The staff of the Columbus Area Labor Management Committee is trained and experienced in dealing with labor-management relations, cooperation, and the development of high performance workplaces.

The committee staff includes:


Dr. Jim Cowles, Executive Director

Jim Cowles is the Executive Director of the Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee. This not-for-profit organization provides assessment, training, and facilitation for organizations and unions in the areas of labor-management cooperation, high performance workplaces, total quality management, workplace safety, interest-based bargaining, strategic planning, problem solving, teamwork, statistical analysis and design, and other topics.

Dr, Cowles has been with CALMC since 1995. During that time he has trained thousands of employees in effective committee function and cooperative labor-management relations. He has developed workplace climate assessment and other assessment instruments which have been used by several organizations. Jim has developed reserch design models and survey instruments and conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis on survey data. He has also demonstrated the ability to work with both labor and management in helping them build a foundation that will lead to more productive relationships aimed at improving the service provided by their business or organization.

Jim received a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, where he majored in physics. He has a Masters in Education and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. Prior to joining CALMC, he served as a teacher and administrator. He was the local president, negotiator, and grievance chair for the teachers union, and was active in union leadership and activities at the local, state, and national level.

 As an administrator, Jim served in a variety of roles, including as a supervisor, assistant principal in a junior high school and as Director of Information Systems. He played a leadership role in developing a cooperative labor-management process which was instrumental in improving the overall relationship between administration, teachers, and non-teaching employees. He also became a trainer and facilitator in the quality and site-based decision making programs. He also served on the management team in negotiations with teaching and non-teaching bargaining units.

While at CALMC, Jim has helped train and facilitate many labor-management committees within private sector industry as well as in the public sector. His work has involved a number of unions, including OCSEA, the Teamsters, Operating Engineers, IAM, IBEW, UAW, CWA, FOP, USWA, SEIU, and others. He has worked with several committees in state government, including statewide committees. He also planned and coordinated statewide training programs involving over 15 state agencies. He has also served as grant manager and trainer for the Ohio Public Sector Labor-Management Health Care Committee which was funded through a Federal grant from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Dr. Cowles served as project coordinator for the statewide worker transition committees in Ohio. These committees provide assistance to displaced and at-risk employees in state agencies, and is funded through the Federal Workforce Investment Act.

Jim has made several seminar and conference presentations on Labor-Management Cooperation, Workplace Safety, High Performance Work Systems, Restructuring, Total Quality Management, Conflict Management, and other areas. He has planned and delivered staff development programs in many topics. He had developed a wide variety of training materials, including a training package on Workplace Assessment for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and coordinated development of training materials for joint labor-management health care committees.

Jimís background in statistics and research has enabled him to perform extensive data analysis during workplace assessments conducted for CALMC and other area labor-management committees around the state. He has also performed other types of statistical analysis, including financial projection, cost analysis, and research studies.

Dr. Cowles also has extensive experience in information technology. He has worked with a variety of computer applications, including student record management and payroll, consulted with schools, businesses, and users regarding implementation strategies for computers.  He has authored over 25 student and teacher books on computer science.

Meredith Porterfield, Program Manager

Meredith Porterfield has worked over 20 years for Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee, and during that time has had experience with employee involvement, team development and layoff aversion strategies.

Meredith has developed and presented customized training for more than 100 different teams and committees on topics that include communication, team and leadership development and problem solving techniques.  She also has provided facilitation to groups so they learn tools and techniques to resolve workplace issues that can avoid layoffs or workplace closures.

In addition, Meredith has provided assistance to over 15 worker transition committees. She has presented information to workers to inform them of the services available under the Workforce Investment Act.  Meredith has also provided facilitation to worker transition committees to help them identify needed services; plan, coordinate and schedule events, workshops and other projects that can ease the discomfort of a layoff situation and transition them quicker to a new job.  Meredith has participated in approximately ten strategy and orientation sessions with local One Stops. She also has interacted with community leaders, businesses, and agencies, including local Job and Family Services, to not only assist with services for clients but build relationships that can help with the mission and goals of Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee.

In addition to her work with CALMC, Meredith has over 25 years of human resource experience in both union and non-union settings from the manufacturing and service sectors.

Meredith has received additional training in employee involvement practices from the Employee Participation Council in Mansfield, Ohio, and from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, where she earned a BSBA in Business Management. The experience and education she has received qualifies her to help organizations develop and improve communications and overall performance.