MFG Women

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Introduce Yourself Here!

  • 1.  Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 17:16

    Hello everyone! 

    I hope you're excited for our new online platform to collaborate with our peers and colleagues on MFG Women!

    A part of this group, we have individuals from manufacturing companies, community leaders, educators, and more! The common thread? We are all interested in promoting and discussing the importance of women in manufacturing! While some of you may know one another, there are still plenty of new names and faces to learn. So, I would love for us to introduce ourselves! Share your name, company/organization, and why you're passionate about promoting and advancing women in manufacturing.  

    I will kick us off: I'm AJ Jorgenson, AVP of Strategic Engagement at The Manufacturing Institute and I have had the privilege to run the STEP Ahead initiative for the past two years. For those who aren't familiar, the STEP Ahead Awards is our annual Awards dinner where we honor 130 women in manufacturing for their accomplishments in their careers. Over my 7 years at the NAM/Institute, I've had the opportunity to meet and see all of the incredible women in manufacturing share what they make, the pride in what they do, and how they're making a difference in the world. STEP Ahead is such an inspiring initiative, and we need to be doing more! That's why I am so excited to see and take part in the important discussions to be had and the resources we can share on this platform. 

     Your turn! 


    AJ Jorgenson
    AVP, Strategic Engagement
    The Manufacturing Institute

  • 2.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 17:19

    Hello all,

    My name is Carolyn Lee. I am Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, and as AJ said, we are delighted to provide this online community for manufacturers, community partners, and more to discuss MFG Women. This past year, the Institute has made huge strides in supporting and promoting women in manufacturing. As today is International Women's Day, we thought it would be appropriate to kick off today's celebration and recognition with this new platform. Women are such a crucial part of our workforce, and we're here to connect manufacturers with the current and future talent out there to help them succeed. Part of our mission is to help women understand the multitude of career opportunities this industry holds.  With more than 364,000 open manufacturing jobs we know that manufacturers are facing a skills gap, and women are part of the solution.

    I also wanted to give a special shout out to the new class of 130 women, who we announced on March 1, being recognized at the 2018 STEP Ahead Awards. Check out their stories here! 

    I look forward to the continued discussion in this community, and please reach out to me or my team with any questions. 


    Carolyn Lee
    Executive Director
    The Manufacturing Institute
    Washington DC

  • 3.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-12-2018 15:46
      |   view attached

    ​Hi All!
    My name is Heidi Dirgins, I am currently the Vice President of Barnes Enterprise System for Barnes Group.  In my role, I lead our operating system that results in productivity improvements and engagement of employees from around the world.  This allows me to leverage my 30 plus years in manufacturing.  I recently was the VP of Barnes Aerospace OEM for which I was given this honor.   In this capacity, I had the privilege of leading over 500 people producing complex machining and Fabrication - Hot form / Superplastic forming for aerospace products that support Airframe, Nacelles and engines.
    We just celebrated our 160 years in business.  I am very proud to be part of company a company that truly believes in their values, sets the right tone from the top and continuously seeks to take the business to the next level through leveraging the bright minds of their employees.

    Look forward to seeing you all in April.
    Heidi Dirgins   

    Heidi Dirgins
    Vice President, Barnes Aerospace - OEM
    Barnes Group Inc., Barnes Aerospace

  • 4.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-07-2018 17:24
    Edited by Heidi Alderman 03-08-2018 09:05

    Good afternoon!  My name is Heidi Alderman, and I am Senior Vice President of BASF Intermediates Division in North America. I have had more than 30 years career experience in the chemical manufacturing industry and I can’t tell how you energized I feel by the STEP Ahead program, and everything it stands for to make a difference through the power of women!  I am truly passionate about encouraging women in the workforce to take chances, get out of their comfort zone, and succeed.

    I am excited to contribute to the conversation, learn from others, and carry this momentum forward.



    Heidi Alderman
    Senior Vice President, Intermediates, NA
    BASF Corporation

  • 5.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 10:19
    Thank you, AJ!

