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.

Jim’s 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


During her time with Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee, Meredith Porterfield has had experience in developing strategies that bring people together in the workplace.


Meredith has developed and presented customized training for more than 100 different teams and committees on topics such as team building, problem solving and leadership development.  She also has facilitated work groups to enable them to utilize tools and techniques so they can work better as a group to resolve workplace issues.

In addition, in the unfortunate event of a layoff or workplace closure, Meredith has provided facilitation assistance to worker transition committees. The work of the committees helps to ease the discomfort of a layoff situation and helps workers transition quicker to a new job.  A worker transition committee will learn about services that can help themselves and their peers and then determine which services would be most beneficial to themselves and their peers.  They plan and coordinate events so both workers and their families can learn about the services available.  In addition to working with the committees, Meredith has also participated in strategy and orientation sessions with local workforce development offices prior to assisting worker transition committees.

In addition, Meredith has worked with community leaders, business leaders, union leaders and other community partners to build relationships that can help with the mission and goals of Columbus Area Labor-Management Committee.  She also has planned and coordinated seminars, breakfast meetings and other events to help people network with each and learn new skills or learn about topics pertinent to the workplace.

Prior to her work with CALMC, Meredith had previous work experience in both union and non-union settings from the manufacturing and service sectors.  She is a graduate of 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 to be competitive and create positive workplace environments.