Celebrating Women in March



By
John Levan
21 March 22
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What do National Women’s History Month, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and a manufacturing company specializing in custom metal stampings have in common? 

The first two parts of the question are obvious: the answer is they are all about the influence and contributions of women. But that’s also the answer to the third part of the question. The manufacturer we’re talking about is Universal Metal Products (UMP). If you’re wondering how women fit into an industry traditionally dominated by men, it’s because UMP is a certified women-owned business.

That came about when a pair of sisters—Kristin Jenkins and Kimberly Koeth—took the helm of UMP about four years ago. Their father, Scott Seaholm, had purchased the company in 1987, so it’s safe to say that he became the perfect mentor for them as they grew up and displayed an interest in the business. Today, Kristen assumes the position of Director of Sales, while Kimberly has the responsibility of Director of Administration.

Needless to say, the women are proud of the company’s WBENC certification. But what does “WBENC Certified” right after the company name signify?

WBENC certification is respected nationally

WBENC certification is considered the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses in the country. In addition to showing UMP as a diverse organization that empowers women and proves they can thrive in any industry, WBENC certification delivers several benefits to help women be successful:

According to WBENC: Through certification, women-owned businesses gain access to a vast network of support, including targeted business opportunities for certified women-owned firms, increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains, education and development programs to spur growth and increase capacity, and networking and mentorship opportunities with thousands of women entrepreneurs and those who support them.

Women continue to add new pages to their history book

A dozen or so years ago, I visited a vocational-technical school and saw young women training to be machinists, CNC programmers, and operators. I was pleasantly surprised, but I don’t know why I should have been surprised at all. After all, women filled manufacturing positions over one hundred years ago while men fought in World War I. The same thing happened in the Second World War when thousands of “Rosie the Riveters” helped the war effort by working in manufacturing plants.

Today, rapid changes in technology are opening the door to exciting manufacturing opportunities, and anyone should feel welcome to enter.

Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by Bayer confirmed the sad truth that many women continue to avoid manufacturing careers because of a lack of quality science and math education programs. They also feel victimized by antiquated stereotypes that view manufacturing and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) careers as unsuitable for women.

Follow the example of UMP’s leaders

Diversity and inclusivity are a vital part of the UMP culture. We value uniqueness and encourage you to pursue your dreams. Ignore gender biases, be passionate and confident about your career choices, just as our owners advise you. You’ll soon be writing your own page in the Women’s History Book!
Universal Metal Products is a WBENC certified women-owned and operated business with over 75 years of experience. Call us at 440-943-3040 or fill out our convenient contact form if we can be of service to you.