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Melissa strongly believes that strengthening manufacturing in the US is a national security necessity. She founded Prairie Fire Partners to pursue her dream of owning and operating a small manufacturing business in the Midwest to serve her community. Growing up alongside military bases, including Offutt Air Force Base outside Omaha, Melissa was drawn to national security work.

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Melissa’s grit and determination have paid off. While working full time in manufacturing in the Energy industry, with two small children, she earned her doctorate degree with the unyielding support of her husband, Michael.

Manufacturing is a natural extension of Melissa's passion to create. Her entire career is spent in manufacturing, from factory support, technical sales, design, to engineering management and strategy roles. She had teams as large as 130 for three different Fortune 500 companies. She developed multiple strategies to grow product offerings while maintaining 100% on time delivery and enabling 14% year over year growth. 

Melissa is an active member of the Kansas City area community serving as President of the Board of Directors for both Reconciliation Services and the Kansas City Tomorrow Alumni Association. Melissa earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Iowa State University.

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