    Hello all – my name is Natalie Schilling, and I am Vice President of Human Resources at
    Arconic. I also have the pleasure of being STEP Ahead Chair this year and Vice Chair last year. One of the best things about my job is touring our facilities and watching raw materials become products; I am still awed by the deep science and engineering collaboration that allow my company's innovations to emerge. That is the feeling I want every girl sitting in a science or math class to know – that each of them can help invent the next frontier of technology. We look to recruit, retain and advance women through strong connections with colleges, universities and technical schools; by encouraging mentorship; and by offering leadership development. I love promoting inclusion and diversity in our plants and dispelling the myth of manufacturing as "man's work." 

    Natalie Schilling
    Vice President, Human Resources

  • 6.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 10:27

    Hi Everyone,

    My husband & I own Westside Finishing located in Holyoke, MA. We are a job shop powder coating company working for area job shops and manufacturers. We also provide silk screen services on metal parts. We currently have about 60 employees and that number keeps growing every year. We are currently planning an expansion for 2018/2019. We have outgrown our current facility and need additional space. You can learn more about our company at



    Jeanne L Bell


    Westside Finishing Co., Inc.

    15 Samosett Street

    Holyoke, MA 01040

    Direct 413-420-8015

    Direct Fax 413-315-6591

    Westside Finishing



  • 7.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 10:47

    I'm Melinda Perron. I work with West Virginia Women Work ( and I run a training program call the Step Up for Women Advanced Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship in Huntington, WV.

    We basically train women to do manufacturing work (we have other sites that train women to do construction/skilled trades work). We train in CNC machining, manual machining, blueprint reading, micrometers, calipers, shop math, safety, etc in an accelerated 3 month program!

    We've had a lot of success and been able to help women get off of government assistance and into full-time careers in manufacturing. We're one of the only programs in the country that trains women in these capacities. We also don't charge any tuition.

    We recently launched a second manufacturing training site in Bridgeport, WV.

    Our organization also offers Technical Assistance to companies that need help getting more women in traditionally male positions.

    Melinda Perron

  • 8.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 12:10
    ​Hi Ladies:
    My name is Tammy Wallsch and I'm the Human Resources Manager for Milwaukee Valve Company in Wisconsin. We manufacture commercial and industrial valves and also marine valves, many of which are supplied to the shipyards of the U.S. Navy. I've been working for this company for 32 years and literally worked my way up from a temp employee tearing down scrap in the assembly department to the position I now have. We're a family-owned company that has been in business since 1901, under current ownership since 1959, and I've been with them, first as a temp in 1985, then as a full time employee, since 1986. We have two facilities in Wisconsin. Our primary manufacturing facility is in Prairie du Sac, where we have a bronze foundry, a large machining department, our marine department, several assembly cells, inspection, engineering, purchasing and all the ancillary positions necessary to support them. Our corporate headquarters are in New Berlin, where we have accounting, customer service, distribution, warehousing, and iron valve assembly.

    The primary challenge we are facing, and I am hearing it wherever I go, is the lack of skilled employees coming into the workforce. Baby boomers are retiring at a much faster rate than skilled millenials are coming into the workforce, and unemployment is at an all-time low. We are doing all the same things everyone else is doing to try and attract talent. H.R. has now become the second "marketing department" in the company, and thinking outside the box has become the new challenge. We are working hard to build our "creative muscles" and going into the schools and working with younger children to try and raise awareness of the technical trades...something we never have done before. These are interesting times to be in H.R.!

    Tammy Wallsch
    Human Resources Manager
    Milwaukee Valve Company, Inc.

  • 9.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 12:44
      |   view attached
    ​Hi, I'm Diana Peters, I serve as the Executive Director/Founder of Symbol Training Institute, a post secondary career and technical hands-on advanced manufacturing training facility in the Chicagoland area. I lead Symbol's initiative to combat the skilled labor shortage by providing superior hands-on training and job placement through my institution and connecting graduates with manufacturers. I strongly advocate for women's equality in manufacturing by promoting the profession to women and employing several female instructors to assist in my efforts. My passion for workforce development is evident from a proven track record with manufacturing companies who hire Symbol graduates. I love what I do!

    I was recently appointed as the Chapter Head for Women in Manufacturing IL and founded a 501c3, Manufacturing Next, to help women and youth enter the manufacturing field. I had the privilege of being honored at last year's STEP AHEAD awards and met so many incredible women who put their heart and soul into what they do.

