Women of Excellence in the Metalforming Industry

November 1, 2016

This inaugural recognition acknowledges those, from shop floor to top floor, who have demonstrated a commitment to the metalforming and fabricating industry and have distinguished themselves through their achievements and daily dedication.

On the following pages, MetalForming profiles all 30 winners, and we also recognize 19 women who have earned honorable mention. Quality control, corporate, operations, setup, production, tooling…name a metalforming task or job classification and it likely is represented on this list.

“As an industry leader, we feel that it is MetalForming magazine’s duty to recognize these industry leaders, the women who walk the walk each and every day to ensure success for their companies and serve as inspiration to those who one day will follow them,” says Andrew Flando, publisher of MetalForming. “We were overwhelmed by the number of nominees from manufacturing and supplier companies. All of the nominees were excellent, and we had a challenging time in selecting the 30 winners.”

With input from the Precision Metalforming Association and Women in Manufacturing, MetalForming has identified a comprehensive list of deserving candidates that not only show how vital women are to manufacturing success, but serve to inspire the next generation of difference makers.

“We are impressed and inspired by the women celebrated in this section,” says Allison Grealis, president and founder of Women in Manufacturing and vice president of Association Services for the Precision Metalforming Association. “We hope that their stories and examples of success will encourage greater numbers of women to enter the industry and pursue challenging positions in metalforming.”

Please join the Precision Metalforming Association, MetalForming magazine and Women in Manufacturing again in recognizing and congratulating these 2016 Women of Excellence Award winners!

Women in Manufacturing: Dedicated to Inspiring

Women in Manufacturing (WiM) is a national association, with more than 650 members, dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. The group encourages the engagement of women who want to share perspectives, gain cutting-edge manufacturing information, improve leadership and communication skills, participate in sponsoring programs, and network with peers.

WiM encompasses manufacturers of all types and welcomes women from every job function—from production to the C-suite. Members benefit from exclusive access to regional and national programming, networking opportunities, bimonthly professional-development webinars, a customized employment tool called WiMWorks, online discussion communities, the quarterly IMPACT e-newsletter, and a robust searchable directory.

Yvette Archuleta-Tudury

Owner/CEO, Vast Industries, Morgan City, LA

“Definitely out of the ordinary!” That’s how Yvette is described by her nominator, who notes that she is more comfortable on the shop floor than in her office. Having worked with metals since her high school days, the 29-yr. industry veteran continues today, operating her own wire-EDM machine while performing metal-product prototyping and reverse-engineering at every opportunity, all the while overseeing the day-to-day operations of Vast Industries. She has designed and developed parts for the motorcycle, oil and gas industry, culinary, and marine industries. With her hot-pink safety glasses, she handles one-ton trucks as well as anyone, and makes sure that parts are not only in tolerance, but look cosmetically correct before leaving the plant.

“Manufacturing is an amazing and rewarding career! Not only are we creating parts that are shipped around the world, but we are operating the latest-technology machinery to produce those parts. The constantly changing climate challenges our minds and our entire organizations to continually improve on processes, products and ourselves. That is what I love about what I do!”

Alycia Paulson

Sorting Supervisor, Feintool Cincinnati, Inc., Cincinnati, OH

Alycia has grown from a being a direct contributor to a supervisor and leader of her department, using her 19 years of experience and knowledge of each manufacturing operation to improve not only the department she is responsible for, but the departments around her as well. A leader by example, Alycia has been integral in transforming her 90-person department into a clearly structured and organized group in spite of the department’s difficult demands.

Through leadership, dedication and advanced planning, she has continued to lead her team through the challenges of day-to-day operations while focused on continuous improvement.

“I feel like being a woman in a predominantly male career is a challenge. I started when I was 20 years old and really had no idea that this world existed. Over the years I have learned a great deal about manufacturing and fineblanking technology. I basically grew up at Feintool and along the way developed the skills and knowledge I use today as a supervisor. I would recommend this career to other women who love to challenge themselves. It is a very demanding career and you need to have a strong mind to overcome some of the stressful situations you will endure. With that being said, I love my job and I take extreme pride in how far I have come in this journey. I’m looking forward to the future with Feintool.”

