7th Annual Step Ahead Awards Recognize Women for Excellence in Manufacturing
On April 11, 2019 the Manufacturing Institute presented Jean Bye with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C suite.
“Jean’s passion for lean manufacturing combined with employee involvement has transformed our foundry into a world class agile and process driven company. Her ability to see future road bumps has allowed us to navigate the economic challenges while continually investing for future opportunities. She is a true leader in our industry.” Says Denny Dotson, Chairman of the Board at Dotson Iron Castings.
“Jean Bye has provided exemplary leadership as both the President/CEO of Dotson Iron Castings and as 2018-2019 President of the American Foundry Society (AFS). She has also served as an inspirational role model for hundreds of women in the metalcasting industry throughout North America. AFS congratulates Jean on her selection as a STEP Ahead Award recipient.” Says Doug Kurkel, CEO of the American Foundry Society.
“Providing more opportunities for women in manufacturing is more than just the right thing to do. At a time when manufacturers face a workforce crisis, and with women still constituting less than a third of manufacturing workers, it’s clearly critical to the future of our industry and the economy,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead awards—which provide today’s female leaders in manufacturing the recognition they deserve while simultaneously elevating role models that can inspire future generations to join them—are an important element of our commitment to helping foster a 21st century manufacturing workforce by developing current leaders and engaging future ones.”
STEP Ahead Initiative
The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals—from peers in the industry to school-aged children.
Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Ahead 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.