STEP Women’s Initiative Honors Two BASF Manufacturing Leaders

Oct. 6, 2020
Two BASF leaders in manufacturing are among 130 women recognized nationally through The Manufacturing Institute’s eighth annual STEP Ahead Awards.

Two BASF leaders in manufacturing are among 130 women recognized nationally through The Manufacturing Institute’s eighth annual STEP Ahead Awards. Jody Piel, shift supervisor at BASF’s facility in Freeport, Texas receives the STEP Ahead Honoree award and Amanda Hodges, process engineer at BASF’s facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee receives the STEP Ahead Emerging Leader award.

Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the awards program recognizes women who exemplify leadership within their companies. This national honor identifies top talent in the manufacturing industry, and further encourages award winners to mentor and support the next generation to pursue manufacturing careers.

The recognitions are part of the STEP Women’s initiative, the goal of which is to shrink the gender gap in manufacturing and increase innovation. This is accomplished by identifying and elevating the role models who can inspire the next generation, as well as through building networks and developing skills for women in the industry.

“The 2020 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leader Awards reinforce the exciting opportunities available in manufacturing and help inspire more women to pursue these careers,” says Erika Peterman, BASF’s senior vice president – chemical intermediates and 2020 STEP Ahead Awards chair. “A natural evolution of the manufacturing workforce is taking place as more women enter into leadership roles, bringing innovative ideas and transforming how we work and increase productivity.”

Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Female employees totaled 47% of the U.S. labor force in 2018, but only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Women’s initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.

“STEP Women’s Initiative is a grassroots movement of manufacturers dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing manufacturers today. The biggest challenge continues to be the growing workforce crisis,” says Carolyn Lee, executive director of the Manufacturing Institute. “Through a collective effort, the STEP Ahead Awards are dedicated to fostering a 21st century manufacturing workforce that gives women the recognition and support they deserve. By honoring current and existing leaders, we are building and elevating the role models that can inspire the next generation – and we are building the networks for women to have support in their industry and do even more.”

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