The STEP Ahead Awards Winners Show Their Excellence


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With nominations now open for the 2021 STEP Ahead Awards, it’s a perfect time to revisit the impressive stories about STEP winners that we’ve covered this year. 

A brief recap: The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Awards are designed to honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and production (STEP) careers. The awards are part of the STEP Women’s Initiative, which aims to shrink the gender gap in manufacturing, build women’s leadership skills and elevate extraordinary women to serve as role models for current manufacturers and the workforce of the future.  

The nominations process: If you have a peer or colleague who deserves recognition for her leadership, you can submit a nomination any time before October 2. Check out this handy nominations guide for more information.    

Since the awards began in 2012, The Manufacturing Institute has honored more than 1,000 extraordinary women across the manufacturing industry. Here some of their stories:  

  • Behlen General Manager for Customer Fabrication Heather Macholan (a 2013 STEP honoree) is working with school labs to 3-D print protective gear. 
  • AAON Community Relations Administrator Stephanie Cameron (a 2015 STEP honoree) is working with her company to clean medical facilities’ air during COVID-19. 
  • LAMATEK Vice President Laura Basara (a 2017 STEP Ahead honoree) has helped her company provide millions of pieces of foam for face shields. 
  • Galley Support Innovations’ CEO Gina Radke (a 2019 STEP Ahead honoree) wrote a book to inspire other women to get involved in manufacturing leadership. 
  • ID4A Technologies’ CEO and Founder Rania Hoteit (a 2020 STEP Ahead Awards honoree) is supporting the manufacturing and distribution of critical medical devices and health care products. 
  • Adafruit Founder and Owner (and 2019 STEP Ahead honoree) Limor Fried is making electronic components for essential medical machines. 

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