DAILY NEWS Feb 20, 2014 8:18 AM - 0 comments

Manufacturing Institute honours Bison Gear and Engineering staff at STEP Awards

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St Charles, IL - Two associates of Bison Gear and Engineering, Sylvia Wetzel and Christi Brazener, were recently recognized by the Manufacturing Institute with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award.

The STEP Awards recognize women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C suite. In 2014, there are a total of 160 women being honoured.

“We are very excited to have not one, but two honourees this year,” said Martin Swarbrick, president and CEO of Bison Gear and Engineering, “Both Sylvia and Christi have shown remarkable dedication and service to Bison, and deserve to be recognized for their excellence.”

Sylvia Wetzel, chief learning officer, is a solution-driven leader whose passion for education has led her to a role with myriad responsibilities and facets. Through humanitarian efforts, such as BisonCares, internal efforts and external collaborations, Wetzel is actively engaging the workforce of today while simultaneously cultivating tomorrow’s workforce. As an internal resource, she initiated a health program that offers free risk assessments, an on-site health provider, and dollar incentives for employees to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Christi Brazener, customer care manager, personifies the company’s approach toward service and the company’s program called PRIDE (People Relentless In Delivering Excellence). She was instrumental in creating a customer service call centre so that a customer call never goes to voicemail. Also, she has developed a personal relationship with most of Bison’s customers that allows the company to get the most accurate information about upcoming demand. Brazener acts as a true customer advocate and a liaison between the customers and the internal workings of Bison.

“These 160 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing,” said Jennifer McNelly, president, The Manufacturing Institute. “We chose to honour these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through (a) positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole. The STEP 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 best practices for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent.”

A recent survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that nearly 70% of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers.

On February 6, The Manufacturing Institute recognized the 160 recipients of the STEP Awards at a reception in Washington, DC.

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