Women in Industry Month
To coincide with our annual Women in Industry issue, Supply House Times will spotlight a new PHCP-PVF supply chain female executive each day during the work week in the month of March. If you would like to be included or know of someone who should be included in our 2019 presentation, email Chief Editor Mike Miazga at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Company: RIDGID (Ridge Tool), Elyria, Ohio
Position: Marketing Communications Manager (10 years)
How did you get into the industry?
My career is really driven by my upbringing. Growing up in Cleveland, I was surrounded by a lot of prominent manufacturers. But they also had that Cleveland working-class ethic to them, too. In college, I worked in media as well as interned with strong B-to-B businesses; this is where got my first taste of B-to-B.
My background in marketing originally drew me into the plumbing industry 10 years ago. I began working on the wholesale side of the business, interacting with our channel distributors and customers – mainly builders and plumbers. I realized quickly how much I enjoyed these B-to-B conversations and how I could help our customers solve problems. I also saw how much plumbers are the unsung heroes in the field. They build the infrastructure of our country and the world, and it is hard work. They truly are some of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Once I started at RIDGID, I saw this hard work tenfold across all of the skilled trades. In marketing at RIDGID, I really appreciate that we have the chance to show the skilled trades how our products can help solve the daily problems they face.
What do you like the most about the company you work for?
RIDGID is a strong global brand that never loses site of its roots. I appreciate that we constantly are investing in our customers, looking for ways to help them do their jobs more efficiently – and this applies to both the trades as well as our distributors. Companies often say that they are a partner with their distributors, but I’ve seen this in action at RIDGID. It’s just a natural part of how we’ve always done business.
Being in marketing, sometimes you don’t have these personal relationships with the customer; at RIDGID that’s not the case. We get to know their point of view. In everything I do, I get to see that what I’m working on is driving a solution that benefits our end customer. They have a very demanding schedule, working 60-plus hours a week. How can I make their lives more efficient? I want them to know we are listening and working for them, creating tools built with purpose. There’s an appreciation on both sides of the table for what the other provides. That’s really rewarding to see and I love hearing direct from the skilled trades on the job site; how, time after time, they prefer RIDGID.
It’s also so rewarding to see how much RIDGID invests in the future – not only the future of the company but also the future of each employee that works here. We’re very collaborative and everybody’s opinion matters. My company also is very supportive of continuing education and training, as well as hands-on product training with customers. I have yet to see a pause in our continuous improvement on the manufacturing side. We always are making investments to make our manufacturing process better, which provides our tools to our customers faster.
How important do you feel it is to attract women into the industry?
Within the skilled trades, especially on the plumbing and mechanical side, it’s imperative more now than ever to collect and understand ideas from everyone at the table inclusive of their demographics, backgrounds and experiences. In this industry, it is important voices are heard and brought into the decisions our field makes in order to continue to progress in an economy that is rapidly growing. There’s opportunity for everyone because the rewards are universal.
At RIDGID we make sure that our brand, communications and product marketing address this diversity and that we’re an advocate for the skilled tradesperson – regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Personally, I know that more women are entering the field. I’ve seen the tide shift a bit in my 10 years; I meet and talk to women in the trades more now than I ever have before – and that’s rewarding.
At RIDGID, I appreciate that good ideas can come from everyone and everywhere. When you’re in a room talking about solutions, everyone’s opinion counts. I’m surrounded by women within this organization at all levels. That’s an inspiration as well as a confirmation that I’m at the right place.