Demetria “Lynn” Strickland comes from a military family and is an Army veteran who served honorably in the Army for over nine years. Lynn has 25+ years of management experience in several sectors. She is a former Dean of Instruction at Bates Technical College where she supervised 14 apprenticeship programs, 11 career training programs and Continuing Education.
Lynn began working for the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee as a Program Manager in February 2012, was promoted to Deputy Director in July 2012 and has served as Executive Director since August 2014. Lynn and the AJAC team develop and implement employer driven pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs for the incumbent workforce which is open to all employers across Washington State in the advanced manufacturing industries. AJAC, with Lynn’s leadership, developed and implemented the first state-wide registered youth apprenticeship programs in WA state.
AJAC apprenticeship programs use the dual training method allowing apprentices to “earn while they learn,” simultaneously pursue both an educational and career pathway, work full time, earn college credit, access a 2-year degree with no college debt while being instructed by current industry professionals. AJAC also partners with secondary, post-secondary, community based organizations and state agencies to implement and expand apprenticeship program offerings.
Lynn has a M.A. in Organizational Leadership with a graduate certificate in Human Resources and a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis Management.
Get to know Lynn in a recent video about her pathway into leading AJAC’s organization.
Chris has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including workforce development, philanthropy, youth development, and education. Chris holds a Master’s Degree of Public Administration from the University of Washington earned in 2008, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Ohio University earned in 2000. Prior to coming to AJAC, he was the Program Manager at SkillUp Washington, a workforce funder collaborative at the Seattle Foundation, where he led numerous strategic planning and partnership building efforts to expand economic opportunities in the Puget Sound region for low-income communities and opportunity youth in the manufacturing, aviation and retail industries.
He was a Marano Fellow in the first Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy in 2014 and ran the second Greater Seattle Sector Skills Academy in 2016 in partnership with the Aspen Institute. Chris entered the workforce development field managing youth employment programs at the YWCA of Seattle-King-Snohomish Counties, and a pre-employment internship program for homeless youth in the University District.
Elizabeth has over 40 years of experience in business administration and management relating to human resources, labor relations, organizational improvements, system upgrades and customer service. She has been a Trustee or Member of several Non Profit Committees, Executive Boards and Apprenticeship Programs, and former member of the International Federation of Employee Benefits & Pension (IFEBP).
After a long management career in the hospitality and service industry, Elizabeth spent 15+ years as a Worker Advocate for UNITEHERE Local 8, including 3 terms as the Local’s President. Her AJAC career began in 2011 as an Office Assistant, then assumed the role of Office Manager, advanced to Business Services Manager, and is currently the Director of Business Services.
Bri has over 20 years of experience in the private and non-profit sector, including manufacturing training, human resources compliance, workforce development, opportunity youth program development, and K-12 educational pipelines. Bri holds a Bachelors Degree in Business & Organization Leadership from Northwest University earned in 2021, and certificate in developing occupational curriculum and occupational analysis (DACUM) from Ohio State University. In 2017, she was on a Governor’s task force that traveled to Zurich, Switzerland to study their vocational education training (VET) system and career pathways with the ETH University. She then helped develop the first youth apprenticeship programs in advanced manufacturing. Prior to coming to AJAC, she was a manufacturing teacher & program manager in Seattle at Pioneer Human Service, a social-enterprise in manufacturing firm that serves justice-involved individuals releasing from the system. She led numerous strategic planning and partnership building efforts to expand wrap-around services, pre-employment, and job opportunities for barriered youth and adult populations.
Bri has held in various positions from corporate instructor, on-the-job training advisor, manufacturing instructor, human resource compliance officer, service manager, program manager, director of programs, director of youth apprenticeship and bring her experience to AJAC. Companies she is has worked for: Pioneer Human Services, Alaska Airlines, Vulcan, Ohasi Design and Columbia Hospitality.
