Wanted: Women in Manufacturing (section from article in MetalForming Magazine)
Compassionate, Yet Tough
Also used to making the tough decisions at her metalforming company is Linda Froehlich, co-owner and co-president (with her husband Rich) of Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc., in McKees Rocks, PA, near Pittsburgh. Froehlich attended last year’s inaugural WIM Summit, and now is a charter member of PMA’s WIM networking group. She enthusiastically supports WIM’s mission and looks forward to building on the networking and mentoring relationships she forged at the 2011 WIM summit. And, she echoes Tauber’s belief that women in leadership roles naturally tend to nurture their companies and their employees.
“Challenged as we are here in Southwestern Pennsylvania to recruit skilled workers—men and women alike—we’re working with local schools to generate excitement among families and students about the opportunities offered by careers in manufacturing. But once we do bring new people in, I strive to build a family atmosphere here. I want employees to feel comfortable coming to me to share their concerns—professional and personal.”
Throughout my conversation with Froehlich, who along with her husband took the company over from her father in 1976, she refers to Ace’s 50 employees as “family.” And she notes that from the very moment she took the helm, she had the respect of her employees.
“I started working for the company at the age of 14,” Froehlich shares. “So most of the employees here know that I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty on the floor, nor do I fear making the tough management decisions needed to get us where we need to go. They (the employees) know and share my passion, and know well that I can be compassionate when I need to be, and tough when toughness is required.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Froehlich continues, “and at the WIM Summit last year I thoroughly enjoyed networking with like-minded women, committed to success and to overcoming any and all obstacles.”