    Our challenge continues to be recruitment, especially for youth.  More effort and national campaigns need to be put into place promoting manufacturing as a high demand and high paying career!

    Looking forward to connecting with many of you here!

    Diana Peters
    Executive Director/Founder
    Symbol Training Institute
    Skokie IL / Addison IL

    Manufacturing Next, 501c3

    Chapter Leader
    Women in Manufacturing IL


  • 10.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-08-2018 13:26
    ​Hello Everyone!

    My name is Breanna and I am the Process Engineer for the Napkin group at Essity's Bellemont, Arizona location. We manufacture recycled paper products in our converting facility here (dispenser and dinner napkins, hand towels, toilet paper, rolled towel, etc...). I work with operators and management to improve the efficiency of our lines, lower the waste, improve safety, implement solutions to problems experienced on the machines or with processes, write operational procedures, create training documentation and roll out training programs, and work on continuously improving our centerlining and clean/inspect/lubrication systems.

    I have to say that it is not a career path I saw for myself. I graduated in 2014 from Michigan Technological University with a BS in Environmental Engineering with a focus in Water Resources. I've always been passionate about nature and the environment, and I thought I would be working on protecting water and water management in mining, with the government, or with a consulting firm. To say working with machines is a step out of my comfort zone would be an understatement. But when I first interned in a copper mine in 2013, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. I ended up loving it, and thought: here's a company that's pursing me and I can see cares for their employees; why not give the paper industry a go? It hasn't been easy, especially finding where I fit in an ocean of experience since the average age of the workers here are around my parents'. And it's been a struggle for the company to retain persons in engineering and management 30 years old and younger. I am the only female in management/engineering outside of HR and Quality and the only one under 30 in that group. I don't see this as a failure of my company, because I've seen the same struggle expressed by others that operate in a 24/7 continuous improvement manufacturing environment.

    I look forward to hearing ideas and proposed solutions to close the age and gender gap at this event and how to further myself as a leader in this environment. I also look forward to meeting all of you!

    Best of Wishes,

    Breanna Cornell
    Process Engineer

  • 11.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-16-2018 10:40

    Hi everyone!  My name is Robin Wiener and I am President of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, a trade association representing those companies that process, broker and consumer scrap metal, paper, plastics, glass, textiles, rubber and electronics.  I have been a member of NAM for almost 20 years and am also a past chair of the NAM Council of Manufacturing Associations.  I am thrilled to see NAM take an active role supporting women in manufacturing. At ISRI I have struggled to find the right mechanism for bringing more women forward and also getting them active within ISRI, their trade association and look forward to hearing suggestions and ideas for what I can do to better support women in my industry.  I have been with ISRI for 29 years and have rarely seen more than a handful of women at any event. 


    On a related note, I am an engineer with two daughters and am excited about activities that promote women in STEM. I look forward to meeting everyone and helping to build a very strong community for women in manufacturing!!







    Robin K Wiener

    President, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries 

    1250 H St., NW, Suite 400 | Washington, DC 20005| (202) 662-8512 ||

    ISRI2018_387 x 80




  • 12.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-16-2018 15:58
    ​My name is Mary Rich.  I work for Ingersoll Rand at the Club Car location as a Pricing and Configuration analyst.  I have worked in Manufacturing all of my adult career, starting out at International Truck and Engine (Navistar), EZGO and now Club Car.  I am currently co-chair of Events at Club Car for the WEN organization.  The two days spent in Davidson were very productive and gave me a new hint of excitement.  We recently had our General Body Meeting in conjunction with International Women's day and it was great to be able to share some information from the STEP event.

    Mary Rich
    Pricing and Product Analyst
    Ingersoll Rand

  • 13.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 10:42
    ​Hello Everyone,

    Nice to see all of you on here! I am Sherry Lee Plastics Plant Manager at Stanley Engineered Fastening a division of Stanley Black and Decker. Although most people associate Stanley Black and Decker with hand tools my division builds fasteners for the automotive world. We build plastic engineered fasteners 2.1 billion a year to be exact. We have 97 injection molding machines with 25 independent assembly stations. We ship our parts to all top OEMs and to tier 2 and 3 suppliers. I am looking forward to meeting all of you and having the chance to network. I have been in manufacturing since I was 18 years old and started on the shop floor. In the years I have worked my way up the chain while getting my bachelors degree in project management. I would say manufacturing is in my blood.