Sheryl has over 15 years of experience in public service, both in education and non-profit settings. She was a high school English teacher for 5 years in Southern California and Washington State. She worked for the American Heart Association as a development coordinator and event manager before moving back into education. Most recently, Sheryl was an academic counselor for STEM students at the University of Washington. While there, Sheryl served thousands of students with diverse backgrounds and experiences and contributed multiple committees, including the Adviser Education Committee and the Department of Biology’s Diversity and Equity Committee.
Sheryl earned a B.A. in English Literature and Language from the University of California, Riverside. In her free time, she enjoys taking her young daughter to the library, reading, running, and paddle boarding on Lake Washington.
Elly comes to AJAC with over 10 years of nonprofit experience. Most recently, Elly was a program and account manager for the Quality Improvement Program–a department within the American Heart Association that works directly with hospitals to improve patient care with consistent adherence to current treatment guidelines. Elly’s favorite part of the job was building relationships with volunteers and hospital partners. Prior to working at AHA, Elly served two years in AmeriCorps working in early childhood education and community college student services.
Elly earned a bachelor’s of science in Community Health Education from Portland State University. In her free time, Elly enjoys spending time with friends, walking her dog Lola, and riding around town on her silver scooter she calls Sebastian.
Lan comes to AJAC with two years of coordinator and manager assistant experience in the non-profit industry after spending seven years in the telecommunication industry as a project coordinator. In 2011, Lan went back to school in Louisiana to earn her Masters in Business Administration.
Lan was hired by AJAC in April 2017 to coordinate and administer inquiries from apprentices and outside entities regarding enrollment of new apprentices, tracking of hours and organization of AJAC’s Apprentice Tracking System.
Stephanie has over ten years of experience in administration, accounting, human resources, and fiscal compliance within the casino and hospitality management industries, as well as five years of advocacy work for disabled youth in foster care. She was born in southern California and has resided in western Washington all of her adult life, having lived in Mason, Kitsap, Snohomish and King Counties.
Stephanie joined AJAC in March 2021, starting as an intern for the Pre-Apprenticeship Manufacturing Academy program before being hired full time as a Fiscal Specialist. In July 2023, Stephanie was promoted to Fiscal Manager.
Leo comes to AJAC with over 12 years of experience in financial aid which spans career/adult education, private university education, and public/state university education. Prior to joining AJAC, Leo was the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at the University of California San Diego where he worked closely with many underrepresented student groups including student veterans, undocumented students, and first generation students to assist them with obtaining the funding needed to reach their goals.
Leo has led teams, overseen the implementation of large scale technological improvements, and managed awarding and policy for several state and federal grant funds. Leo has also been an active member in financial aid associations, including sitting on the executive council for WASFAA and serving as a trainer for the SDB Summer Institute.
Lance has over 25 years of experience writing curriculum for adults and children. Soon after receiving a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, he began working at Microsoft where he designed and wrote computer-based training materials to teach software. Following this, he went back to school and earned a Washington State teaching credential as well as a M. Ed.
He became interested in developing elementary school math and science curriculum, and began working with many organizations including Explorations in Math (now Zeno), Everyday Mathematics, California Education and Environment Initiative, and Science AZ. The bulk of his work during this time was with Science Companion, a curriculum company affiliated with the University of Chicago. He and several colleagues designed a K-6 science curriculum based on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) national standards. Using this program, students engaged in a variety of hands-on activities in which they planned and conducted science and engineering investigations.
Lance was hired in 2019 to help develop curriculum for AJAC’s programs and was recently promoted to Curriculum Manager in 2020. He thoroughly enjoys working with AJAC and is looking forward to future curriculum projects.
Alek comes to AJAC with nearly 10 years of manufacturing experience. His career started in a manual machine shop where he managed the shop floor and ran manual mills and lathes. The following years were spent in a highly competitive CNC shop, where he honed his skills in setup and operation across multiple machines, and specialized in difficult metals, troubleshooting, and program edits. While working as a machinist, Alek also completed the 4-year machinist apprenticeship through AJAC.