Barbara Gallonio

Vice President/COO, Tedco Inc., Cranston, RI

Joining Tedco as human resources manager 18 years ago, Barbara later was promoted to general manager before assuming her current position. With a key role in the New England District of the Precision Metalforming Association, she is an industry champion, having developed and implemented a scholarship fundraising program for mechanical engineering students. And, her experience and support of best practices in manufacturing has positioned Tedco Inc. as a leader in the precision metalforming industry.

Described as a self-starting leader who strives to empower others to learn and move forward in this ever-changing industry, Barbara is seen as an innovator in everything she does. She believes that it’s important to learn all that she can and to offer assistance and guidance whenever she can.

“Manufacturing is a field that allows women to advance in many, many areas. The opportunities are endless for the woman who applies herself, listens and learns. Being passionate about your responsibilities and challenges makes you a stronger professional, and one who is better equipped to assist the next woman you encounter. Based on my personal experiences, building my career from human resources manager to vice president/COO, I would encourage women to launch a career in manufacturing. Together, we can make it happen!”

Vivi Diaz

Tooling Coordinator/Prototyping Lead, Leader Tech Inc., Tampa, FL

Vivi is a six-time Employee of the Month winner and two-time Overall Star of the Month winner in her 21 years at Leader Tech. Showing incredible talent and skill in coordinating all of the company’s prototyping and tooling work, she’s proven an invaluable asset in helping the company position itself as a quick-turn, high-precision prototyping and manufacturing house for EMI shielding. Vivi possesses unique knowledge of sheetmetal forming, springback calculations and heattreat fixturing, along with an overall mechanical skillset that makes her a true leader in the metalforming industry.

“Today, women can showcase their talent with innovative ideas in high-tech jobs. The opportunities for women to put their abilities and intelligence on display are constantly developing in this once male-dominant industry. It's important that women take every chance to show what we are capable of doing and not let industry opportunities pass us by.”

Tammy Leech

Technology Project Lead, Racine Metal-Fab, Sturtevant, WI

Starting at Racine Metal-Fab (RMF) in 2008 as a production operator, within two years Tammy was viewed as a leader in her department, becoming the go-to person among her peers and even filling in to perform supervisor duties when the position was vacant. A key individual in several technology-related initiatives, Tammy, as part of the company’s paperless-plant effort, trained hourly workforce in the use of technology tools to schedule work and find production-related documents such as part drawings, work instructions and quality documentation.

Noted for her positive, can-do attitude and commitment to continuous improvement, Tammy has earned the trust and respect of employees in RMF’s production operation. And, RMF sees her as someone every new employee must meet, including new members of the senior management team.

“When I began working at Racine Metal-Fab, I didn't think I could make a difference for myself, my family or my co-workers. The opportunity to succeed in manufacturing provided me with a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. As a single mom, it also provided me with the ability to provide financially for my family's well-being.”

Stacey Bonham

Quality Manager, NASG Indiana, Muncie, IN

Within a year of Stacey’s 2014 hiring by NASG Indiana, the plant drastically reduced its Internal-PPM and Cost-of-Quality numbers. Since then, under her control, excellent quality numbers have been maintained, including a record-low cost of quality, while the plant continues to grow at a healthy rate.

As her nominator states, a quality manager has one of the toughest jobs in a manufacturing setting, having to be able to listen and advise the customer while balancing production requirements in times of need. She has helped convince the NASG Indiana workforce to be open-minded and accept change where possible.

“If asked would I recommend a career in manufacturing to other women, I would wholeheartedly answer, ‘Yes!’ The process to go from an idea to a revenue-producing item is challenging and rewarding in so many ways. Manufacturing is not for the faint of heart. It is fast-paced and in perpetual motion, and it fosters an opportunity to work both as a team member as well as individually on projects with budgetary and timing requirements. The networks of people you meet and the knowledge you gain benefits you professionally and personally. If you’re looking for a challenge, jump on the fast track to manufacturing, where there is never a dull moment!”

