2015 . SUN FIBER uses recycled PET bottle flakes as raw material. We recycle, wash and produce at our Richburg, South Carolina facility. We devote ourselves to provide our US customers PET staple fiber fill with high quality, and excellent service.

Website: www.sunfiberllc.com

Chris Winters

Sunfiber LLC

Christopher Winters, Vice President, Administration

Born in Pennsylvania, Christopher Winters graduated with a B.S. in Marketing and Pre-Law from Clemson University before continuing on to earn an MBA from University of Phoenix, Charlotte Campus. Mr. Winters has held progressive leadership roles for over 15 years.

Mr. Winters serves as the Vice President of Administration for Sun Fiber LLC, a manufacturer of Recycled Polyester Staple Fiber. Sun Fiber LLC is one of Chester County’s newest industrial investments poised to employ over 300 Associates within the next 3 – 4 years. Mr. Winters oversees divisions including, but not limited to; Human Resources, Safety, Information Technologies, Facilities, Public and Government Relations and Compliance.

Additionally, Mr. Winters works within the community through his service on various Boards and Commissions, including as Chairman of the Board for the Chester County Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Executive Board of Directors for the Chester Development Association, along with donating his time to several charitable organizations.

Website: www.sunfiberllc.com

Liz Hsu

Sunfiber LLC

Elizabeth Hsu, CPA, CGMA, Director, Accounting

Born in Taiwan, raised in Argentina, Ms. Hsu relocated to Canada where she completed her BS in Commerce from the University of Toronto. Ms. Hsu continued on to earn her Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) certifications.

After earning her Bachelors, Ms. Hsu started a successful career in International Finance wherein she has held progressive leadership positions within audit and tax compliance teams. Such successes include leading engagements for Taiwanese NYSE clients, and instructing such clients on SOX 404 implementations and subsequent audits. Further, Ms. Hsu has been identified as a Global Learning Instructor for numerous auditing levels, from Staff through Senior III, within the Big 4 Audit Firms.  In addition, Ms. Hsu has been awarded the GMAx System Champion and Trainer for Trainer recognition from Ernst and Young.

Ms. Hsu has held the position of Controller for the past five years and currently serves as the Director of Accounting for Sun Fiber LLC, with operations in Richburg and Pageland, SC. Sun Fiber is a manufacturer of Recycled Polyester Staple Fiber, providing quality fiber fill to the bedding, furniture, toy and automotive markets. Ms. Hsu is responsible for overseeing the Accounting, Finance, Purchasing and Inventory Control Departments to name a few.

Website: www.sunfiberllc.com

Uniquetex, LLC

Fang Wang, General Manager/COO

With more than twenty years of experience in plastic and textile industries, Ms. Fang Wang was in charge of Uniscite from 2011 to 2015, a Chinese investment of $80 million in South Carolina. She led the managerial team to work from project development to facility architecture and building, equipment setup, human resources development, and products improvement.  Starting from 2016, Ms. Wang took over a new project, Uniquetex, another $32-million Chinese investment in North Carolina. This investment will generate up to 150 new jobs for Carolinas and will produce 25 million pounds of non-woven in the first year of operation. The company is recruiting staff and will train them in China.

Website: www.uniquetex.com

Danny Ridenhour

Uniquetex, LLC

Danny Ridenhour, Operations Manager

Danny is a United States Navy Veteran where he served as a missiles and small arms specialist.  After serving in the military he began his career in textiles. He has spent the last 16 years in the nonwovens industries with a primary focus in the hygiene and medical fields.  The applications were used for baby care, feminine care, adult care, surgical wraps for equipment and medical gowns. He started his career operating the equipment and moved into being the plant trainer and supervision.  Other duties while working for Avgol Nonwovens in NC were Process Technician and Production Manager.  He transferred in 2010 to Hubei Province China to head up the training program for a joint venture company with Avgol and later hired on as Production Manager.  After serving 2 years as Production Manager Danny was promoted to Operations Manager at the Avgol Chinese plant and served in that role for 3 years before relocating back to the NC site as the Production Manager. During this tenure, he managed 5 nonwoven lines and 125 people. Danny recently joined the Uniquetex team which is located in Grover NC as the Operations Manager where he will be responsible for overall plant operations, trainings, cost reductions and process improvements.

Website: www.uniquetex.com

Uniquetex, LLC

Daniel Jun Weng, EIT, Engineer

Daniel received Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering with thesis on smart material and remote laboratory development from University of Houston. He is licensed Engineer-In-Training (EIT) by Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

As an engineer in Uniquetex, he works with vendors and maintenance technicians to retrofit the HVAC system, utilities, fire protection, and lighting in a newly purchased plant in Grover, NC. At the same time, he manages engineering projects together with Operations Manager, such as equipment purchases in US, the design and construction of new utility system for process machine, all the preparation work for the arrival and installation of new process machines.

Website: www.uniquetex.com

Elena Colombarini

Vetroresina LLC

Elena Colombarini, General Manager

Elena graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in Business Administration and Economics in 1999. She then began work as a financial analyst for "Il Sole 24 Ore". At this daily financial newspaper, she was responsible for the assessment and analysis of the management and funding of a group of companies listed on the Milan stock exchange. These businesses belonged to diverse sectors including the manufacturing, electronics, tourism, nautical, and papermaking industries. She compiled financial reports of these businesses that were subsequently offered to banks and other financial institutions. She also wrote articles and commentary on behalf of the newspaper.

