Jeremy E. Bockelman - MMTC - 2018 MFG Emerging Leader

In an industry sometimes struggling to pull itself away from its past and into the future, manufacturers depend on young, passionate, excited individuals who care enough to take the reins and lead when called upon.

Those who know Jeremy Bockelman know his emotions are carried on his sleeve. He cares deeply about the people he works with and the industry he serves. Since entering the manufacturing industry nearly a decade ago, Jeremy has consistently poured his passion and energy into benefiting manufacturing at the regional level.

“I love manufacturing; the smells, the sounds, watching materials turn into something finished and usable,” says Bockelman. “It’s a career worth doing, but we don’t do enough to bring awareness to skilled trades, vocational training and professional career options in manufacturing. What manufacturers do greases the wheels of the entire economy, if we aren’t preparing for tomorrow, we risk losing it all.”

Jeremy understands risk; taking on the challenge of turning the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center’s northeast office from an organization lacking even two full-time workers and turning it into an eight-person support network was no easy task. With his vision and drive, the office has helped clients boost sales by $55 million and create 909 new jobs in the last 12 months.

“Jeremy is the definition of leadership, commitment and dedication,” said Patrick Curry, president of Fullerton Tool and a fellow board member of the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers Association with Bockelman. “He has a true passion for manufacturing and is already a leader in the Great Lakes Bay community.”

While passion can be intimidating, Jeremy’s efforts have resulted in greater partnerships between regional organizations like the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers Association, the Great Lakes Bay Economics Club and the Independent Testing Lab at Saginaw Valley State University. Through his willingness to carry a greater load on his shoulders, the future of local manufacturing is brighter than ever.

“Jeremy has been instrumental in our company’s success in areas of training and lean manufacturing; by introducing The Center to our organization, he has introduced a menu of advanced training to our workforce that creates viable hiring options from the entry level to the executive staff,” commented Jill Palm Lynch, vice president of human resources for JRB Personnel, LLC. “I have known Jeremy for more than a decade and can attest to his strength of character and compassion for others — he embodies all the attributes of a world-class leader.”

Jeremy’s passion expands beyond his dedication to manufacturing, he is also dedicated to his employees. Jeremy always ensures that his team has what they need before worrying about himself. It is this dedication which has earned him immense respect from his employees. The same thing is true with all of the businesses he supports and the people he has worked with along the way.

“Jeremy is a rare find — he has the passion of someone whose spent a lifetime in the industry and the energy of someone with a lifetime left to give,” says Harry Leaver, executive director of the Central Michigan Manufacturers Association and a longtime mentor of Bockelman. “He’s a quick study and you never have to struggle with him; point him toward a goal and he’ll achieve it. He’s a brilliant guy destined for great things.”

With ten years behind him and a lifetime of possibilities ahead, Jeremy is the caring, brilliant, resourceful next generation leader manufacturers need.

“Being recognized like this — I hate talking about myself so I’ll just talk about my dad,” says Bockelman. “He always lived by the motto ‘challenges are inevitable, defeat is optional,’ and I carry that mindset with me. You can struggle. You can hit hard times. But if you keep trying, keep rising up to meet challenges, you’ll never be defeated and you’ll always find success. That’s what manufacturers need to do today and I’m just honored to help.”