Bobbie Blanton

President, Die Cad Group, Grand Rapids, MI

Bobbie was nominated multiple times, testament to the respect she’s earned from her peers. Under her leadership, Die Cad Group has boasted an incredible turnaround, with sales growing and more than 20 employees in two locations focused on metalforming simulation and die design. The working environment at Die Cad Group, with Bobbie at the helm, “is a truly positive place to be,” offers one nominator. “Bobbie genuinely cares about her employees well-being and is continually offering opportunities for advancement.”

Active in a variety of local causes, Bobbie brings her can-do attitude both in and out of the office. And known for her open-door policy when it comes to employee needs, she represents what a self-starting, focused woman can accomplish in a predominately male company and industry, according to another nominator.

“Manufacturing careers are a large part of the world’s economy and the cornerstone of innovation. Women often need to feel fulfilled in their careers and manufacturing is a career that can be very interesting and rewarding. The careers available in the manufacturing sector are unlimited. In addition, they pay well and provide good benefits. Women currently only represent 27 percent of the manufacturing workforce; therefore, the sky is the limit for women to obtain jobs and become successful!”

Brianne Murphy

Marketing and Digital Media Specialist, Longterm Technology Services Inc., London, Ontario, Canada

Brianne has been instrumental in setting up academic initiatives to connect industry with universities and colleges so that students have access to premium CAD/CAM/CAE software. Her efforts have secured the nomination of consulting firm Longterm Technology Services for Techcellence Awards in the Community Engagement category.

As a former college professor, Brianne burst on to the scene, bringing her expertise to the industry to help fill the skills gap. Brianne organizes training and conducts guest lectures, webinars and seminars. She arranges student tours of shop floors, and organizes company visits to classrooms to demonstrate current industry projects and expose students to career paths and the latest technology. She attends Technology Days and her passion helps promote MFG Day to encourage the public, governments, guidance counsellors, students and parents to reframe perceptions on manufacturing.

“One word: Variety. There are so many exciting and challenging career paths available. With opportunities for advancement, these high-tech and high-paying roles are unlimited. Manufacturing careers are rewarding and interesting, while fostering creativity and critical thinking. There are opportunities to travel and connect with a variety of people in the industry. You’ll also have the inside scoop on technology and the latest trends.”

Sharona Dreymann

Client Relations Manager, Special Projects, Principal Manufacturing Corp., Broadview, IL

A driver of continuous improvement and customer satisfaction at Principal Manufacturing Corp., Sharona has been a strong voice for its customers. She has reconfigured the company’s customer-service department to be 100-percent customer-focused and has instilled a whatever-it-takes attitude throughout Principal. Sharona also was a key player in implementing the company’s Plex ERP systems and continues to implement new modules such as project management and tooling maintenance. Involved in Women in Manufacturing and other industry organizations, Sharona also is set to earn a bachelor's degree in Operations Management by year’s end. She has pursued her degree at night and on weekends while working close to 50 hr./week.

Sharona pushes her organization to improve every day, serving as a champion for customers while simultaneously working to improve the company’s systems.

“There is so much about manufacturing that I love and find inspiring: technology, innovation and speed to market to name a few. I know we can be working on a new product today that can be in a vehicle by next week. This has been, and continues to be, a very rewarding career, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.”

Penny Rosso

President/Owner, Pen Steel Inc., Omaha, NE

With a diploma in fashion merchandising, Penny was offered a job in steel sales at age 23. She succeeded, and in 1998 started her own business, Pen Steel, to provide steel components and materials to the steel industry. Fresh out of school she heard that she wouldn’t make it, and heard the same at the inception of her business. Neither time did she quit. She’s since expanded the company and brought in new equipment and capabilities.

She is adept at reading economic changes and reroutes Pen Steel’s business model accordingly, and has worked hard to develop a diverse group of clients that ensures success for the company and its employees. In the words of her nominator, “She can build a business relationship like no other.”

Both farmers, her father and grandfather taught her the skills she continues to put to use today. Both have passed, but they’d be proud of the path that Penny has traveled.

“This industry offers many rewards for women. Compensation, whether it be personally or financially, and so many career paths as well: business ownership, management, engineering, quality control, operations… Every position in manufacturing is interesting and has challenges—interesting and challenging is what sets the stage for women to be successful on their own. Metal is what's for a career!''