She later became the Overseas Sales Manager for Vetroresina SPA. When she took over this position in 2003, she also gained the responsibility of developing new strategies for widening the American market particularly regarding new applications for flat glass-fiber laminates. She maintains close relations with the new US plant, and she manages all relations with the American branch of the company. She also coordinates the activities of the research laboratory.

In 2005, she was promoted to General Manager of Vetroresina LLC. Vetroresina is a distributor of Italian-made products in the U.S. market. Thereafter, she also became responsible for variety of areas including book keeping, general accounting, and relations with the general contractor for building construction and equipment installation projects.

She has obviously made use of her skills in English, Italian, and French. She now lives in Greenville, SC, and maintains relations between Italy and the USA for Vetroresina.

Website: www.vetroresinallc.com

Wetzel Services

Natalie Lineberger, Lead Manager, Immerse Program

Natalie Lineberger graduated from Converse College in 2008 with a degree in International Business and Spanish.  She later went on to earn her TESOL certificate and taught English in Spain, South Korea, Germany, and online to Saudi Arabians.  Natalie is currently back in Greenville and works for Wetzel Services as the Lead Manager for the IMMERSE program and as an English teacher for German expats.  Wetzel Services has more than 20 years of experience in the field of relocation, language, intercultural training, and real estate, and is a local leader in offering international services in Greenville, South Carolina.  

Apart from her work at Wetzel Services, Natalie owns and manages a travel website called From Tourist 2 Local

Website: http://wetzelservices.com/

ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC

Tobias Brugger, Sr. Manager/Machining

Mr. Brugger started with ZF Friedrichshafen as an intern in 2004 and completed an internship in Brazil. His growth within the company is nothing less than a testimony to the opportunities our organization offers: from intern, after completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Ravensburg-Weingarten, Germany, Mr. Brugger became a Manufacturing Engineer, later a Team Manager, and in 2015, a Sr. Manager at the Gray Court location. He is currently responsible for a diverse group of 350 employees from US, Germany and Brazil. With skills like Mr. Brugger’s, Gray Court, the home of the 8HP and 9HP transmissions will remain in the driving seat of innovation and will continue to deliver quality to customers such as Jaguar Land Rover, Chrysler and Honda.

About ZF: We are the Mobility of the Future!

ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology, as well as active and passive safety technology. The company acquired TRW Automotive on May 15, 2015, which was integrated within the organization as the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division. With the integration we do not only combine two industry champions, but create unique opportunities to grow substantially beyond the sum of our parts. The combined company reported sales of €29.2 billion in 2015 and has now a global workforce of around 135,000 with approximately 230 locations in some 40 countries. ZF annually invests approximately five percent of its sales in Research & Development (€1.4 billion in 2015) ensuring continued success through the design and engineering of innovative technologies. ZF is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide.

Website: ZF Transmissions Gray Court

ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC

Chris Ludwig, Sr. Purchasing Manager

After the military draft in Germany where he was trained as Military Police, Mr. Ludwig enrolled at the University of Applied Sciences Mainz in the International Business Program. During his study, Mr. Ludwig received a scholarship at the Lander University in Greenwood, SC, where he earned his Bachelor in Business Administration. Upon return to Germany, he completed his Diploma in International Business and not long after, enrolled at Clemson University for MBA study.

His Project Purchasing career began at Robert Bosh in Anderson, SC. Traveling the world and interacting with diverse business mentalities on behalf of his employer, shaped Mr. Ludwig’s negotiation skills and widened his cultural horizon, an indispensable leadership attribute in today’s global environment. As a successful professional and someone that calls South Carolina home, Mr. Ludwig continued to stay involved with Clemson University, more specifically with German Full Immersion Summer Program offered by Clemson’s International Studies Department. This opportunity allowed him to better understand the significant cultural impact Clemson has on students and future talent. In 2015, Mr. Ludwig joined ZF Transmissions Gray Court as the head of the Purchasing Department, where he leads a cultural diverse team of employees. Their different perspectives allowed significant improvements that would continue to lead the organization successfully in the future.

Website: ZF Transmissions Gray Court

ZF Transmissions Gray Court, LLC

Jorge Vazquez, Sr. Quality Project Engineer

Mr. Vazquez joined ZF Saltillo, Mexico in 2017. A rising star in Mexico, Mr. Vazquez supported ZF Schweinfurt Team in 2011 for 6 months, working on a project in the Business Division. Shortly after his return to Mexico, and due to his engineering expertise, as well as his social competence working with diverse teams, Mr. Vazquez was transferred in 2012 to ZF North America Operations HQ, in Northville, Michigan, where in his role, he worked closely with customers, such as General Motors, Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, etc. After 3 years at the company’s HQ, Mr. Vasquez accepted to transfer his knowledge to the youngest and largest ZF location in North America. He has joined our team in 2015 as a Sr. Quality Project Engineer for the 9HP Projects Portfolio.

Website: ZF Transmissions Gray Court

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