Executive DirectorJames Gardner, Ph.D., serves as Executive Director for the Association of Manufacturers Bay Area (AMBayArea), having successfully shepherded this new trade association to sustainability for productive collaboration within the Bay Area manufacturing sector and stake holders across the region. Gardner received his doctorate in biochemistry and has a passion for process and teamwork. His twenty years in basic research and biotech product development and manufacturing placed him in a wide variety of situations, from startup ventures to large companies to high visibility national laboratory projects.
Communications & EventsShannon Banta manages communications and events for the Association of Manufacturers Bay Area (AMBayArea). Banta received her bachelor’s degree in communication and public relations. She has more than 15 years of experience in public relations, including event management, print and online communications, media relations and community relations.
Amelia Lopez-Helm, MPP
Amelia Lopez provides member outreach and operations support for the Association of Manufacturers Bay Area (AMBayArea). She received her bachelor’s degree in public policy and master’s degree in public policy from Mills College. Lopez has more than six years of experience working in local government and non-profits doing project management, outreach and communications, and policy analysis. Through her role as the East Bay Works Regional Sector Partnership Program Coordinator, she works with a variety of industry partners, including manufacturing, to provide administrative support and build organizational capacity.
Rona Zollinger, Ph.D.
For 20 years, Rona Zollinger, Ph.D., has integrated transformative learning, place-based education, career exploration, social and emotional learning, outdoor education, and youth leadership development into the lives of young people as a high school teacher, adult mentor, industry partnership developer, program director, and agent of change. Alongside her daily work in public education, Dr. Zollinger works with AMBayArea to link student and teacher with early career manufacturing ambassadors. These ambassadors inspire students to explore manufacturing careers by sharing their career journey in classrooms as guest speakers and at career fairs.
Workforce DevelopmentSusie O’Bryant is a professional connector, trainer, and coach who has over 20 years of experience in workforce and economic development. She provided services to small businesses, employers and those in career transition for Contra Costa County for a number of years. She currently advises both students and dislocated workers through the Peralta Community College District. In addition, she is coordinating workforce development efforts for AMBayArea. She also worked as a vocational counselor for the Department of Rehabilitation and has taught both adult and special education.