ADDEV Materials

Interview with Nancy IHRIG: Head of the Pittsburgh site

Name : Nancy Ihrig

Function Manager of the Pittsburgh site

Seniority, responsibilities and experience at ADDEV Materials (and Walco before that) I've been with the company for over 18 years. I started as a quality inspector. I was promoted to Deputy Quality Manager and then Quality Manager in a short space of time. These positions enabled me to acquire a wealth of knowledge about production in the manufacturing and processing sectors. I was then promoted to Production Manager. In this position, I gained in-depth knowledge of the day-to-day challenges involved in manufacturing quality products. Today, I have accepted the position of Site Manager and the best is yet to come.

What studies have you done and why? I attended CCAC, a local community college. I did general studies with an emphasis on maths. I also attended Edinboro University, where I studied elementary education and special education.

The industrial sector is considered to be a male-dominated field. In this context, how did your integration go? Sometimes it's a challenge. During my career, I've often seen visitors walk past me and head for the nearest man in the room. They thought it was the man in charge, but they were sent in my direction. I believe that with the arrival of women in more senior positions, this perception is changing for the better.

What are the strengths and difficulties you have encountered in your career? I'm a people person. I've always enjoyed good relations with my colleagues. I take the time to get to know each of them. Creating solid teams is one of my strengths. I've never really thought about the difficulties, because I'm the kind of person who sees the glass as half full.

In your opinion and based on your own experience, have things changed for women in recent years and what difficulties remain (studies and companies)? In my opinion, the world is changing for the better. There are many support groups for businesswomen that didn't exist ten years ago. Don't be afraid to reach out.

What advice would you give to women who want to work in a profession like yours, but also to employers who are looking for industrial profiles? My advice to women is that you can do whatever you want. Learn as much as you can. I think experience is as important as education. Don't be afraid to take risks. Break down the barriers that women face in the workplace. For employees, seize the opportunity. Women have fantastic multitasking skills. Misperceptions about the manufacturing industry have had an impact on women's desire to join its ranks. There is a gender bias that excludes women from key positions such as production supervisors or operations managers. These are relevant positions for climbing the industry ladder.