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Episode 39

Women in Manufacturing

This week, we’ll discuss the unique challenges of being a woman in manufacturing, and how to bring more women into the industry and pave the way for a more diverse future.

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Guests

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Nikki Long

Structural Business Unit Director, OMG, Inc.

Nikki Long is currently the Structural Business Unit Director for OMG, Inc (a Steel Partners Company) and has been with OMG’s FastenMaster Division for 19 years. She is a dynamic executive leader with a proven track record of sales and marketing success in the building materials industry. She excels in team development, strategic business planning, and collaborating with internal departments to launch successful products and programs across retail, wholesale, and private label channels.

Nikki possesses a continuous improvement mindset and has extensive experience in establishing repeatable business processes to drive organizational change, new revenue streams and profitability.

Nikki holds a BA in English and History from Smith College. She is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, U.S. Vets, and an active member of the ACLU. She was most recently recognized by HBS Dealer as a Top Woman in the Hardware and Building Supply Industry and was named to the Business Excellence Class of 2021.

OMG/FastenMaster is a US-based, manufacture of construction fasteners located in Agawam, MA. FastenMaster is a premium brand and category creator of structural wood-to-wood screws and hidden fastening systems for the remodel and new construction markets.
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Kathy Miller

Author and Founder, yk2020, LLC

Kathy Miller is Co-Founder of OPSisters and is a recognized senior business executive with a proven track record in developing and leading operations that deliver results.  She has led successful business transformations in multiple industries including aerospace and automotive.  Her experience comprises leadership of operations $3B+, P&L responsibility, and corporate ownership of various business functions: lean enterprise, quality, strategy deployment, and industrial design.  She has a passion for developing organizational cultures that get results based on inclusivity, trust, accountability, and continuous improvement.  She coaches executive leaders and high potential manufacturing employees and advises businesses endeavoring to develop their teams in attainment of new levels of performance.   She has spoken at multiple professional and senior leadership conferences. Kathy has been recognized for her professional achievements by being inducted into the Women in Manufacturing Hall of Fame in 2021.
Kathy was most recently the Global Vice President of Vertiv Operating System, responsible for development and global implementation of the newly created operating system.  Prior to that, she served as Global Director of Manufacturing, Assembly and Test for Rolls-Royce Defense, delivering world-class aerospace engines and naval components to various military customers world-wide.  There, she successfully led a $400m transformation of the US plants, including the implementation of modern manufacturing technologies.  Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Kathy worked for Parker Hannifin, where she was General Manager of the Engineered Seals Division.  She led the division through a comprehensive business transformation to record sales and significant improvements in productivity, safety, quality, and profitability levels.  Prior to that role, Kathy was Vice President – Lean Enterprise & Quality for Parker Hannifin Corporation, with operations in 48 countries and more than 300 manufacturing plants.  She had responsibility for the development and implementation of Parker’s operating systems, including lean and quality and the strategy deployment process.  Prior to joining Parker, Kathy was an Operations Manager at Delphi Delco Electronics.  In 2003/2004 her manufacturing operations were the recipient of a Shingo Prize for the business results of a successful lean transformation.  She has endorsed and been acknowledged in lean books including Developing a Lean Workforce, Lean Supplier Development, both by Chris and Rick Harris, and Design for Operational Excellence by Kevin Duggan.  Her previous experiences include progressive assignments in Engineering, Marketing, and Operations.
Kathy most recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology.  Her thesis:  Welcome to the Efficacious Factory:  Improving Business Results Through Positive Workplace Relationships, Meaningful Work, and Optimism supplements her experience and informs her coaching, consulting, and speaking engagements.  Kathy’s prior public speaking experience includes conferences for Industry Week, Women in Manufacturing, and the International Positive Psychology Association. She has co-authored a book:  Steel Toes and Stilettos:  A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success, (with S. Karels), published December 2021 by Routledge of Taylor & Francis Group.  Kathy has written for or been featured in numerous manufacturing trade publications including Automation.com, Industrial Process Products & Technology, Industry Equipment News, Industry Today, Battery Technology, EMS Now (Electronic Manufacturing Services), Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, Shop Metalworking Technology, Smart Industry, and Quality Digest.
Kathy also has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial & Systems Engineering from Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute) and an MBA from Ball State University.  She is a Graduate of Coach U, with pending ACC certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF).
Kathy is on numerous boards, including Damar (Vice Chair), Conexus, and Sons of the Flag.  She is also a member of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce New Membership Committee.  Previous board experience includes: Bona Vista (Chair), Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, Syracuse Chamber of Commerce, Ball State MBA Advisory Board and the AME Manufacturing Excellence Award Committee.
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Brittany Raisor

Global Director of Manufacturing Quality, Beam Suntory

I grew up in Frankfort, KY and took a non-traditional path out of high school. I have worked in the Food Manufacturing industry my entire career and discovered a passion for Food Safety and Quality early on. I went to college while working full time, earning an Associate degree in Natural Sciences and then a B.S. in Food Science from Kansas State University. I worked for the J.M. Smucker Company as Plant Sanitarian at in Lexington, KY for several years before coming to Beam in 2014. Since then I have spent time in both Production and Quality on different shifts. Our Frankfort facility produces more than 14 million cases of spirits products annually including brands like Jim Beam, Cruzan Rum, Pinnacle Vodka, and On the Rocks. I am very involved with Diversity and Inclusion initiatives within Beam Suntory as well as within my local community.

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