    Sherry Lee
    Plant Manager, Plastics Plant, Chesterfield, SEF
    Stanley Black and Decker

  • 14.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 12:15

    My name is Sarah and I am currently an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Colorado Mesa University. I studied materials science and engineering at Michigan State and went on to study metallurgical engineering at the Colorado School of Mines before getting hired at PCC Structurals (a division of Precision Castparts Corp.) in Portland, OR. I held several roles over the course of seven years (product engineer, part and dimensional engineer, and process control engineer) all related to the manufacturing of high-temperature nickel and titanium castings for jet engines and industrial gas turbines. I then moved from Oregon to Colorado and transitioned into the world of academia where I get to teach introductory design courses, materials science lectures and labs, engineering economics, and several manufacturing-related courses to undergraduate mechanical engineering students.

    One of the best parts of my current job is sharing my past experiences in manufacturing with my students. I try to impart on my students the knowledge I wish I had going into a manufacturing career that wasn't taught in school. I am the faculty advisor for our Society of Women Engineers student club and I am always looking for more opportunities to empower our female students in a male-dominated field. I look forward to getting to know you all, sharing experiences, and inspiring the next generation of manufacturers!

    Sarah Lanci
    Colorado Mesa University
    [email protected]

  • 15.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-10-2018 12:29
    I am a welding instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College. I am a journey level Sheet Metal Mechanic by trade. I am an AWS Certified Inspector and State of WI Inspector. I have a MS in Educational Technology. I have been in an NTO since 1979 - long before there were any laws on the books about discrimination or sexual harassment. I have found that humor and honesty are the best tools for working with all men.
    I became a teacher because as a small woman I had to find unique ways to do things and they benefit men too. My experience as a ballet dancer helped me to learn balance and body position for doing work. I spend a lot of time correcting how a student is standing or holding a welding gun to make their technique better.
    I am currently working on a plan to specifically recruit women into welding as I have not seen much growth in my 17 years of teaching.
    We do events for girl scouts, HS and middle school girls, but most women enter the trades later. I think self confidence is a factor.

    Sue Silverstein
    Welding Instructor, CWI

  • 16.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-11-2018 13:05
    Hi, I'm Deborah Diamond, the president of Campus Philly. We help college students find internships and jobs in Philadelphia so that they stay here after they graduate. Employers can post their internships and jobs for free with us and join us for our in person events with college students. More women are now majoring in STEM fields so I hope you'll check out our programs at 

    - Deborah Diamond, Ph.D.
    President, Campus Philly
    2 Penn Center, Suite 411
    Philadelphia, PA 19102 
    215.988.1707 x. 106 

  • 17.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 12:35
    Hi! I am Susan (Jania) Foley, CEO of Diamond Envelope Corporation, a direct marketing and custom envelope manufacturing company. I was honored with a STEP Ahead award in 2015. Diamond Envelope was started by my father in 1984 and I am proud to be brought up in a manufacturing environment since a very young age. I have performed almost every job in our company and currently leading the company with my brother AJ Jania, who is in charge of marketing and sales. I was the first family member to pursue further education with an MBA in order to grow the company strategically and for the future. I have lead initiatives in our operation to encourage women stepping into supervisory and engineering roles in a very male dominated envelope & print industry. In our industry an "adjuster" position is usually held by a male, and performs the machine set-up, maintenance and tooling on heavy industrial equipment. 10 years ago and still throughout the industry this is a male dominated position. I have pushed the women in our operation to strive to become adjuster trainees and we now have 4 women adjusters (out of a total of 19) who are performing exceptionally well.

    A passion very close to my heart is engaging young women, from grammar school to high school, along with young men, into the viable career options in Manufacturing. About 2/3 of high school seniors are career ready and not college bound. We are trying to recruit that young generation, looking to work and grow with a manufacturing company for the future.

    We are in the process of filing for WBENC with my mother taking a step back into the business from my father passing in 2016 and with myself being selected to run the business by our family advisory board.

