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Step aside “Bronco Bamma” – the Women in Metals are in town!

Having lived through the recent Presidential election in Colorado, one of the swing states, I have to admit I felt a bit like Abigael Evans of YouTubefame when it comes to political topics.  That is why I was pleasantly surprised with Katie Groke Ellis, National Program Manager from The White House Project, who was our enthusiastic keynote speaker at the Association of Women in Metal Industries (AWMI) North American Annual Conference held November 14 – 17 in Denver, CO.  Katie shared the organization’s mission – “to ignite the leadership of women in business and politics” – as well as the progress we made with the recent election in getting more women into leadership roles, even if we are still very under-represented both in politics and business leadership (considering the percentage of women in the US).


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Katie Groke Ellis, National Program Manager, The White House Project

All photos courtesy Dee Scalia.


Metals Industry Tours, Dinner Keynote, and Networking

The conference started with plant tours of the Denver Mint and Ball Corporation.  It was interesting to learn about how our coins are made, as well as the innovation involved in making metal beverage cans.  On Thursday evening, we had a networking reception and dinner where Lisa Pauley, Sr. VP Human Resource and Administration at Ball Corporation, enlightened us on sustainability and recycling activities related to aluminum packaging as well as how she has advanced in her career.

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Keynote Speaker:  Lisa Pauley, Senior Vice President, Human Resources & Administration – Ball Corporation, with Sian Marcone, AWMI International President.

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Women of the AWMI Chicago Chapterat Networking Dinner – Rosemary Pestich from Naylor Pipe, Dee Scalia from Quality Steel, and  Lee Ann TrueBlood  from LB Steel.



Metals Industry Panel and Outlook

The Metals Industry panel featured speakers from 4 different companies, each paired with an interesting comment from their presentation:


Stainless –Mark Carson, General Manager of Sales – ATI, Allegheny Ludlum Metals“Manufacturing struggling to find proper skillset for today’s technologically advanced factories – 60 Minutes had segment on skills gap in science, math, computer skills last week.”


Steel – Mike Meyers, General Manager – United States Steel Corporation“Development for North American Shale Plays is game changer for US steel and power generation – we can regain energy independence and it will also require significant quantities of steel.”

Aluminum –
Beth Schmitt, Director of Recycling Programs – Alcoa

“Half of world’s cans are consumed in the US, yet almost 40% of them are still going in trash.  Largest market for cans, but one of lowest recycling rates among developed countries.”



Red Metals – Rebecca Weiss, Metallurgist – United States Mint

Our most valuable coin is the mistake . . . due to collector community . . . can’t say that in other industries!”

The panel was followed by a keynote presentation “Up Steel Creek without a Paddle”, highlighting Steel Industry Outlook from Timna Tanners, Research Analyst, Metals & Mining at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.   Timna gave is an “Econ 101” lesson on steel supply/demand and respective impact on prices.  She concluded that “we may have another couple of tough years – need to invest for future”. 


Energy Panel

The event closed with an Energy Panel with overviews of alternative energy sources –  Wind, Solar, Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing) – and role of Metals in their production.  Speakers included:  John Buttrum, Sourcing Manager – Vestas Towers, Jenette Hilton, Sr. Business Development Manager – Nabors Drilling, USA
Patrick Thacker, Director, Procurement – AREVA Solar.


For more information on the Association of  Women in Metal Industries (AWMI), please visit the website. Next year’s annual conference will be held November 13 – 17, 2013 at The Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee.  Thanks for your interest!

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