Two managers at hardmetal specialist Kennametal Inc, Binky Sargent and Lena Siegel, have received honors at the fifth annual Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards presented by the Manufacturing Institute in the US.

The STEP Ahead Awards recognize women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry. The awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead Initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership for attracting, advancing and retaining strong female talent.

‘We are extremely proud at Kennametal to see two of our strong female leaders recognized at this year's STEP Ahead Awards,’ said Kennametal president and CEO Ron De Feo. ‘These women are not only making an impact at Kennametal, but in the industry as a whole, as they continue to mentor and promote other women in manufacturing roles.’

Local champions

Sargent is the manager of Kennametal's material analysis team located in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Sargent joined Kennametal in 1997 where she began her career as an engineer in the company's carbide process development group, and has since held various roles of increasing responsibility. She is an active mentor for STEM programs, certified Six Sigma coach and is a champion for the company's local high school manufacturing outreach programs including Kennametal's Young Engineers program as well as the Carnegie Science Center's Tour Your Future program.

Siegel, honored with a STEP Ahead Emerging Leader Award, a category for women in manufacturing who are under the age of 30, began her career at Kennametal as an industrial engineering apprentice at the company's Nabburg, Germany facility. Today she serves as the Lean coordinator at the Nabburg facility focusing on Lean business practices and process improvements. Siegel is a youth representative for Kennametal's Germany manufacturing plants, serves as a Green Belt mentor and teaches fellow team members Lean principles.

Sargent and Siegel join four other women from Kennametal, Helen Patricia, Colleen Cordova, Martina Igel and Cheryl Bush, who have received STEP Awards in recent years. 

This story uses material from Kennametal, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.