    Looking forward to connecting to so many great women in the manufacturing field.

    Susan Foley
    Diamond Envelope Corporation
    2270 White Oak Circle
    Aurora, IL 60502

  • 18.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 13:17

    Hi Everyone.

    My name is Seema Pajula, and I am the Vice Chairman and U.S. Consumer & Industrial Products Industry Leader at Deloitte, a board member of the National Association of Manufacturers, and I am proudly serving as the Manufacturing Institute's 2018 STEP Ahead Vice Chair. I am thrilled to be working with great leaders like Jay Timmons, President and CEO of The NAM, and Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of The Institute. Most importantly, I am excited to be working with each of you to champion the development, advancement and leadership of women in manufacturing.

    This is such an exciting time. We are witnessing a fundamental transformation in how innovation and technology are changing the landscape of manufacturing. More than ever, it is vitally important that we work together to help women embrace the multitude of opportunities brought about by these new changes, to ensure we are employing and retaining the very best and brightest talent in our industry.

    This is a time to share our passion with others, to boldly reach out and share our vision for the future of our industry. This is the time to create a legacy, to be leaders and mentors for women everywhere, and harness their potential to achieve the extraordinary.

    I'd like to congratulate the 100 Honorees and 30 Emerging Leaders who will be recognized as STEP Ahead award winners at the upcoming STEP Ahead leadership event and awards gala on April 10. I look forward to seeing many of you there!

    When we come together in the manufacturing community to leverage the STEP Ahead women in manufacturing initiative, we can accomplish great things. In fact, STEP Honorees are ambassadors - 672 have been recognized over the past 5 years and this community of ambassadors has impacted over 300,000, from peers in the industry to school-age children.

    Again, I am honored to serve as Vice Chair of STEP Ahead and look forward to continuing the dialogue about this important initiative.

    Seema Pajula

    Seema Pajula
    Vice Chairman
    Deloitte LLP and U.S. Consumer & Industrial Products

  • 19.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-09-2018 15:02
    ​Hello Everyone!
            My name is Kelli Gilliam. I am a wife and mother of 5. I work full time at HII-Newport News Shipbuilding as a Production Welding Foreman/Craft Instructor. I am excited to be connected to a group that is enthusiastic about women in manufacturing. I don't have anything fancy to say. I just want to help other women and men see the potential they have and the strengths/differences they can offer to the company. When everyone sees the strength in themselves and realizes the value it adds to the company and those around them, awesome results are achieved. I have seen this with my own experiences in several areas now.

           I am also part of a group that is looking to recruit more women and veterans for The Apprentice School that we have here at the yard. I work for the Apprentice School as a Welding Craft Instructor that teaches Leadership, Scholarship, and Craftsmanship to the apprentices so after four years they can be ready to become the future leaders of this company.

         I look forward to building relationships in this group and I hope that every is having a wonderful week!

    Kelli Gilliam
    Welding Foremen/Craft Instructor
    HII-Newport News Shipbuilding
    Newport News, VA

  • 20.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-10-2018 15:11

    My name is Carol Lunn and I am the Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development at the University of New Orleans (UNO). The National Center for Advanced Manufacturing (NCAM), located at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, is home to the partnership between NASA, the State of Louisiana, Louisiana State University, and UNO.

    NCAM, originally formed in 1999, is a state of the art research and production center focused on applying advanced manufacturing technologies to lightweight composite and metallic materials in support of the NASA space program and adjacent industries. NCAM also has a strong educational role, sponsoring a coalition of Louisiana research universities, workforce development programs and STEM outreach initiatives.

    Carol Lunn
    University of New Orleans

  • 21.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-18-2018 14:03
    ​Hello Everyone!

    My name is Leslie Petrie and I have worked in manufacturing for almost 30 years.  I knew I wanted to be an engineer after attending a Women in Engineering summer camp at MIT between my sophomore and junior years in high school!  I am very thankful to the women that participated in that event and made me realize the path I could have in engineering.

    I work for International Paper as a Regional General Manager for our box plants in Michigan, Indiana, and Kentucky.  I have been blessed to have had many roles in our company starting as a process engineer in the Utilities area of a large integrated paper mill in South Carolina.  My career has allowed me to lead large capital projects, act as plant manager at two of our 100% recycle facilities, lead strategic and cost reduction projects for one of our businesses, facilitate execution of safety performance standards globally and now have manufacturing and commercial responsibility for one of our container regions.

