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Jeff Connor-Naylor   ·  

Business Leaders United Welcomes New Members of the Executive Committee

Title: Business Leaders United Welcomes New Members of the Executive Committee

Business Leaders United (BLU) is excited to announce that Rick Plympton, CEO of Optimax Systems Inc.; Ali O’Neill, Secretary-Treasurer/Project Manager, O'Neill Construction Group; and Victoria Johnson, Global Equity Director, HDR, Inc. will be joining the BLU Executive Committee.  

As CEO of Optimax, Rick helped build the company into America’s largest precision optics manufacturer while also receiving national recognition for developing the kinds of career progression and development frameworks that are essential to good jobs. Rick also serves as a Job Quality Fellow with the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, and Optimax helped to found a sector partnership called the Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (FAME).

In her current position, Victoria Johnson advises government officials in the development of infrastructure-focused plans, policies, and programs with a special focus on social and community impact. She has been active on skills training issues, publishing an op-ed with National Skills Coalition and serving on National Skills Coalition’s Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel, which submitted recommendations to the Biden administration about skills training investments.  

Ali O’Neill co-founded and co-owns O’Neill Construction Group, a leader since 1998 in the minority contracting community in Oregon. During her 25 years in construction, Ali has developed an intimate understanding of the challenges women face in construction and has just finished serving seven years as board treasurer for Oregon Tradeswomen. She also participated in National Skills Coalition’s Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel.  

The three represent industries critical to the U.S. economy: manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure sectors, respectively. These are three sectors where tight labor markets, the need for occupational-specific skills, an aging workforce, and rapid technological change – among other challenges – illustrate why investments in skills training strategies and supports will be necessary for businesses, workers, and our economy at large. 

BLU is an initiative of National Skills Coalition (a non-partisan 501c3), and is a free, private network of more than 1,000 business leaders promoting public investments in high-quality skills training. The Executive Committee serves an important advisory role for BLU and National Skills Coalition. Members of the committee meet quarterly and provide on-the-ground perspectives and expertise that inform our policy priorities and activities. They are outstanding leaders in their communities and champions for skills training, workforce partnerships, and racial equity.  

We look forward to opening a new chapter on the Executive Committee with the addition of these business champions.