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Rebuilding our Communities by Building the Trades

Skilled Trades Foundation and Charter School Launches in Michigan

August 19th, 2020
Posted by: drouin


Jenell Leonard

Skilled Trades Foundation and Charter School Launches in Michigan 

Foundation and Trades Charter School Announce Board Members and Officers 

Royal Oak, Mich. – A new, one-of-its-kind Charter School focused on the building trades and developing entrepreneurial skills in young men and women is being planned to launch in Fall 2021. 

The new school is an outgrowth of work by The Dildilian Foundation for the Building Trades and will be called the Building Trades School, focusing on building and skilled trades for high school students with the goal of having partnerships with Michigan-based unions, job placement options for graduating students, and future plans to incorporate veterans and special needs populations.

“Developing skills in professional trades is critical to Michigan’s economic success,” said Greg Dildilian, President and Founder of The Dildilian Foundation for the Building Trades. “It is estimated that more than half a million skilled trade jobs will be created between now and 2026. The demand is high and I am proud the Dildilian Foundation will be able to help support the supply of talent to fill this workforce gap through the new Building Trades School.” 

Within the first six months of the administration, Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist highlighted the gap and opportunities for the skilled trades; first within the 2019 State of the State address and further emphasized with the enhanced Going PRO campaign that raises awareness of the opportunities and career options available to those interested in pursuing a skilled trades career. 

The Dildilian Foundation for the Building Trades is devoted to schooling young men and women in the skilled trades with the purpose and goal of developing entrepreneurial skills, individual self-confidence, and income creation for students. The Foundation and the Building Trades School will create a local talent pool of employable individuals who are devoted to building their careers and re-building their communities. The purpose of the Foundation is to raise funds for the Building Trades School, which will revitalize blighted neighborhoods through the repair, renovation, and restoration of existing homes in addition to building new homes. The Dildilian Foundation for The Building Trades will foster and encourage parental and community support and involvement at all levels to ensure success.

 With the work of the Foundation and launch of the School, comes the formation and election of respective board members. “Our board members for the Foundation and the School embody the spirit, dedication, and commitment that are critical to a successful organization,” continued Dildilian. “They bring the skills and expertise that we need to make our vision a reality.” 

Dildilian Foundation Board Members 

Greg Dildilian, Foundation Board President, founded The Dildilian Foundation for the Building Trades in September of 2017.  Greg’s vision is to rebuild failing neighborhoods by teaching the trades at the High School level. Greg brings contracting experience, along with Business Management skills in building organizations that will foster entrepreneurial skills in our youth and provide a well-educated local labor force.

John Jamian, Vice President, is an American businessman, former U.S. government official, and Michigan State Legislator. He served as Deputy and later Acting Maritime Administrator, the head of the U.S. Maritime Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Transportation. Prior to his service at the Maritime Administration, Jamian was elected to three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from 1991 to 1996. He also served as Executive Director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority and from 2001 until his appointment as Deputy Director in 2003 as the Executive Director the Armenian Assembly of America. In 2011 Jamian resumed his role as Executive Director at the Port of Detroit.  In 2014 he went back to AmeriCare Medical, the company he helped create in 1989. 

Doug Ledger, Secretary, is a consummate business professional with an extensive background in a broad range of business enterprises. Currently working in the mortgage industry with Quicken Loans as an Operations Specialist, he has a keen understanding of the financial and mortgage markets. He’s also been a successful entrepreneur, having owned and operated Purethane, Inc. (a manufacturer of automotive, office and appliance products) and Game Day Sales (retailing university branded apparel and merchandise). This has provided him with a deep appreciation for the risks and rewards of being your own boss and what it takes to be successful as a small business owner. Rounding out his background, Doug was also Vice President of Sales at Michigan Spring Company.

Lisa Dildilian, Treasurer, is a payroll administration manager for a large multi-national corporation, based in Troy, Michigan.  She is responsible for Compliance and Tax Audit for over 300,000 employees annually.  Lisa brings finance and tax experience to the Dildilian Foundation at many levels. In addition to this experience, Lisa managed the finances for two of Gregory Dildilian’s state political campaigns.

Michael Stroud, Director, is a real estate agent and political consultant. A passion for Detroit pushed Michael into politics, and a desire to be involved in the greatest comeback in America drove him to start selling real estate in Detroit at just 19 years old. 

Josh Barney, Director, is the Vice President and General Counsel at J.J. Barney Construction, Inc., a 92-year-old family owned and operated construction company. Josh is the fourth generation to work at the company. He is responsible for setting the overall direction for the company, overseeing its business operations, and all of its legal matters. He frequently lectures at seminars for construction, legal, and business personnel and has been published in numerous legal, business, and academic publications.

Chris Drouin, Director, is an entrepreneur as the founder and president of Drouin Media Solutions and a partner/sales trainer at Sandler Training by EAM Consulting Group. A graduate of Brother Rice High School and Oakland University, he is a lifelong Oakland County resident that has been working in sales and marketing for over 20 years.  Before opening his own digital marketing agency, he worked for some of the world’s top companies including Bentley Motors, Volkswagen of America, McKesson and Quicken Loans.  Chris is also the President of the US Lacrosse – Michigan Chapter and an NCAA lacrosse official.

Dildilian Trade School Board 

Greg Dildilian, Trades School Board President, in addition to serving as the Foundation Board President, Greg also serves as the President of the Trade School Board. (see Foundation bio above) 

Marty Knollenberg, Trades School Board Vice President, is a restaurant and insurance agency owner and previously served in the Michigan legislature. While serving as a state senator, Marty was Vice Chair of Education and Chairman of the Michigan Merit Curriculum. In his community, he has served at the local Kiwanis club, DEAFCAN, and the Chamber of Commerce for both Troy and Novi. 

Claudia Doll Mullin, Trades School Board Secretary, is a lifelong resident of Michigan with a Masters of Education from Marygrove College, is a proponent of alternative education and has been involved in Michigan’s charter school movement. 

Jay Oparka, Trades School Board Treasurer, comes to the Dildilian Foundation board with a degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University and over 25 years of experience in the field of construction. 

To learn more about the foundation, visit: or call Greg Dildilian at 248-797-6195.


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