Patti Closson

Senior Manufacturing Supervisor, McAlpin Industries, Rochester, NY

With McAlpin Industries for more than 28 years, Patti has seen her responsibilities grow to senior manufacturing supervisor, focusing on machining and final assembly. Her plant manager refers to her as “The Ultimate Tool Belt,” citing the fact that Patti is the go-to person for most production-related issues. Patti played a key role in the company’s ERP-system implementation and became McAlpin Industries’ operations subject-matter expert, learning the system quickly and taking on the responsibility of training. In addition, she acts as a back-up to the plant manager and health and safety manager, filling in whenever needed. And there’s more, Patti rallies associates for community service projects such as the local Thanksgiving Baskets Appeal, and the company’s Adopt-A-Family holiday project, and charity golf tournament.

Patti’s nominator sums up her leadership qualities: “Her associates line up behind her, follow her lead, and trust that she has their back.”

“Manufacturing offers many different opportunities for women—from engineering products and processes, to managing people and suppliers, interacting with customers, and planning production. My favorite? Producing parts and keeping our customers happy! There is no better reward than at the end of the day knowing that my team and I overcame the day’s challenges and were successful in making quality parts for our customers.”

Nivea Cruz-Manning

Production Supervisor, OGS Technologies, Inc., Chesire, CT

For 36 years, Nivea has been with OGS technologies and its predecessor, starting fresh out of high school as a bench worker and using her perseverance, and willingness to learn and take on new tasks to advance. In 2007, Nivea earned a promotion to manufacturing supervisor, in addition to her role as manager of the company’s lab and plating operations.

Nivea took her high-school education and, with a lot of hard work, rose from an entry-level position to management of a 45,000-sq-ft. operation engaged in the manufacture of metal buttons, badges and insignia for military, law-enforcement and emergency-response personnel. She has a unique management style, notes her nominator: “She is everybody's mother, everybody's friend and the one sought out for assistance when needed. Yet, she will stand up to a 250-lb. toolmaker if discipline is necessary, and still earn respect and admiration.”

“The world has changed since women were stereotyped as only suited for office jobs. No longer are we just Rosie the Riveter doing factory work because of the shortage of men. Armed with technical skills and leadership abilities, companies have recognized that women can compete with and work with men, doing whatever it takes to manufacture products.”

Moira Fallon

Manufacturing Engineer, The Raymond Corporation, Greene, NY

Embodying the principles of leadership and mentorship, Moira is the lead engineer for a group of younger manufacturing engineers working in disciplines ranging from fabrication and welding to powder coating and hydraulic-ram manufacturing as well as assembly of final product. On a daily basis she mentors those engineers, helping them to grow and directing their learning opportunities so that they can increase their own skill levels.

Moira has been active with the Raymond Corporation’s STEM program, taking one student interested in an engineering career under her wing. That student now is majoring in Manufacturing Engineering and is with the company as a co-op. Moira makes it a point to meet with her customers to develop robust solutions that address their needs, and is not afraid to make decisions and assist others in arriving at their own solutions to challenges.

“I would recommend that women pursue a career in manufacturing because it is a fast-paced environment that challenges you to learn and grow both individually and as a member of a team. Manufacturing provides exposure to many different functions of the business, which enables you to choose a career path based on your strengths and preferences.”

Margaret Stallings

President, Zero Bullet Company, Inc., Zero Ammunition Company, Inc. and Roze Distribution, Cullman, AL

Margaret owns two successful companies, Zero Bullet and Zero Ammunition. For 53 years, she has been producing deep-drawn bullet jackets, and even today, in her 80s, hasn’t slowed down and goes to work every day. Margaret embodies the commitment and dedication that MetalForming has looked for in choosing winners of the Women of Excellence Award. And, she is a prime example of the opportunities available in our industry.

“I recommend a career in manufacturing because it keeps you on your toes. You have to keep up with what is happening at work in order to talk with customers and, in my opinion, it keeps your mind sharper. I have never thought much about being a female, and have just focused on doing a good job in whatever I am working on. Having been the eighth in a family of 11 kids, with the oldest and the 10th being the only boys, I was kind of a boy, living on a farm and working with my daddy throughout my childhood.”

