news-tolhurstThe Manufacturing Institute has announced it will honor our Manufacturing Materials Director Amanda Tolhurst with the 2017 “Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award”. The STEP — Science, Technology, Engineering and Production — Ahead awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers, and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry. Amanda is one of 130 women who will be honored at an awards dinner gala on April 20 in Washington, D.C.

“This is a wonderful honor for Amanda and we’re proud her accomplishments are recognized in this way,” said Jim Keppler, vice president, Integrated Supply Chain and Quality. “She is a strong leader who achieves differentiated results through her collaborative style and solid team-building. Her role requires that she work across multiple teams and organizations, which can be difficult, but, she seamlessly navigates that challenge to consistently deliver successful outcomes.”

As part of The Manufacturing Institute’s broader STEP Ahead initiative, which was initiated in 2012, the awards 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 the short time I’ve worked with Amanda, her understanding of manufacturing is obvious,” said Byron Green, vice president, Manufacturing, NAR. “She has a passion for  excellence, and works to deliver that in everything she does. Amanda is a role model for other women in manufacturing, and has been a true asset to our team.”

A survey conducted by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte found that 80 percent of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers. Contributing to this gap is the under representation of women in the industry. While women make up approximately 50 percent of the labor force, that number is only about 25 percent in the manufacturing labor force.

“The women we’re honoring this year represent the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” said Heidi Alderman, senior vice president of Intermediates North America, BASF Corporation. “As the STEP Ahead Chair, I am thrilled that we are recognizing women across the U.S. for their significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole.”

Alderman said honorees are nominated by their peers, company officials, or professional    service firms. Nominators are asked to articulate how the nominee achieved significant outcomes in manufacturing through their positive impact on a company and the manufacturing industry, including increased revenues, reduced costs, improved productivity, increased customer satisfaction, development of talent and higher levels of engagement.

Amanda will be transitioning to a new role in the Logistics organization, where she will lead U.S. Distribution Operations. Part of that role will keep her connected to manufacturing through oversight of the company’s factory distribution centers.

She joins Jenni Hanna, plant leader, Ottawa Operations, and Mae Zyjewski, senior director, Advanced Manufacturing, as Whirlpool Corporation STEP Ahead Award winners for 2016 and 2015, respectively.

The Manufacturing Institute is the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers. For more information, please visit: