Our Esteemed Judges.

Our judging panel is made up of both outside industry experts and executive leaders from Seraph’s management team. Learn more about each of our judges and why they’re excited to participate below.

Hear from our 2023 judges

Industry Experts

Michael Fahy

CEO at Neovia Logistics

In his current role Mr. Fahy serves as CEO of Neovia Logistics, a leading global logistics supplier, operating in more than 80 facilities in 20 countries. Michael brings extensive solution design, process engineering and business development experience into his role. Michael leads his teams to strive for best-in-class customer service with a relentless pursuit of continuous improvement across all aspects of their business. Prior to this role, Michael served as CEO Region Americas, DB Schenker having full responsibilities for all P&L aspects of the Americas including more than 123 global locations.

The charity Michael has chosen to support is Humble Design. Humble Design changes lives and communities by custom designing and fully furnishing home interiors for individuals, families and veterans emerging from homelessness in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, San Diego and Seattle markets.

Chris Grabmiller

CEO, StaffBright

Mr. Grabmiller is a staffing leader with a proven track record of success in high-demand results-driven environments. He currently serves as the president and CEO of StaffBright, a metro Detroit-based recruiting firm. Chris leads his team in managing a diverse portfolio of companies to align their talent acquisition strategy with their overall business strategy. Chris and his team have witnessed firsthand the incredible challenges the automotive industry has experienced with labor shortages over these past few years and learned how to best support their clients through these changes.

The charity Chris has chosen to support is the Special Olympics of Michigan. The mission of Special Olympics Michigan is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Amin Alidina

Former Global Director of Supplier Technical Assistance, Ford Motor

Mr. Alidina most recently served as the Global Director of Supplier Technical Assistance, leading the Ford Supplier Quality effort. With 37 years of industrial automotive experience across North America, South America, Europe, and APAC Regions, he brought extensive expertise to Ford. Amin has held cross-functional positions in Manufacturing, Product Development, Corporate Quality/Corporate Supplier Operations, and Purchasing & Supply Chain. He is dedicated to building and inspiring teams to drive continuous improvement and implementing his end-to-end quality approach, which incorporates cultural, technical, and operational mindsets with rigor.

Amin has chosen The Aga Khan Foundation as his designated charity, which partners with communities worldwide for over 50 years. As a member of the Aga Khan Development Network, one of the world’s largest development organizations, they make long-term investments, from early childhood education to infrastructure, driven by a firm belief in shared humanity. Operating in over 30 countries, their work impacts tens of millions annually, serving communities and boosting local economies.

Linda Taliaferro

Vice President of Global Quality for the Chassis Solutions Division, ZF Group

Ms. Taliaferro is the VP of Global Quality for the Chassis Solutions Division of ZF Group, a renowned global Tier 1 supplier in the automotive industry. Prior to her role at ZF, Linda held the position of Vice President of Global Quality at Meritor, Inc., a leading global supplier specializing in drivetrain, mobility, braking, and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicles and industry markets. Linda’s extensive career also includes roles at Meritor, Littelfuse, Johnson Controls, Maxion Wheels, Bosch, BMW, and Detroit Diesel, where she contributed her expertise in Operations, Quality, Purchasing, and Supplier Development. In addition to her corporate endeavors, Linda is the Founder of The TEE – The Extra Effort, LLC, a career advisory service dedicated to helping women of color professionals shift their mindset, leverage their strengths successfully, and be recognized as leaders.

Linda has chosen the Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan as her designated charity. The Girl Scouts organization plays a crucial role in focusing on the development of girls’ leadership skills through Discover, Connect, and Take Action elements. These elements aim to achieve outcomes such as fostering a strong sense of self, promoting healthy relationships, and identifying community needs. Operating in multiple counties, GSSEM serves over 22,000 girls and adult volunteers, providing a quality, girl-led, and girl-centered leadership experience.

Gloria Blanchard

HR Director, Brose

With over 20 years of experience working in human resources, Ms. Blanchard has expansive knowledge across a wide variety of diverse projects. Gloria has developed training programs that resulted in increased employee performance uniformity, employee retention, talent and resource consolidation of cross-functional teams. Gloria has global experience after serving in Corporate Performance Management in Germany. As the Human Resources Director at Brose, Gloria plans, directs, develops policy, and coordinates human resources activities for their operations.

