Local Woman Honored for first Manufacturing STEP Awards

February 5, 2013, MACHESNEY PARK, IL -– Teresa Beach-Shelow, owner and president of Superior Joining Technologies, Inc. of Machesney Park, is a recipient of the first Women in Manufacturing STEP Awards (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production).

The Manufacturing Institute, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, University of Phoenix, and Deloitte today announced the 122 recipients of the first Women in Manufacturing STEP Awards at its first Annual STEP Awards Program in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center. The inaugural STEP 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 corporate suite. There were nine award winners from Illinois.

“These 122 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” said Jennifer McNelly, president, 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.” The STEP Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and best practices for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent.

Despite her many recognitions as a co-founder and board member of numerous manufacturing organizations, as well as 20 successful years of supplying the aerospace industry, Teresa is proudest of her volunteer work with young people and displaced workers as she encourages them to choose manufacturing as a career. As co-founder of Women of Today’s Manufacturing, a northern Illinois-southern Wisconsin group, Teresa created Manufacturing Camp, a one-week camp for teens, as well as camp scholarships. Her effort reached more than 100 regional students.

It grew into a nationwide project with nearly a dozen camps every summer when the Foundation of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association brought the effort under its wings. Now called “Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs,” it has influenced nearly 4,000 youths in 27 states. Nutsandboltsfoundation.org.

One young camper said, “I realized that I am doing something that not every young woman gets to do. I could see myself as a welder and making a good living.” Another said he “liked the ability to see firsthand how products are made from raw materials to the final products.”

Teresa’s work with displaced workers is equally as heartening. She is frequently asked to speak about women in manufacturing, public-private partnerships, workforce attraction and entrepreneurship.

A recent survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that nearly 70 percent of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers. Manufacturing companies cannot fill as many as 600,000 skilled positions, even as unemployment numbers hover at historically high levels. “As the nation emerges from the recession, we know that manufacturing is critical to our economy, and critical to the success of each manufacturer is a high-quality workforce,” said Mark C. Tomlinson, executive director/CEO of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. “By telling the stories of real women in manufacturing, we not only will celebrate great careers, but also make a profound public statement about the significance of manufacturing.”

Superior Joining Technologies, Inc. is a precision-welding laboratory that provides micro-welding, laser welding, tig welding, tool and die repair, fixturing and fabrication services to customers in the aerospace and metalworking industries, nationally and globally. 2012 sales were $2.5 million. In 2009 Superior Joining purchased a $1 million laser/welding machine that is the only six-axis laser-cutting and welding center in the Rockford area. The unit can make faster deliveries on parts that had previously been subcontracted out of the area. The company was founded in 1992 and is located in Machesney Park, Illinois. For more information, go to the web site:  www.superiorjt.com