Modern Machine Shop

NOV 2018

Modern Machine Shop is focused on all aspects of metalworking technology - Providing the new product technologies; process solutions; supplier listings; business management; networking; and event information that companies need to be competitive.

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MMS NOVEMBER 2018 84 WOMEN IN MANUFACTURING Have Moxie, Be Open to Opportunity As the owner of a precision machine shop that provides Swiss screw-machine products, CNC-turned parts and centerless-grinding services, Ms. Muthana has faced her share of challenges. Although she had a passion for learning how to run machines in her father's shop, he encouraged her to work in the front office. Not one to back down, she made a compromise with her father to install speakers on the shop floor so she could run back to the office to answer phones when neces- sary. Over the years, Ms. Muthana grew in her ability to run machines and lead projects. By 1993, her uncle had taken notice and asked her to work with him at Pioneer Ser vice. Mindful of being accepted as an unfamiliar woman in a shop full of men, she agreed to be part of Pioneer Ser vice on two conditions. The first was that her uncle would be a silent partner. The second was that she would become President of Pioneer Ser vice. Part of the way Ms. Muthana set out to run her business was to try to build an inclusive work- force. In fact, today, women comprise about 40 percent of her employees. Along with Ms. Rodriguez, four other women work on her shop f loor in machine operator and quality assurance roles. Ms. Muthana explains that when manufacturing companies hire their first woman to work on the shop floor, leadership should take the time to set expectations and send a message of inclusivity. "In the introductory meeting, it is reasonable to recognize that person as the company's first woman on the shop floor, but leadership should spend more time on her qualifications and what she will bring to the team," she says. " It may also be helpful to acknowledge that this is a change, and some anxiety is expected and normal. End with a positive message like, 'I know you'll all treat (name) as a colleague, and I look forward to seeing what we all achieve together.'" Uphold that message in conversations as your team adjusts to the change. Ms. Muthana explains further: "For us, the mission is not to create silos and divide workers. Instead, that mission is to create a work environment where everybody is welcome regardless of gender, race or age. If people do not feel comfortable, they won't contribute to manufacturing, and the industry will die," she says. Ms. Muthana believes the way to create a comfortable work environment is to treat women the way you would treat a fellow human being. "No more, no less," she says. "We're just like the ANEEESA MUTHANA | SHOP OWNER Aneesa Muthana says men and women must support one another and be advocates for the industry. Photo: Pioneer Service

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