Charlene Lebo

Vice President, Lindquist Steels, Inc., Stratford, CT

Starting out in the fashion industry, Charlene was offered a job as a clerk typist at Lindquist Steels, which allowed her to work and continue her education in the evenings. Leaving the fashion industry behind, she worked her way through the company, to salesperson, to office manager and ultimately to her current position as vice president.

Since day one on the job, Charlene has provided exceptional customer service and regularly assists customers with technical questions regarding the material Lindquist Steels distributes, drawing on her extensive knowledge to help customers match the proper tool steel to their application. And her skills in scheduling ensure that orders are delivered on time.

With 38 years in the business, Charlene has been a voice for women in manufacturing, and in the steel industry in particular.

“It is rewarding to achieve a successful career in an industry that at one time was inhabited by so few women. The opportunity to use my skills and knowledge to prove success to other women looking for a growing future, motivated me to reach my goals. Career possibilities in this industry are endless, with many challenges and rewards.”

Chris Cottingham

Production Supervisor, Vidir Machine Inc., Arborg, Manitoba, Canada

Since starting as an executive assistant at Vidir Machine, Chris has never shied away from learning new things. That is a major reason why she has risen to the position of production supervisor. She has utilized all of the skills and knowledge available on her production team and has earned the respect of employees through working to understand the challenges presented by a customizable product line such as that at Vidir.

Chris has nurtured an environment of cleanliness and organization in the shop that garners compliments during every tour and customer visit, according to her nominator. A true servant leader, she is not afraid to get her hands dirty in support of those that report to her, and if it needs to get done, she’s never one to say it's not in her job description.

“Metal fabrication is an art where creativity and skill transform metal into shapes, and when fabricated together produce a vast variety of products all around us, from trinkets to space ships. Women who are unfamiliar with metal fabrication would be astonished at how common, everyday knowledge is applied. A career in metal fabrication is challenging and stimulating, offering you the opportunity to work beside innovative, talented individuals.”

Darlene Wallace

Customer Service Manager, Quality Metal Stamping, Henderson, TN

For 40 years, Quality Metal Stamping has been providing custom metal stampings and automated assemblies. And for 29 of those years Darlene has played a big part in the company’s efforts to create and maintain strong partnerships with its customers. As customer-service and inside-sales manager at the fourth-generation company, she has been essential to its growth, working diligently on customer partnerships while committed to Quality Metal Stamping’s values. Her long-term commitment to the organization and her customer-first mentality are recognized by colleagues and customers alike.

“The manufacturing industry is an important sector of the U.S. economy and as leaders we must recruit the brightest minds to remain competitive. After spending 29 years in the metalforming industry at Quality Metal Stamping, manufacturing has provided me with a challenging career path, allowing me to build strong relationships and present new ideas in all facets of our business. I would encourage women of the next generation to be a part of the ever-changing face of manufacturing in this country!"

Lynn Clark

Steel Purchasing Manager, MidWest Materials, Inc., Perry, OH

Lynn has succeeded in industry in a time when sales and purchasing was dominated by men, and continues to be a positive role model through her work as an officer and board member of the Association of Women in the Steel Industry. In 37 years at MidWest Materials she has served as administrative assistant and assumed several production positions before becoming involved in purchasing.

“Lynn’s success in the steel business took a great deal of perseverance in the early years,” recalls her nominator. “She would make many calls to steel buyers and was asked time and again, ‘What does a woman know about steel?’ Thanks to decades of relationship-building, those encounters are a thing of the past. Lynn helped open doors both at MidWest Materials and in the industry for other women.”

Says Brian Robbins, MidWest Materials’ CEO: “Lynn is a highly respected executive in the steel industry who distinguishes herself with her deep knowledge of steel products, suppliers and capabilities. She acts with a level of grace that makes those in the industry flock to do business with her.”

“There is great satisfaction in being part of a team and impacting how something evolves from an idea into a reality. Women are still trying to prove themselves and are willing to put the time and effort into a project.”

