Reprinted from The Omaha World Herald  – Date: 03/15/2017

The Manufacturing Institute announced they will award Michele Broekemeier, Behlen Mfg. Co. 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.

Broekemeier indicated why she is passionate about manufacturing, “I enjoy and am inspired by the fast-paced environment of manufacturing because every day brings new challenges and opportunities. It is exciting working with teams that are striving to improve the processes for positive change. I am passionate about helping to provide the tools needed to make our customers and employees better off.”

Phil Raimondo, CEO, Behlen Mfg. Co. shared, “For 20 years, Michele has focused on continuous improvement while leading efforts to accurately manage inventory to world class standards. Her expertise in ERP is a great resource for all of our Partners in Progress (employees) as we strive to get better every day.”

“These women exemplify the path an exciting career in manufacturing can take,” said Heidi Alderman, 2017 Chair of STEP Ahead and Senior Vice President of Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation. “STEP Ahead recognizes women nationwide for their significant achievements to the field of manufacturing, and the positive impact on their companies and the industry as a whole.”

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.

A recent survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that six out of ten open skilled production positions are unfilled due to the talent shortage. Closing the skills gap means closing the gender gap.

On April 20, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

Over the past five years, the STEP Ahead award has honored four other Behlen employees-Heather Macholan, Jennifer Miller, Autumn Longwell, and Tara Obrist.

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