In 2018 Alek joined the AJAC team to teach evening classes for the Apprenticeship program. Later that year he was brought on as a full-time instructor for AJAC’s pre-apprenticeship program, the Manufacturing Academy. Alek is Certified as a Journeyman through the Washington State Apprenticeship Council (WSAC). He is also certified in CPR, First-Aid, AED, CPR, OSHA 10, and Manufacturing Skills Standard Council as an Instructor & Expert in Manufacturing Process & Production, Safety, Quality Practices & Measurement, & Maintenance Awareness.
In December 2019, Alek was promoted to AJAC’s Technical Specialist.
Adan joins the AJAC team with 7 years experience in student recruitment, relationship building and communication strategies. Serving in many roles at Eastern Washington University, his most recent position was a Senior Admissions Advisor. He assist many student from various backgrounds such as: first generation, underrepresented groups, adult learners and more.
Born and raised in Toppenish, WA, Adan is a proud alumnus of Eastern Washington University – earning B.S. in Technology Manufacturing. He also serves on his fraternal Alumni Board as a Regional Director improving processes, policy, and recruitment.
Creed taught at Lindbergh High School in the Renton School District for 20 years, and prior to teaching, he ran my own cabinetry/custom furniture business for 15 years. At Lindbergh High School, he taught Intro to Woodworking, Design, Manufacturing and the Core Plus Aerospace and Construction programs. Creed also had the good fortune to teach the AJAC classes for youth apprenticeship for the past four years.
Creed is very excited to join the AJAC staff and continue pursuing his passion to help students find a pathway into manufacturing. His background in teaching students how to safely operate industrial machinery for 20 years, and knowing how to teach the AJAC curriculum for the past four years will enable him to be an asset to our instructors, the students and our industry partners. Creed’s emphasis in teaching is to prepare students for careers in manufacturing, no matter what pathway they choose to enter this amazing career.
Shawn comes to AJAC with over 7 years of nonprofit experience with the YMCA where he worked as the Membership Lead while also earning his Business and Logistics degree at Tacoma Community College. He has worked in the service industry for the past 8 years. Most recently, he was a career firefighter before transitioning back to nonprofit here at AJAC.
In his free time, Shawn loves spending time with his wife, 3 daughters, and their dog Stout. He stays active by running and participating in racing events around the great Northwest. He loves sports, traveling, and going to concerts.
Regional Program Managers
Heather comes to AJAC with three years of experience as a teacher at a private K-12 school, and almost three years of experience in workforce development. At her last position, her experience was in business engagement, career connections, event planning, and social media management. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in English as well as training in Business Services from the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals and Lean Change Management. Heather has lived in different cities around South Central Washington for the last seven years and is looking forward to engaging with more communities in Central Washington.
In 2021, Heather was promoted to Manager of Business Development & Regional Services.
Erin has over ten years of non-profit experience including global healthcare, economic development, and WA State policy. She earned her degree in Communications and Public Relations from the University of San Francisco. After teaching 4th grade in an orphanage in Ghana for a year, she returned to the workforce with a continued passion in helping others. Prior to AJAC Erin was Membership & Events Manager for Washington Business Alliance. During this time Erin focused on advocating for Career and Technical Education and promoting Career Pathways for WA State trades. She joined AJAC in 2017 as a Business Developer and was promoted to Regional Program Manager in 2021. Erin primarily covers the North Sound region extending to Skagit and Whatcom Counties.
Erin served two terms (six years) as a business advocate on the WA State Rehabilitation Council, a Governor-appointed advisory board within the Dept. of Vocational Rehabilitation. She volunteers for the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition on the Fundraising and Advocacy Committee. Erin is a Seattle native.
Amy joined AJAC after working with the Seattle Mariners as Manager, Security for nearly seven seasons. While at the Mariners, she oversaw all aspects of the Event Security team to ensure the safety and security for 81 baseball games a year and numerous other events held at T-Mobile Park. This role included the hiring, training, scheduling and development of over 250 Event Security staff every season. Her favorite part of the job was working all the wonderful staff that helped make incredible guest experiences at the stadium,
Prior to the Seattle Mariners Amy spent over 15 years at Microsoft in the Windows and Xbox Gaming Divisions. Her time there brought lots of opportunity with different roles including Software Tester, Test Lead and finally Release Manger.
