Dante O. Fierros
President-Owner of Nichols Precision
Dante O. Fierros, President-Owner of Nichols Precision in Tempe Az., brings over 30 years of senior management level experience in the Aerospace and Defense markets. Dante and his wife Mary Ann, came to Arizona in 1997 and jointly established Ascenso Development Group LLC., a business development consulting practice helping small to medium-sized companies with business development issues. The acquisition and growth of Nichols Precision followed in 2007.
Prior to 1997 Dante led business development teams at Hughes Aircraft Co., Allied Signal Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Kollmorgen/Danaher Corp., and Lucas Aerospace UK/USA. He has led teams nationally and internationally in attaining corporate, tactical and strategic objectives. A major portion of his work has been directed to the Department of Defense and Congress while serving as a corporate representative to these Washington D.C.-based federal organizations.
Prior to commencing his industry-focused career, Dante was a USAF pilot during the Viet Nam conflict and attained the rank of Major during his 10 years of service.
Most recently, Dante has been elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Dante also serves on the Governor’s Workforce Arizona Council (WAC), and is a past President of the Arizona Tooling and Machining Association (ATMA) and current “Ambassador” for that organization. Dante is also the Chairman of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership (AMP). His duties also include aiding various committees with the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA).
Dante is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Business Administration and also a graduate of La Verne University where he earned his Masters of Business Administration.
David E. Lair
Vice President / General Manager of Dynamic Machine & Fabrication Corporation
David Lair is the Vice President / General Manager of Dynamic Machine & Fabrication Corporation. DMFC is an Arizona based precision manufacturer serving aerospace and defense customers along with other commercial customers since 1967.
David began his working career for DMFC his junior year of high school learning about manufacturing from the ground up. Starting out as a part-time janitor he worked through a number of positions including pick-up/delivery driver, machinist, purchasing agent, and estimator. After earning his Business Administration degree from Grand Canyon University he accepted an opportunity to move into the metals distribution industry and joined the team at Jorgensen Steel, now EMJ Metals.
David worked in both the Los Angeles and Phoenix branches with Jorgensen over the course of 15 years, managing responsibilities in Credit/Accounting, Sales Management, Warehouse Operations, and eventually as Assistant General Manager in the Phoenix branch. David served customers in manufacturing from the sales end of the phone. His previous experience in manufacturing gave him a practical and knowledgeable approach to metal distribution and serving its customers.
In 1996 David returned to DMFC to manage the operation for its founder Jim Stewart. Working with the team at Dynamic, David’s experience working with OEM’s (original equipment manufacturers), suppliers & venders, and other job shops has contributed to maintaining Dynamic’s strong position and performance in manufacturing and serving its customers.
David is a former member of the Steel Service Center Institute. Currently he is President of the Arizona Tooling & Machining Association serving for 10 years, first as a regular board member and then as an officer. He is also Vice Chairman of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership, a non-profit workforce development organization.
David lives in Surprise, AZ with his wife of 35 years. They have two grown children and one family dog. When not working, David enjoys family time vacationing, hanging out with the kids, or just taking in a movie. He enjoys billiards, golfing, range shooting and other outdoor activities.
Phone: 623.878.8281 or 602.920.7534
Mark S. Dunning
Member of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership
Mark is currently a member of the Arizona Manufacturing Partnership and a senior HR leader with 25 years of manufacturing experience. Most recently, he served as the Senior Director of HR for the Pharma Delivery Division (The Tech Group) of West Pharmaceutical Services based in Tempe AZ, where he was responsible for all Tech Group HR activities between 2008 and 2015, including talent management, compensation, benefits, employee relations, training, leadership development, HRIS systems, and governance. He aligned several HR structures at this recently-acquired division with the parent company while implementing best practices and realizing efficiencies. Mark also launched employee development, engagement, and communication initiatives which helped reduce turnover by two-thirds and earn a 2013 Best Place to Work Award from the Phoenix Business Journal.
At Chrysler LLC, he gained eighteen years of increasingly responsible HR experience, including lead HR responsibility for the start-up joint-venture engine manufacturing company, Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance LLC in Dundee, MI. In 2008, the plant was named the most efficient engine manufacturing plant in North America by respected industry benchmarking firm Harbour and Associates, and received the Shingo Silver Medallion Prize for Operational Excellence. In 2007, GEMA accepted Plant Engineering magazine’s Top Plant Award, and gained notable media attention featuring its lean production and HR processes. Mark led recruiting and hiring using a benchmark, competency-based selection process, staffed and developed a lean organization in a high-performance culture with 2 fewer levels than originally conceived, took a key leadership role developing unique processes in the areas of labor relations, salary planning, reward and recognition, benefits administration, training, health and safety, and team building. He also managed community and media relations, and visited partner plants in Japan and Korea to benchmark business practices. Prior to GEMA, Mark served in various labor relations, benefits, and HR roles at both plant and staff levels, chaired bargaining committees during two rounds of national labor negotiations, and participated in several local contract negotiations.
Mark has a BA-English from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor MI), and a MA-Industrial Relations from Wayne State University (Detroit MI). He also attended the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership, and holds three certifications from Development Dimensions International (DDI) – Facilitator, Success Profiles Facilitator, Targeted Selection Interviewing Trainer. Mark is a member of SHRM, along the Greater Phoenix chapter of SHRM, and formerly served on the EVIT Precision Machining Technology Advisory Board.