According to a 2017 study by the Manufacturing Institute, APICS and Deloitte, women make up about 47 percent of the total workforce but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce.
At Versa Pak, women have always been a key part of our team in the front office as well as on the manufacturing floor. We sat down with three of the women of Versa Pak – sales executive Erika Geier, shift supervisor Crystal Weis and associate Maddie Nigh – to learn more about their experiences and what women bring to a manufacturing role.
Watch the video or read a summary of the conversation below.
Tell Us About Your Roles at Versa Pak
Erika: I do a lot of the quoting and I have been here for nine years this June. I think the people are great here. You always have a lot of fun. There are obviously your days where you’re getting into the grind, getting your work done, being focused. But for the most part, we all have fun. We all get along. It’s a good place.
Crystal: I’ve been here four years. I’ve made some amazing friendships and I love the family atmosphere that we have, and also all the support and encouragement that I’ve gotten in four years.
Maddie: My favorite thing about this place is probably the people and how everyone comes together as a big family. And there’s always room for growth or learning different things, and everyone sticks together as a team.
What Are Some of the Changes You’ve Seen Since Working Here?
Crystal: I’ve gotten to see a little bit of the expansion of the factory just since I’ve been here, which has been amazing just to see. It’s helped place women in positions that were mainly male-dominated before.
And it’s really refreshing to see that in the position that I’m at now. It feels good. And I get that support and encouragement that has helped me step out of that comfort zone, too, to be able to do this.
Manufacturing Can Be Male-Dominated. What Has Your Experience Been Like at Versa Pak?
Crystal: I went from running one line to running three, and then the quality position came open and I was encouraged to take that step. I did that for two years. Absolutely loved it. And I was then encouraged once again and given so much support that it gave me the confidence to step out and apply for this position that had never had a woman before. So it’s been good.
Erika: It is kind of cool just to see the women here. I think forever, it’s been such a stigma that women are in the house cleaning, you know, doing household things. Now to go out and see people, women in the factory, getting their hands dirty and doing things that men always thought they could only do – now to see us women be able to do it, it’s pretty cool.
Maddie: A woman can get the job done here. Some places, a lot of women are underestimated by men, like, oh, she can’t do it. But we have a lot of women here that show up the guys too. Crystal has been a good friend of mine since I started and there’s no doubt in my mind that she’s not going to rock her new position.
How Would You Encourage Other Women To Get Interested In Manufacturing Roles?
Erika: I think sitting in an office isn’t for anybody, just like being at home isn’t for everyone. So go do it – whatever you want to do, go do it.
Crystal: I would definitely encourage anyone who wants to step out of their comfort zone and try something. It’s not all about how much you can lift anymore. It’s about what you can bring to that position.
Maddie: I mean, when I first walked in here, I just remember like looking around, like, what did I get myself into? I don’t know if this factory life is for me. But it’s my home away from home now. And these people have become my family and, you know, this is a team.
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