Phoenix Mecano Celebrates International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we would like to recognize all of the incredible women at Phoenix Mecano and highlight just a few standouts who shape the manufacturing industry in the U.S. today. We would also like to take a moment to reflect on what these women have achieved outside of Phoenix Mecano – their impactful stories are what inspire us to reach our greatest potential.

Meet Deb Woods – Assembler, 16 years at PM

 What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

I was originally hired for the Dewert division, which was located right across the street from Phoenix Mecano. I have always been an assembler, but I wanted to learned more about the wiring aspects of units as well as soldering. I started my career in industrial air conditioning as a Control Panel Assembler and then became a lead on the control panel line, eventually becoming a Supervisor.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

I’m most proud of knowing that I can work alongside any man in the manufacturing field and keep up with them.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position? If so, how do you overcome them?

One of my biggest responsibilities here is training new employees, and that’s a big challenge. Every person learns differently, and some quicker than others. I’ve overcome that by finding better methods of training for each individual that works for them. I give them a better understanding of what they will be doing with their specific job and try to teach them the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of our business and why we do things the way we do.

Bonus Facts:

Deb has always been intrigued by the wiring aspects of past and present jobs – building something from start to finish. She even wired lights in her husband’s boat, as well as installed a GPS unit and fixed the trolling motor!

Deb is a two-time cancer survivor, having had cervical and ovarian cancer back in 1996 and 2000. She now wears a compression sock on her left leg for help with circulation, all while being on her feet every day at work.

Meet Kim O’Connell – Engineering Administrator, 1 year at PM

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

I have experience in the engineering and construction fields and when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it. I like Phoenix Mecano because it’s a very dynamic environment. Every day, we are making completely different products to fulfill our customer orders. I find it really interesting just how many things we do here and all the different value added services we offer.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

I am the only female in a department full of men, but I don’t think of it like that on a daily basis. This is my job and this is why I come in every day – it’s an equal level playing field. I would really like to try and break the stigma of a woman working in the manufacturing field.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position? If so, how do you overcome them?

We have such an array of products and services that we offer here, so when it comes to me managing the quality aspect, you have to have such an attention to detail. The nonconformities are very diverse and you have to treat every customer’s project as its own stand-alone entity.

Bonus Facts:

Kim has been a member of the Women in Manufacturing organization for 6 months now. She is also a single working mom of two young boys.

Meet Tabitha Beltran – IT Manager, 4 months at PM

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

I started in the IT field in 2003 while I was in the Navy. Once I got out, I found a company and grew through the ranks there, taking on more and more responsibilities as time went on. I eventually found this job at PM and love it here.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

It feels very empowering – a feeling that you are able to be respected amongst your male counterparts. I don’t have a lot of experience in the manufacturing field, so having to fill that knowledge gap has been very rewarding, especially with all the systems I’m trying to figure out and learn.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position? If so, how do you overcome them?

One thing that is challenging is the demand of all the departments on IT and how to prioritize them. I’m learning a lot as I go and figuring out how to manage all the backend systems. Working a lot of hours and having help from my team make it easier.

Bonus Facts:

Tabitha went into the military because she didn’t have an option for schooling and she wanted to travel. “There you have 1 female to every 200 men, so being able to stand out in front of those people was pretty cool.” She was also hand selected to work with her Admiral on the ship, which has only helped further her career.

Meet LeeAnne Pacheco – Inside Sales Manager, 9 years at PM

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

I started in this field almost by mistake. When I moved here from North Carolina, my very first job was working for DMC (Data Measurement Corporation). They made on-line thickness gages in the steel industry. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but then I was sent to a customer visit and I was hooked. There is so much activity in this industry and things are constantly changing – no two days are ever the same. I like that kind of environment.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

At my previous company, I was one of three that was chosen to work on establishing our office in China. The other chosen employees were both men. There were some who didn’t want me to be on the project, but I was the one who handled the international business. All in all, it was one of the bigger successes we had within the company. After that, I was chosen to travel to Hong Kong and Korea. During that particular time, in that field, people were surprised to see a woman in such a leading role. It was different, and people liked it. I’ve always looked at being a woman as an advantage, not a determent.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position? If so, how do you overcome them?

The technical side of the customers we deal with is pretty male dominant, so we have to make sure we communicate properly, are knowledgeable on the products, and have close attention to detail. Our sales and marketing team play a huge role in getting that communication across properly.

Bonus Facts:

LeeAnne had a very strong male presence in her life. Her dad worked to raise four children on a single income and her grandfather’s influence within his banking career made her enjoy business. He was the one who suggested she get into business and sales. She grew up around very strong work ethics which has shaped her into who she is.

Meet Patricia Saldana – Accounting Specialist, 4 years at PM

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

While working in a city office and taking accounting classes, I received my accounting certification. During my job at the time, I was presented with the opportunity to advance into a finance position. I have stayed in this field ever since.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

When I hear the word “manufacturing”, I think of a more male-driven field. Diversity in manufacturing is growing and it is wonderful seeing more women join the manufacturing world.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position?

If so, how do you overcome them? My challenge in this position would have to be working with inventory. I do not have inventory experience while in finance. However, growth comes with learning.

Bonus Facts:

Patricia was in the Air Force but left after expecting her second child to focus on being a mom.

Meet Kim Swisher – Senior Buyer, 10 years at PM

What is your role at Phoenix Mecano and how did you get started?

My previous employer was bought out by another company who eliminated redundant positions. I decided a career change was needed and started as a temporary Supply Chain Coordinator 10 years ago with Phoenix Mecano. After 6 months as a full-time employee, I was promoted to Purchasing Agent and have continued to grow and gain many more responsibilities throughout the years.  By welcoming new challenges, I quickly learned about the manufacturing industry.

What are you most proud of when it comes to being a woman working in manufacturing?

It’s very rewarding to have a measurable impact on the company. As a Senior Buyer, I’m responsible for managing inventory levels, KPI reporting, and large contract customer reporting for the purchasing department. I’m also proud to have an impact on new buyers and employees by training and mentoring them, all while bringing new ideas to the table.

Are there any challenges that come along with your position? If so, how do you overcome them?

Manufacturing isn’t perfect. You have to accept there will be problems, and priorities will change. It can be challenging to balance those priorities and requests from various departments with vendor lead times and part availability in an international market. The key is to stay positive, communicate both good and bad news, and keep moving forward. The purchasing team works with vendors to achieve the best delivery dates possible and communicate with our sales and production planning teams. If we effectively exchange information, our sales team can work with our customers and keep them happy.

Bonus Facts:

Kim has been working since the age of 16 and put herself through college.

Manufacturing has a reputation of being mainly for men, but for the women at Phoenix Mecano, it’s a way of everyday life! We are continually growing and striving for excellence in ways to better serve our customers by creating an environment of optimism, collaboration, and resourcefulness. These women truly make a lasting impact at Phoenix Mecano and we could not be more grateful to have them on our team. 

Our Brands

Contact