Lynette Ellman

Chief Financial Officer, Superior Die Set Corp., Oak Creek, WI

Typically the first to arrive and last to leave, Lynette handles Superior Die Set’s top-level accounting functions for its three companies, including two plants in Poland. With zero manufacturing knowledge in her first days at the company 34 years ago, Lynette now understands more shop-floor controls and manufacturing techniques than most engineers.

“I have always strived to be prepared for where I want to be in my career, not where I am,” she says. “This philosophy, coupled with hard work, education, and an employer that has recognized my abilities and given me the opportunity to prove myself, has taken me from an invoicing clerk to CFO.”

With a constant eye on the company’s financial statements, she is able to indicate trends and areas of improvement that are crucial to success, and participates in several local financial groups to keep abreast of constant fluctuations in practices and techniques.

“This industry has provided me with amazing growth and stability throughout my career. I would argue that manufacturing can offer a woman an interesting, flexible, satisfying and lucrative career path. The continual growth, education, social networks and opportunities are vast in the manufacturing sector.”

Liz Ramirez

Quality Engineer, ACE Clearwater, Torrance, CA

A go-to person, ‘can't do it’ is not in Liz’s vocabulary. With a challenging position in a high-volume, low-mix metalforming facility, she strives to solve problems and treat all of her colleagues with total respect…and has earned theirs.

Starting as document-control clerk, through on-the-job training, outside classroom instruction and her work ethic, Liz rose through the ranks to become a manufacturing engineering assistant, and with her attention to detail, became a full-time manufacturing engineer. And when a quality-engineer position became available, she was immediately recommended for the promotion.

She also volunteers to speak with young people, especially young women, encouraging them to consider careers in manufacturing. Liz is actively involved in the company’s Manufacturing Day event, where more than 500 local students, educators and parents are invited to visit and experience first-hand the innovation and exciting challenges that exist on a real-world shop floor.

“Women contribute to manufacturing every day. We can be more than teachers, nurses or moms and be part of a great workforce that makes things. Being a part of a team brings us together to share in our successes. It’s tremendously rewarding, having created something special at the end of the day, every day. And doing it together, it counts.”

Diana Peters

Executive Director, Symbol Training Institute, Skokie, IL

As the executive director and founder of Symbol Training Institute, Diana leads its initiative to combat the skilled-labor shortage by providing hands-on training (including NIMS credentialing) and job placement, and strongly advocates for women's equality in manufacturing by promoting the profession to women and employing several female instructors to assist in her efforts.

In addition, Diana sits on U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth's National Manufacturing Advisory Council and has started Manufacturing Next, a not-for-profit organization designed to help combat the skills and gender gaps in the manufacturing industry.

Her tireless efforts have been recognized by colleagues and the community alike—she’s been named to Crain’s Business Chicago “2013 40 Under 40” class and also named to the Daily Herald's “Entrepreneur of the Year” class of 2015, among other honors.

“Women should enter the manufacturing industry because it offers them an exciting and financially rewarding career. Women are typically very detail oriented and thus thrive in such a career where parts must adhere to tight tolerances and the margin for error is very minimal. It is great to get a diverse perspective on solving a problem. Women can do it all!”

Jackie Sawle

Finance,  Almetals, Inc., Wixom, MI

Nominated for her dependability, efficiency, attention to detail and willingness to take on difficult projects, Jackie has developed financial controls that successfully scaled as Almetals increased revenue each year, and has provided important input on custom-developed software. All the while, she’s been leading and achieving excellence in the company’s accounting and financial processes.

But Jackie's skills do not end with her work. She also projects a warm, cheerful attitude to suppliers and clients, and has resolved conflicts and handle other difficult situations with remarkable patience and admirable tact. In the community, Jackie advocates for special-needs individuals. She is what this award is all about.

“Working in the manufacturing industry for more than 30 years, I have witnessed much change, including the evolution from typewriters to computers, company mergers and acquisitions, and many personnel changes. However, the one constant is the sense of pride in seeing a finished, quality product and knowing that you are a part of it. If you enjoy a work day that is never the same, you won't go wrong working in the manufacturing industry.”