Amy is also involved with volunteer groups in her community, serving in leadership roles when needed. She is a Washington native having grown up in Puyallup and graduated from Western Washington University. In her free time she can be found playing her favorite video games, camping up at Lake Cushman or planning her next trip to Disneyland.
Dennis joined AJAC after working in the private and public sector in a variety of leadership positions. During his career in the private sector, Dennis spent time as a retail manager and regional sales representative focusing on customer service. However, his true passion was education, and he entered public education as a second career. During his tenure in education, he spent time in the classroom as a business and marketing teacher, high school principal, Career Technical Education Director (CTE), and most recently as Principal at Yakima Valley Technical Skills Center (YVTECH) in Yakima.
Dennis returns to Eastern Washington and Spokane where he has lived and resided for several years. He looks forward to working with industry to provide apprenticeship career opportunities for youth and adults in the Spokane region.
Prior to joining AJAC, Damian worked as a member of the Business Services team at the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. In this role, he managed pre-apprenticeship cohorts and engaged with businesses to assess employment needs, working with stakeholders to create meaningful talent pipelines. Preceding his time at the Chamber of Commerce, Damian spent over nine years in Workforce Development with organizations such as Pacific Mountain WDC, Central City Concern, Portland Community College, and the Art Institutes. He approaches his work with a strategic mindset to identify opportunities and acts with a spirit of entrepreneurship and collaboration.
Damian resides in Olympia, Washington and serves as the Board Chair of the Olympia Film Society. He has a deep love of film and has worked in television on shows for PBS and the Travel Channel.
John started with AJAC in 2019. John has over 15 years management and workforce development experience. John also has sales, outreach, recruitment, training, advocacy, and project management experience. John earned his Master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University located in Cleveland, Ohio and has lived in the Puget Sound region since 2010.
Priscilla is a proud veteran who served in the USCG as a Avionics Technician and Flight Navigator on Search & Rescue (SAR) missions in Alaska. With more than 4 years’ experience as an Avionics Technician in the military, she is adept in manufacturing, maintenance, electrical, soldering and technological applications and repair. Priscilla’s 2 years of on-the-job training as a Flight Navigation instructor in the military has afforded her a well-rounded skill set to apply to teaching advanced manufacturing.
After leaving the military in 2014, she choose to apply her Avionics Technician and Instruction skills to a career in teaching and contracted with leading aerospace companies in the greater Seattle area as an Aerospace Technical Instructor and Assessor.
In September, 2020, Priscilla was hired as an instructor for AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Priscilla has a passion for teaching and ensures there will always be a safe non-judgmental space in the Manufacturing Academy to facilitate the learning process. Her aircrew and search and rescue experience provided the ideal platform to master working with others under pressure and stress, which will allow her to be successful in her new role with AJAC. Priscilla also has a Bachelor’s in Health Science and certified in CPR, First-Aid, OSHA 10.
Troy comes to AJAC with over 30 years of Journeyman Machinist experience. His background includes using conventional lathes and mills, CNC lathes and mills, precision grinding equipment, welding, as well as precision inspection equipment, and many other general machine shop equipment. Troy specializes in prototype parts, research and development, tooling, and numerous high tolerance repair situations, along with years of production experience.
Troy learned machining first-hand while working with his Dad and other peers at Precision Engineering Inc. for 7 years. He then went to Flow International Inc. for 20 years and specialized in high-pressure waterjet systems and LEAN Manufacturing. After that, Troy started a machine shop of his own making high quality, tight tolerance, precision parts for local companies which included Blue Origin, Flow International, Quest Integrated, and Glowforge, among many others. He gained respect of many local companies and vendors, building solid relationships to exceed their expectations, delivering products on time, while learning to run his business successfully for over 7 years.
In January 2018, Troy was hired as an instructor for AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Troy simply has a passion to pass his knowledge on to others. His experience by running his own business, working for others, and his ambitious drive, will make him successful in his endeavors to pass on all his skills. Troy is also certified in CPR / First-Aid / AED, Community Emergency Response Team Training, and the Citizens Police Academy. In March 2023, Troy was promoted to the Youth Pre-Apprenticeship Program Manager.
