Meet Manufacturing Leaders Inspiring Women Who Want to Make Things

    “I’ve always loved manufacturing, the speed of the environment and being a part of seeing something made,” said site leader Erin Poremba.

    Erin Poremba and Alexis Major are inspiring the next generation of women in manufacturing.

    Poremba (above, left) is the site leader at Honeywell’s manufacturing facility in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, where our teams develop polymer film for pharmaceutical blister packaging. Major (above, right) is the operations manager for Honeywell's personal protective equipment plants in North Charleston, South Carolina, where teams manufacture the gloves and sleeves worn by people who work on power lines. 

    Manufacturing has historically been a male-dominated industry. In the US, women account for 29% of the manufacturing workforce, based on a 2023 report from the National Association of Manufacturers based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Poremba and Major are passionate about helping other women explore similar career paths.

    “I encourage women to enter the manufacturing world because having a diverse workplace is extremely valuable – we need different perspectives, insights and experiences to help solve problems,” Major said. 

    Poremba and Major are among the Manufacturing Institute’s 2024 Women MAKE Awards honorees, a program that recognizes women in science, technology, engineering and production careers who exemplify leadership; and identifies top talent in the manufacturing industry.

    Get inspired by their stories, from how they got started in their careers to their words of advice for people who love to build things that make the world safer, smarter and more sustainable. 

    What inspired you to pursue manufacturing?

    Poremba: I was inspired very young because I used to tag along with my dad to go to work at manufacturing facilities. I was able to view the equipment and watch products being made from afar. It was enough to become fascinated with how things were made. I’ve always loved manufacturing, the speed of the environment and being a part of seeing something made. 

    Major: I’m a chemical engineer by background, but I knew I didn’t want to spend most of my time in a lab or office. As an extrovert, I love to be around people, so I was drawn to working in a plant, and as an engineer, I like to help solve problems. Both qualities are critical to leading a manufacturing site.

    What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?

    Poremba: Never give up. To solve problems, you need to be focused on developing a plan and executing it. In manufacturing, we’re always faced with challenges, but if you’re discouraged and giving up, you’re not going to be able to resolve the issue. As a leader, I can use that knowledge to be able to encourage my team and help them stay focused. 

    Major: I've always encouraged folks to speak up. You may not think an idea you have will be valuable, but I've seen countless times that the littlest things have impacted safety and quality within the plant. That is what I've learned throughout my career – that people are the most valuable asset, and that is what brings me to work every day.

    What should the next generation of women in manufacturing know?

    Poremba: It's important to show the next generation that there are so many different roles in manufacturing. Making people aware of what’s out there is instrumental in getting people into those careers. I do my part to encourage women to learn about what types of career paths are available so they can learn that not all manufacturing environments are the same. 

    Major: I think it’s important for women to speak to other women in the manufacturing world and hear their perspectives on what it’s like working in the field, as well as challenges they’ve experienced, triumphs and advice. I find it meaningful to share my story as a mentor at my site and in my community.

    Meet another Futureshaper paving the way for women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, and learn more about careers at Honeywell.