Employees from nine CBIA member companies were honored this week in the Manufacturing Institute's 2022 STEP Ahead Awards.

The awards recognized 130 outstanding women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and production.

The institute also recognized emerging leaders—young women who represent the industry's future.

The STEP Ahead Awards are central to the industry’s efforts to recognize and empower women,” institute president and executive director Carolyn Lee said.

“Manufacturing is averaging more than 800,000 open jobs a month in the past year, and we can’t close that gap without closing the gender gap.”


The CBIA member company employees were:

  • Vanessa Adams, senior manager, manufacturing, repair and overhaul engineering, Pratt & Whitney
  • Amber Barrett, manager, product commercialization, John Middleton Co., an Altria Company
  • Katie Barry, quality manager, Marion Manufacturing Company
  • Morgan Blanchett, senior project engineer, Medtronic Inc. (emerging leader)
  • Jana Gessner, global vice president, environmental, health and safety, PepsiCo Inc.
  • Lynne Knittel, director, global benefits and HR digital solutions, Barnes Group Inc.
  • Pamela Obando, principal production automation engineer and Kristel Van den Steen, global quality system and operations support lead, Pfizer Inc.
  • Tova Parker, cost and schedule engineering discipline manager, ExxonMobil Global Projects Company
  • Corie Phee, system engineering/test engineering senior, Lockheed Martin Corporation

“The 2022 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leaders are excellent representatives of the exciting opportunities available in manufacturing,” STEP Ahead chair Denise Rutherford said.

“These remarkable women and the leadership they show help inspire the next generation of female leaders to consider careers in manufacturing.”