Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms Inc., a Michigan based producer of bulk butter, delivers the keynote address Thursday. Photo by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
The theme for seventh-annual Valley Made Manufacturing Summit in Fresno Thursday was “The Power of Unity,” highlighting the importance of manufacturers, educators and local organizations working together to better help the community.
The event is hosted by the San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Alliance (SJVMA) and featured business owners, students, community leaders and more.
This year’s keynote speaker was Mark Peters, CEO of Butterball Farms Inc., a Michigan based producer of bulk butter, sauces, cheeses, gravies, marinades and more. The company creates custom butter flavors for some of the country’s biggest brands.
The welcome and special remarks were kicked off by Genelle Taylor Kumpe, CEO of SJVMA, and Deborah Nankivell, CEO of the Fresno Business Council.
There was a job seeker session where people could meet and speak with representatives from local manufacturers about employment.
Workshops included “Inside the Mind of a Cybercriminal: Reviewing How Hackers Target Central CA Manufacturers”, hosted by Brian Horton of Breadcrumb Security and Fresno FBI Special Agent Lance Pherson.
Other workshops included “Insider Tips About Tax Credits For Manufacturers” hosted by Gil Gonzales, author and co-founder of Subcity, a free online platform that identifies and secures tax credits and incentives for small and midsize business. Another was titled “We Are Resilient: Applying The Hero’s Journey Tool in the Workplace”, hosted by Imago CEO and co-founder Edgar Blunt.
The lunch program included Peters speaking about his rise in the family company, the changes he implemented to support employees and some touching anecdotes about the relationship with his father, Butterball Farms founder Leo Peters.
This was followed by a panel discussion revolving around economic and policy work to aid human and economic development moderated by Kumpe and featuring WorkLife Partnership CEO Liddy Romero, California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) President & CEO Lance Hastings, United Way Fresno and Madera Counties President and Madera Counties Lindsay Fox and LA County Business Federation (BizFed) Tracy Hernandez.
“SJVMA is far more than just an industry cluster—it is committed to civic stewardship,” Kumpe said in her welcoming remarks. “Our remarkable board recognizes its responsibility not only to run its businesses, but also to education, social equity, the environment and public policies so that we work together to create inclusive prosperity and wellbeing.”