2015 Outstanding Women in manufacturing

Beginning in February, SVAM accepted nominations for the 2015 Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing Award. SVAM asked its member companies to nominate one woman within their company they felt rises about the rest. This is the second year that SVAM has given this award.


The purpose of the award is to show the significant role that women play in manufacturing. This award highlights women, at all levels, who have demonstrated excellence in manufacturing. It encourages women who work in the manufacturing environment to continue to strive for excellence and also helps to showcase a different side of manufacturing, which can often be seen as a male-dominated field.


Nominations were scored based on company impact, personal drive, adapting to change, teamwork, and leadership.


The Winner of the 2015 Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing Award is Donna Kestner of Scholle IPN.



Donna Kestner

Scholle IPN


SVAM’s selection committee noted in their comments that they were particularly impressed with her personal drive and initiative having started at an entry level position and worked herself up to a lead role at Scholle.

Her nominator, Doug Nelms, said, “Donna is one of the ‘go to’ employees in the plant in regards to quality. She is extremely dependable and constantly keeps a smile on her face. She finds the positive in people and most situations.”

Donna was presented with her award in front of her peers at a Scholle meeting.





Rexanne Coyner
Principle Project Engineer
General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems


“Women continue to be under-represented in many technical roles, and especially under-represented in technical positions within a Manufacturing organization. Rexanne has consistently demonstrated outstanding technical knowledge, broad understanding of manufacturing systems, and fact-based decision making skills. Her dedication to success and willingness to lead by example exemplify what it means to be an Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing.”
-S. Jared Strait, Director of Programs at General Dynamics



Susan Garrett
Production Coordinator
Steel Fab


“One other characteristic that I feel is important for the Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing is being a role model. Susan exhibits positive characteristics for other young women who may be contemplating a career in manufacturing. She has successful experience in both the office and plant settings which can be two very different environments. …She encourages a very positive “can do” attitude when faced with situations that may appear to be undoable. Susan is always communicating the possibilities of success of Steel Fab and is an advocate for the customer as a means to create that success.”
-Bill Kahl, General Manager at Steel Fab



Last year the award was presented to Nita McIntyre of General Dynamics. SVAM used the nomination submitted for the Outstanding Woman in Manufacturing Award to submit Nita for the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP awards. Nita attended the STEP Ahead Awards as an honoree.