Jill Howe

Advanced Engineer, Nidec Minster Corp., Minster, OH

Jill started at Nidec Minster performing night-shift CAD drafting work while still in high school. Then, in 1995, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, she was hired full-time as a design engineer. In her current position of advanced engineer, Jill brings extensive knowledge of all the Minster presses utilized by the metal-packaging industry. Her knowledge is evident in the fact that she’s earned a patent for a means to detect the failure of the slide-guiding system on piston-drive presses.

Jill has been instrumental in training new engineers and co-ops, imparting her knowledge to better equip the next generation of manufacturing professionals. Another example of her dedication to the industry and her company: She’s recently volunteered for a two-year assignment in Spain with a new division of Nidec Minster. Safe travels and congratulations, Jill!

“Engineering provides an opportunity not only to take things apart and see how they work, but also to see your ideas come to life. Because no day is ever the same, engineering is mentally stimulating. For the woman who wants to grow, engineering provides not just a great career, but also provides the challenges necessary to make you better at your job, and also in life.”

Lisa Busko Johnson

Co-Owner, Cole-Tuve, Inc., White Marsh, MD

For more than 22 years, Lisa has helped to establish Cole-Tuve as an important North American distributor of metal-fabricating machines. As co-owner, she oversees the company’s 50,000-sq.-ft. office/warehouse and ensures that customers and associates alike are treated fairly and respectfully.

Described as one of the most knowledgeable and respected women in the metal-fabricating industry, “her integrity and commitment to help companies with their metal-fabricating-machine needs are second to none,” explains her nominator.

Manufacturing makes the world go ‘round! Concepts become reality, and opinions and options influence the outcome. Women inherently have a different perspective, which is a big asset in all segments of the manufacturing process. And since the majority is men, a knowledgeable and confident woman will not only stand out, she will have a real opportunity to be outstanding.”

Kimberly Clarke

Vice President of Sales and Purchasing, Walker Corp., Ontario, CA

In her 17 years at Walker Corp., Kimberly has helped build and expand the company’s footprint into one of the most respected automotive stampers in the country. She currently oversees all details of sales and purchasing for Walker Corp. and its base of primarily tier-automotive, consumer-electronics, agriculture and solar-power customers, and details of raw-material sourcing as well. She also has assisted in plant automation and manufacturing initiatives.

Kimberly has played a big role in helping the company, in a difficult Southern California location where manufacturing is not an abundant industry, grow into new markets with new products and services. In working her way into a top-leadership position, Kimberly has helped drive the company on a global growth path.

“There are so many opportunities in manufacturing for women. Growing up in this industry as a young woman has given me an opportunity to work with so many innovative leaders: Toyota, Tesla, Bose and many others have influenced my professional life on a daily basis. Women have an opportunity in this industry to ‘break the norm’ and step up to be leaders for the foundation of all societies: the production of goods!”

Kai Irene Busch

Supervisor-HMI Software, Trumpf Inc., Farmington, CT

Having recently earned her MBA following bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Administration, Kai quickly has risen to team leader in the software-engineering department at Trumpf. She’s a computer scientist with inherent leadership and people skills—a rare combination.

“Kai has and will undoubtedly accomplish even greater things in her career and is a tremendous role model for other young women in the industry and those pursuing engineering degrees,” explains her nominator.

“Working in the manufacturing industry is a quite versatile career. There are many interesting jobs that allow women to thrive and bring their creativity to the table. Despite the common perception, the majority of jobs are neither dirty nor dangerous. I lead a team that develops software for laser machines. Day after day it is a challenging and interesting job.”

Tammy Rearic

Corporate Human Resources, EHS Manager, Ice Industries Inc., Sylvania, OH

In 1993 Tammy started her own company, Blue Chip Manufacturing, producing spare parts for U.S. military trucks, ships, submarines and weapons. In 2012, Ice industries acquired Blue Chip, and having recognized her vast experience in government safety, regulations and training, she was hired as corporate HR/EHS manager.

Since then, Tammy has developed, implemented and succeeded in instilling a culture of safety within the company. She has spent 70 percent of her work time traveling to each location to conduct training and auditing, making sure that the company provides a safe and healthy work environment for its employees. Her efforts are not lost on her colleagues.

