Celebrating Women in Manufacturing
Women in Manufacturing!
Today more and more women work in manufacturing from top positions such as Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, a nearly 10 billion dollar corporation to women working in every aspect of manufacturing.
In celebration of “International Women’s Day” we thought it was appropriate to celebrate the month of March our “Women in manufacturing” right here at PTM Corporation and Modified Technologies. Donna, Nika, Gina and Danni, the four Russell sisters, and business partners grew up in the shop. Charlie & Shirley Russell, the founders of PTM Corporation showed them the importance of work at an early age. PTM & MTI are certified women owned companies.
Manufacturing has a reputation of being a dirty job and mainly for men, for the Russell women as well as the other women around PTM & MTI, it’s a way of everyday life! We would like to introduce a few women that make this organization what it is.
Renee has been a lifelong resident of St. Clair County. She learned the importance of creating things when she helped her mother re-upholster furniture through high school as a way to make extra money. After high school Renee went to work for an automotive dealer where she worked in accounts receivable. Renee started as a receptionist at PTM in 1998 and has now been with the companies for nearly 20 years. She has worked in many areas of PTM & MTI throughout her career, but the latest role, as the Director of Accounting, has been her proudest professional achievement. Renee has participated in PTM’s tuition reimbursement program and earned her Bachelors in Accountancy and her CPA.
Renee says, “She loves the people she works with.” Renee didn’t always want to be in manufacturing, as a child she thought about becoming a bus driver or an Olympian. College was never a thought after high school; she just started working and let life happen. After years of working and putting deep roots at PTM she decided to go to college and get her degree. Renee is passionate about her role at the organizations and in fact when asked where she sees herself within the organization in the next five years, she replied “to revolutionize the accounting department to be streamlined and synchronized with manufacturing.”
Renee introduced her daughter to manufacturing back in 1998 when she brought her then eleven year old daughter to PTM for “bring your child to work day.” Renee recalled Ami asking a lot of questions and being interested in how everything was made. When asked what would you tell young women that are thinking about manufacturing as a career path? “GO FOR IT,” said Renee.
When Renee isn’t working she enjoys being a mother & grandmother, running marathons, boating in Lake St. Clair, and remodeling her house. Learn more about Renee’s daughter, Ami next.
Ami grew up in St. Clair County, like most little girls with big dreams as a child and wanted to become an actress or a veterinarian growing up. She was a big sports enthusiast as a young girl. After High school she started working at MTI sorting and checking parts in quality and as a receptionist when needed. Ami was a bit of a gypsy moving around for a few years but settled back in Michigan and decided she would give college a try. She attended Western but had no clue what she really wanted to do but decided on a business degree knowing that degree would offer more opportunity. She graduated with a Bachelor in Business from Walsh and found herself back at PTM, where she calls home!
Ami happens to be the daughter of longtime associate, Renee. Ami got the manufacturing bug at just 9 years old when she attended the PTM “bring your child to work day” back in 1998 with her mother. “She asked more questions than most of our customers do”, said Donna Russell-Kuhr, President of PTM & MTI. I asked Ami if she remembers those events and what stood out to her and she said, “She was amazed at how things were made and she liked the metal gifts that PTM would hand out.” She also realized how many opportunities that there were for manufacturing. Ami has a daughter now and says she would be proud for Oaklei, her 2 year old daughter to work in manufacturing and can’t wait to bring her to PTM’s “bring your child to work day” in the future. “I want to see her interact and learn the manufacturing process like I did at such a young age,” said Ami.
Ami believes that PTM has shaped her career with different roles with her most recent, as Project Manager. She said “work isn’t work when you love what you do.” I love the people, the team that I work with, the culture, and the family and faith based environment at PTM.
In the next five years Ami said she is looking forward to growing her family as well as continue learning more about her current role at PTM. She’s excited about her future at PTM & MTI and hopes to one day follow in her mother’s footsteps and be in a leadership role. She loves being a “woman in manufacturing” because of the many opportunities. Ami said, “Many girls have the misconception that manufacturing is dirty and mostly for men. Manufacturing is creating, using your brain to problem solve, engineering, innovative, and a way to create something better and more cost effective and more environmentally friendly.
Toni grew up in Columbus Michigan but at 19 moved to New Baltimore. Toni wanted to be a clothing designer growing up but had a child at an early age. Toni baby sat and made pizza at a local pizzeria to make ends meet. After high school she worked at Pro Weld in Port Huron with her dad where she worked with metal and got the manufacturing buzz. Toni decided to attend St. Clair Community College for Criminal Justice but changed her major to Business Administration. Although Toni didn’t complete her degree she has plans to go back to college after her three year Fourslide apprenticeship program at PTM is completed.
Toni has been at PTM since 2005 working in various departments but most recently, Fourslide Technician. Toni is in her second year of a Fourslide technician apprenticeship program. She sets up the Fourslide and runs multiple machines at a time. Toni has a vast knowledge and understands the parts that PTM & MTI manufacture. Toni said, “PTM’s parts were a lot different from the metal parts that she was used to working with at her previous job.” She recalls being nervous when she came in for the interview but quickly caught on after she was hired. Toni has always been the type of person to be fully committed and she enjoys the ever changing atmosphere of the Fourslide department, she never has time to get bored. Toni says that she has learned a great deal at PTM and feels she has grown up there. She learned integrity with PTM & MTI’s Corporate Code of Honor and is impressed by the people and the culture at PTM.
Although Toni likes to work on and set up the Fourslide machines everyday she enjoys getting dressed up after work and spending time with her friends and family. She sells jewelry part time to earn some extra cash and to get free jewelry. Toni enjoys being a “girly-girl” but likes to do things that people don’t expect a woman in manufacturing to do.
Toni hopes to eventually end up working in the office but wants to learn all that she can with PTM & MTI. She does want to complete her degree and hopes to retire at PTM. Her goal is to encourage young women to get into manufacturing and let them know to… “Never give up!” “You can do anything anyone else can do you just have to believe in yourself.” Toni thinks there are a lot of different opportunities for young women in manufacturing. “If you are a good worker people will want you to be a part of their team!”
Courtesy: Jeffrey Smith / Times Herald
We CAN Do It!
You have been introduced to just three of the 40 plus women working with PTM & MTI. It’s our goal to be supporters, leaders and mentors to girls and women thinking of getting into manufacturing as a career.
PTM and Modified Technologies are 3rd generation family owned and operated, suppling metal products and engineering solutions to its customer base. PTM is a global supplier of prototype and production stamped and assembled metal products. Modified is a leader in production tooling serving PTM and an array of diversified customer’s! We are continually growing and striving for excellence in ways to better serve our customers and excited about our future.
Artwork by: Howard J. Miller circa 1942