Lai joins AJAC with over 8 years of experience as a machinist within the aerospace industry. During which, he completed the Machinist (Aircraft Oriented) apprenticeship hosted by AJAC. He is returning to AJAC as a Manufacturing Academy Instructor after earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in economics from the University of Washington. His studies were focused on business strategy, organizational management, corporate finance, and entrepreneurial development – all of which aided in the successful planning, execution, and management of his own business.
Lai is also an 8-year veteran of the Washington Army National Guard where he had participated in multiple state active-duty missions and has led teams in various construction missions throughout Kuwait and Western Iraq.
Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, my journey to the Pacific Northwest started, as so many did with the booming aircraft industry of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. My father was a machinist and retired after 40+ years on the job. Having seen firsthand what opportunities and possibilities machining and manufacturing could result in I was naturally was drawn to it. I began my path to machining through an internship/pre-apprenticeship program in high school where I was introduced to Blueprints, CNC programming, Milling, Precision measuring, composite materials and LEAN practices. An experience that would light the fire to pursue my craft and career in manufacturing.
I’ve had the fortune of working in a few different fields of manufacturing in my 25+yrs in the field. From the plastic industries to machining metals and aerospace work, I’ve done mold making, thermoforming, designing, prototyping, mass production, and custom work. Designing and building products that range from point of sale displays and phone holders to custom interior work on multimillion-dollar yachts, displays for museum exhibits, heavy metal construction and infrastructure equipment and advanced aerospace components.
Most recently I was given the opportunity to join AJAC as an instructor and pass some knowledge to the next generation looking to join the manufacturing field. I have always enjoyed teaching and showing those interested in this craft what the possibilities are and where they can take you.
Steven joins AJAC with 25 years of Machining experience. He grew up in the Yakima Valley and graduated from Sunnyside High School. He followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and became a machinist earning his Machining Degree from Perry Technical Institute. Steven interned at A&B Plastics in their Tool & Die shop. Upon graduating he accepted a position at Genie Industries in Moses Lake as a Tooling Machinist. He made fixtures for Machining Centers and Weldment Fixtures for the production floor.
Steven eventually made his way back to Yakima to work for the Plastics company he interned with A&B Plastics, now Pexco Aerospace. Steven worked there for the next 17 years starting out as a Machinist working his way up to a Tool & Die maker and eventually the Machine Shop Supervisor. In 2020, Steven went out on his own and opened his own shop. He is excited about the opportunity to pass on some of the knowledge that he has learned over his career.
Allie’s career has consistently been in the nonprofit sector, most recently at the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce as a Project Manager for Strategic Initiatives. Prior to her time with the Chamber, she worked as Interim Director with the Pacific County Economic Development Council and as the Executive Director of the Long Beach Peninsula Boys & Girls Club. In 2014, she received her Master of Public Administration with a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Villanova University.
Allie has also written for newspapers as a reporter, contributor, and columnist; worked as a personal aide in Lancaster, UK; and served on multiple Boards of Directors, including Pacific County Youth Alliance (PCYA) and Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA).
Allie grew up in, and currently resides in, Raymond, Washington. She spends her free time playing music with her husband, snowboarding in the winter, and hanging out with her six rescue cats and (one) dog.
Marketing & Communications
Aaron has over 12 years of marketing communication experience in various industries including radio broadcasting, promotions, website development, blogging, advertising, social media, public relations and marketing. He has a diverse skill set in several key areas of communications including broadcasting, new communication technologies, organizational communications, English and digital marketing. After graduating from Washington State University, Aaron completed a marketing internship at Nyhus Communications in May 2013 and a promotions internship at Sinclair Radio Seattle (formerly Fisher Communications).
In June 2013, Aaron was hired by AJAC has the Marketing Communications Intern. Since 2016, Aaron has overseen the organization’s marketing communications strategy and in 2021, was promoted to Director of Marketing Communications.