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Women in Manufacturing

Listening to the news and financial reports this, I heard that major corporations are making a concerted effort to fill technical positions with women, setting goals of 50% or more by 2021. I applaud these efforts.

Back in the days before there was dirt (if you believe my children) when I was in school, girls were ridiculed for being smart, and to excel in math and science? Let’s just say that other kids didn’t rush to befriend you! We were geeks and nerds. (Fortunately I have a delightfully warped sense of humor that almost balanced the nerdiness so I did manage to cultivate a few friends!)

In my early days with Centryco, in an effort to learn more about our business, I accompanied two male colleagues to visit some customers. It was so interesting and exciting! (I still find visiting customers to be the best part of my job.) Aside from the fascination with finding out what other companies do – and how we play a part in their “doing” – I remember all too clearly that conversations and explanations were conducted almost exclusively with my colleagues.

This was MANY years ago so I was young, inexperienced, probably naïve – and a rarity in a man’s world. But I was also educated, intelligent, curious and enthusiastic. I quickly learned to speak up, to ask questions, to absorb as much as I could from the experts: the customers.

In the years since then, the number of women in all technical fields has grown but we’re still a minority. Two years ago we had the privilege of participating in a Women in Manufacturing conference. It was educational and inspiring to see so many women of all ages succeeding in traditionally male professions.

We left the conference with a renewed determination to take an active role in encouraging young people of both genders to explore manufacturing. We enthusiastically work with our local schools – from middle school through the collegiate levels – to help shape curriculum selection, to explain what manufacturing does, to give concrete examples of how we “make” the world a better place. Hopefully, we’re influencing another generation of engineers, technicians, and machinists to shape us up!

– Mary Gordon, President

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