“I’m doing what I’m passionate about: recruiting, training and keeping our team members safe in a fast-paced, manufacturing environment. It’s very rewarding to be part of the team that stamps a component for a car my family may purchase or the cylinder of a fire extinguisher that may save the life of a friend. Enjoy a fast-paced, ever-changing environment with tons of unique opportunities for women? Choose manufacturing and set the example for future generations of women in this exciting industry.”

Sunita Nand

Lead Assembly, Bishop-Wisecarver Group, Pittsburg, CA

Combining her extensive knowledge and leadership, Sunita is a powerhouse at Bishop-Wisecarver Group and in the metalforming industry. In and of itself, more than 30 years in the industry is an accomplishment, but more than that, she has been able to take what she has learned and skillfully train the next generation of metalformers. Her confidence and encouragement helps new employees feel secure and successful.

Organized, proficient and efficient, she effectively manages multiple associates and projects without missing deadlines. As an example of her ability, Sunita standardized the workflow for a major contract that resulted in efficiency gains for the whole department and helped drive large revenues.

“For more than 30 years, I’ve enjoyed working in manufacturing. Every day provides a new opportunity to learn and a unique challenge to solve. I’ve worked on everything from complex and specialized machines to simpler assemblies found in the home. The manufacturing industry provides women with fulfilling careers that make a difference in our communities and our world.”

Lee Mason

President/COO, Clarke Engineering Inc., North Hollywood, CA

Joining Clarke Engineering in 1989, Lee has instituted quality and financial procedures to ensure the success of the company in the new millennium, and has overseen the transition from manual gear-cutting operations to CNC equipment to perform such tasks. Boasting nursing and other degrees as well as an MBA, Lee used her education and experience to earn a leadership position in the industry, including election to the board of directors of the American Gear Manufacturers Association. She also has led her company to prominence in the industry—Clarke Engineering recently was chosen to be profiled on a reality-television show as a top gear manufacturer.

“I would highly recommend the industry to any young woman, since compared to previous occupations I have found this industry to be highly inclusive, courteous and operating with a clear team concept.”

Lori Slagle

Assistant General Manager, Kecy Metal Technologies, Hudson, MI

Starting as a parts sorter, Lori worked her way to supervisor, then to purchasing and materials manager, and now assistant general manager at Kecy Metal Technologies. Knowing stampings inside and out, she has become an integral part of the company, managing all of its operations from IT, customer service and sales to shipping.

Honorable Mentions

Marcy Hybben, Purchasing Manager, Mate Precision Tooling

Eva Cirovski, General Manager, RAM Solutions, Inc.

Angela Ren, Project Manager, KBX Engineering, Inc.

Amy Street, Laser Tech Manufacturing Engineer, ATACO Steel Products Corp.

Heather Gross, Project Manager, Pyramid Tubular Technologies, Inc.

Lindsey Carr, Operations Analyst, Engineered Fabrication

Sara Wilson, CNC Machinist, Programmer, Operator, CNC Chicago

Icela Ramierez, Floor Leader-Fabrication, Antunes

Darlene Logan, Quality Facilitator, Pentaflex, Inc.

Cathy Davidson, Quality Manager, Ice Industries, Deerfield Manufacturing

Cindy Weglarz, Production Supervisor, Laystrom Manufacturing Co.

Maria Rivas, Human Resources Manager, Termax Corp.

Joey Johnson, Assembly Level 3, Pentaflex, Inc.

Kathy Curley, Materials Manager, A. J. Rose Manufacturing Co.

Kara Cain, Team Leader, Strand Core

Joan Williams, Administrative Manager, Matenaer Corp.

Tammy McCoy, Toolmaker A, New Standard Corp.

Anabel Antunes, Production Planner, Weiss-Aug

Cheryll Reiter, Production Manager, Thermal Spray Technologies Inc.

Industry-Related Terms: CAD, CNC, Die, Drawing, Forming, LASER, Model, Point, Powder Coating, Ram, Tolerance
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Feintool US Operations, Inc., MidWest Materials Inc., Nidec Press & Automation, Cole-Tuve, Inc., Superior Die Set Corp.

Technologies: Management, Quality Control, Training


Must be logged in to post a comment.
There are no comments posted.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Start receiving newsletters.