The charity Gloria has chosen to support Silver Lining Foundations 4 U. Their mission is to have a positive community impact to help adult’s re-entry the workforce. Silver Lining Foundations 4 U offers a variety of programs and services through our community partnerships, volunteer organizations, and businesses for adults looking to re-enter the workforce by providing professional business attire, resume, and interviewing support, including career coaching.

Jim Barbaretta

General Manager, Brose Tuscaloosa

With over 30 years of industry experience, Mr. Barbaretta is a well-known leader in manufacturing operations and quality. In his current role, Jim oversees operations at Brose Tuscaloosa, where they manufacture door systems, cooling fan modules, and seat adjusters for some of the world’s largest OEM’s. Under Jim’s leadership, Brose Tuscaloosa has been named Assembly Magazine’s 2022 Assembly Plant of the Year, along with other notable awards including AAMA Outstanding Automotive Supplier Award. While Jim now calls Alabama home, he is a graduate of the University of Michigan – Flint.

The charity Jim has chosen to support is Mary Free Bed Foundation. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital is a 167-bed acute care inpatient rehabilitation hospital for children and adults who have experienced a brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation, or other injury or illness requiring physical rehabilitation.

Brad Tolley

Operating Partner, Lake State Partners

Throughout his career, Mr. Tolley has taken on diverse responsibilities, leveraging over 30 years of experience in industrial manufacturing, including global operations, corporate strategy, business development, engineering, and program management.  In his most recent role as President of Shiloh Industries, a global Tier-1 automotive supplier specializing in light weighting vehicle body, chassis, and powertrain structures, Brad played a crucial role in leading the company’s transition from a US-focused, process-oriented automotive supplier to a global, product-oriented entity. This transformation involved successful launching, enhancing, and restructuring of operations across North America, Asia, and Europe.

The charity Brad has chosen to support is Folds of Honor, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen or disabled U.S. military members. Since 2007, over 51,000 scholarships totaling $240 million have been awarded in all 50 states. Expanding its mission, Folds of Honor now includes America’s first responders, supporting police, firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics.

Seraph Team Members

Ambrose Conroy

Founder

Ambrose Conroy is the founder of Seraph, an automotive consulting firm. Seraph helps clients increase output, ramp-up production capacity, relocate operations, conduct due diligence, solve engineering challenges and optimize operations. Prior to founding Seraph in 2011, Ambrose was Vice President of Supply Chain Solutions at NAI Global after years as a Managing Consultant at PA Consulting.

Thomas Kowal

President — North America

Thomas has two decades of extensive management and sales operations experience in the automotive industry. Prior to joining Seraph in 2019, during his time as a Plant Manager at Brose, he doubled the size of the operation and launched multiple plants before moving on to become NA Sales Director for Automotive Lighting and then TI Automotive, achieving the introduction of new customers and product technology.

Wade Phillips

President — Europe

Wade Phillips leads Seraph’s European operations and brings more than 25 years of experience in the automotive and manufacturing space. Wade has extensive P&L responsibility at Tier 1 automotive suppliers and a proven track record of developing and scaling new business. Prior to joining Seraph, Wade was VP of Operations for Spartan Motors and COO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems, where he led transformative initiatives to improve underperforming operations to achieve best-in-class performance.

Richard Payne

Managing Director

Richard brings more than 25 years of leadership and expertise in automotive and manufacturing operations across the United States and Europe. He leads client efforts in restructuring, turnaround, and operational improvement initiatives. He also provides coaching and mentoring for executive and plant operational leaders. He is a passionate student and teacher of lean manufacturing with a precise understanding of the fundamentals required to build strong foundations for operational excellence.

Jay Butler

Managing Director

Jay brings more than 20 years of experience in automotive, industrial, and consumer product design; manufacturing; and quality control. Prior to joining Seraph, Jay held senior management positions at Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, and the Brose Group. He oversees management and leadership training, quality improvement, strategic planning, and product development efforts.

Let our judges know about your extraordinary contributions to the automotive industry!

Apply by March 8th*

*Online Supplier Questionnaire must be completed by March 15th.