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Manufacture Alabama elects new members to board of directors – ‘exceptional individuals’

Manufacture Alabama represents hundreds of companies — from the most recognized international corporations to small, family-owned operations — all integral to the economy in Alabama and across the globe.  

The group announced the election of two new members to its board of directors, including Donna Jackson from International Paper and Craig Savage from Airbus. The Board of Directors also approved the nomination of Karen Johnston from Toyota North America to the position of Vice Chairman.

Jon Barganier, President and CEO of Manufacture Alabama, said he’s excited for the changes.

“These exceptional individuals bring diverse expertise and invaluable perspectives to the leadership of our association,” said Barganier. “Their contributions will further strengthen our ability to serve the interests of our members across the state.”

“We are confident that Karen, Craig, and Donna will bring the necessary leadership to enhance our mission to make Alabama the best state in the country for a thriving manufacturing industry.”

The new members, their prior responsibilities, and reactions to being named to the board can be found below:

Karen Johnston Regional Director, Toyota North America’s Government Affairs

Johnston is responsible for monitoring and influencing state legislative policy issues that impact Toyota and its operations in the Midwest and Southeast. Throughout her 22-year career at Toyota, she has held various roles in Government Affairs, Corporate Communications, and Human Resources.

“I am honored to serve as the Vice Chairman of the Board for an outstanding organization – one that is committed to its members, enhancing opportunities for Alabama manufacturers, and making the state a place where manufacturing thrives,” said Johnston.  “I look forward to the ongoing collaboration with Jon, his team, and the entire Board of Directors.”

Donna Jackson Regional Communications Manager, International Paper – Prattville

Jackson has been a key member of the Prattville mill’s Lead Team since 2015, providing strategic communications leadership and overseeing community relations strategies. She is an active member of the local community, serving on various boards, and she assumed the role of Chair of the Manufacture Alabama Communications Committee in 2023.

“I have enjoyed participating in Manufacture Alabama member activities as part of my role at IP since 2015,” said Jackson. “I am honored to be asked to join the board, and look forward to continuing to support the great work this organization leads on behalf of manufacturers across our state.”

Craig Savage Head of State and Local Affairs, Airbus

In his role at Airbus, Savage focuses on business strategy, government relations, community engagement, and economic development in the southeast U.S. region. Over his 25-year career, Craig has worked for companies in the defense, energy, and entertainment sectors. He also serves as a Reserve Public Affairs Officer for Air Force Special Operations Command.

“Manufacture Alabama has been a critical resource for me and the companies I’ve represented during my time in aerospace and defense,” said Savage. “I’m looking forward to joining the extraordinary leadership team that has helped make Manufacture Alabama one of the leading advocacy organizations in our state.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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