The Manufacturing Institute presented its coveted Women in Manufacturing STEP Award to two of Cascade Engineering’s female leaders; Jo-Anne Perkins receiving the STEP Ahead Award and Caitlin Townsend Lamb receiving the first STEP Ahead Emerging Leader Award. STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) 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.
“We were honored to have Jo-Anne and Caitlin represent Cascade Engineering at the STEP Awards event,” said Mark Miller, President and CEO of Cascade Engineering. “Both women have exhibited a tremendous track record of performance and collaboration in helping Cascade continue its mission of encouraging sustainability, diversity, and triple bottom line results.”
The STEP Awards are part of a larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry focused on the attraction, development, advancement, and retention of high potential female talent. Wrapping up Women’s History Month on a celebratory note, The Manufacturing Institute recognized a total of 130 women honorees from across the country during this year’s award reception late March in Washington, D.C.
“These women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” said Jennifer McNelly, president of The Manufacturing Institute. “We chose to honor these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole.”
Both award recipients exemplify Cascade’s Equal Opportunity culture and brand of inclusion, encouraging employees to know they are respected and valued within the Cascade Family of Companies. As Vice President and General Manager of the company’s Cascade Cart Solutions business, Perkins has initiated impactful projects including an internal Women’s Networking Group and The Pink Cart program for breast cancer awareness. In her role as Senior Manager of Cascade’s Enterprise System, Townsend Lamb leads all lean activities driving continuous improvement throughout the entire Cascade Engineering corporation, core to the entire business’ operating philosophy, while also serving as a member of Cascade’s Diversity Coordinating Council and Young Professionals of Color Conference.
A recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that 80 percent of U.S. manufacturing companies report a moderate to severe shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. Currently, women represent 51 percent of the total potential workforce, but only 25 percent are in manufacturing.
STEP Ahead is designed to help improve the retention of existing female talent and highlight role models that can help raise awareness about careers for women in manufacturing.