    I feel very blessed to be part of a company that encourages stretch assignments and is very active in encouraging diversity and inclusion  to ensure we are creating the environment where we can benefit for diverse perspectives and experiences.   We have a very dynamic process for recruiting and onboarding our new engineers and I welcome the chance to influence new engineers coming into our company.   I have always enjoyed the manufacturing environment.  It is very exciting to be part of manufacturing products that people depend on every day in a manner that is rewarding for all involved.

    I look forward to spending time with all of you and gaining additional ideas for engaging our young engineers and helping to give them the tools they need for success!

    Best Regards,


    Leslie Petrie
    Regional General Manager - Kentucky/Indiana/Michigan
    International Paper


  • 22.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-19-2018 10:49
    Hello!  I'm thrilled to be a part of this group.  As an association executive, I've had the honor to work with so many dynamic manufacturing professionals.  So many of the mentors I've worked with have been honored through NAM's STEP awards.  I look forward to hearing about the successes women in manufacturing are experiencing and how we, as a community, can support and build on the issues impacting the manufacturing workforce.

    I've been working with manufacturers for over 10 years and have enjoyed watching women embrace these roles and watching their male counterparts support them in their efforts.

    Looking forward to the connections that come from this community.

    Cindy Tomei
    VP Membership & Marketing
    Illinois Manufacturers' Association (IMA)

  • 23.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 03-31-2018 13:15
    ​Hi Everyone!

    My name is Carmen Mendez. ​I am a Principal Chemist and currently I'm under a special assignment executing as Production Supervisor in Boston Scientific, Puerto Rico site. Boston Scientific is a company dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. I have been working at Boston Scientific for the last 6.5 years and I have 16 years of experience between the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices industries. Working at healthcare industries has been my passion for the last 16 years where I  had the opportunity of working as Scientist and leading different teams. I like working in a manufacturing environment because it provides me the opportunity to touch people's life and improve their quality of life by manufacturing healthcare products with the latest technologies.
    As a leader in the manufacturing industry one of my objectives is to help our teams by motivating, influencing, and acting as an agent of change. For the last two years I have been the HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement) ERG Lead for Puerto Rico site. As part of leading the HOLA ERG I have the opportunity to support our Hispanic people by providing networking, developmental and leadership opportunities for their personal and professional growth, while also contributing to the culture and growth of the organization by celebrating the Hispanic heritage. As result of leading different teams and organizations I had the opportunity of helping other women advancing in the manufacturing workforce. Manufacturing is my passion, I love leading teams and helping others to be successful!

    Carmen Mendez
    Principal Chemist / Production Supervisor
    Boston Scientific

  • 24.  RE: Introduce Yourself Here!

    Posted 04-03-2018 21:13
    ​Hello Everyone!  My name is Dana Komin and I filled with excitement to have the opportunity to try and meet each and every one of you next week.  As I read through each of your posts, I have become even more proud of the way that strong, intelligent women are making a difference in our industry, in the workplace, and most importantly in the lives of others.  I attended a small all-girl catholic high school and two weeks after graduation found myself sitting in a 5:15am meeting in the Body Shop of an General Motors assembly plant. I had no idea what the next 30 years would hold.  I am so blessed by all the experiences I have had and the incredible people I have met along the way.  And yes...if you would have asked me at the time...I am not sure I would have seen some of those opportunities as blessings.  Fantastic things can happen with an open & learning mind, with embracing the uncomfortable and sometimes with  a little nudge.  I am currently the Global Manufacturing Chief Engineer for Advanced Vehicle Development at GM. I try every day to apply my experiences to our future, to the future of my team & colleagues, and to go home every day with a new piece of knowledge or perspective.  How blessed I am to be able to do what I love. Let's all take advantage of the opportunity we have next week - and reach out to each other as much as possible.

    Ms. Dana M Komin
    Global Manufacturing Chief Engineer-
    Advanced Vehicle Development
    General Motors Global Manufacturing Engineering
    GM Technical Center, Warren MI USA