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"I love seeing the most basic to the highest tech processes, from beginning to end. It really is an art as well as a skill and it never ceases to amaze me how our company or companies I know solve problems around the world."
What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I came from banking but my husband Thom worked in manufacturing and would discuss it at the dinner table in the evenings with the family. On vacations, we would often tour businesses and observe various manufacturing processes. It so excited us that my daughter and I both entered this field. Manufacturing is part of everything we touch on a daily basis. I love seeing the most basic to the highest tech processes, from beginning to end. It really is an art as well as a skill and it never ceases to amaze me how our company or companies I know solve problems around the world.
What has made you a successful leader in manufacturing?
Since 2000, I have used my personal time to partner with other business owners, educators, associations and politicians to shed a light on the workforce issue facing manufacturing. It has been exciting to develop solutions like manufacturing camps, tours, political focus, one-on-one mentoring, plus support initiatives like Edge Factor and Manufacturing Day…all of these have made an impact to solve the problem.
What stereotypes about manufacturing, or women in manufacturing, have you come across?
That manufacturing is a man's world and has no place for women. The truth is, there is a place for everyone. The collaboration of men and women, experienced workers and new employees, etc. is a game changer. I encourage women to be active and participate in industry groups and I look forward to the day when gender isn’t an issue. I have helped foster groups and events to do this, WOTM, WIM, etc.
What else can we do as an industry to drive more women into manufacturing?
It has become lean, automated and safer. Opportunities are endless; whether it is the ability to provide jobs whereby the employee can earn a living wage or the ever changing, ever growing innovative processes to improve accuracy and efficiency. Communicating these facts via targeted and interactive media should gain their interest.
What would the REAL Rosie say about women in manufacturing today?
It is exciting to see women in management roles…especially younger women. And the high level of technical knowledge that women provide to manufacturing solutions is significant. While progress has been made, more women should be in manufacturing. This is true...we need to come alongside young gals and show them what we do, what our environment is like and explain what kind of education they need to do it.
What advice would you give women, or anyone interested in entering this industry?
If you are new to manufacturing and you don’t want to be an engineer, to start with, move towards project management or quality for training and then employment. Women can move up in organizations from these two job descriptions. I believe they would naturally bring value to this type of job plus be very successful. Including having good wages and potential for job satisfaction.
Attend and participate in Manufacturing events, robotics, pertinent educational programs, career days, etc. in order to get a full picture of everything it has to offer.
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Elena and Abby bring you innovative stories from the workplace.