WASHINGTON — The Manufacturing Institute has recognized employees of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Goodyear with Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Awards for 2020.
The pair — Missy Depinet, procurement director for Cooper, and Michelle Ross, director of supply chain, commercial and off-highway for Goodyear — are among 130 women nationally who earned the honor this year from a field of hundreds of nominees.
The STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards program, now in its eighth year, recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to senior executive leadership.
The Manufacturing Institute will recognize the winners April 30 at a reception in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Depinet is the eighth Cooper employee to receive this honor within the past five years, while Ms. Ross is the fifth in five years for Goodyear.
Cooper President and CEO Brad Hughes lauded Ms. Depinet for her "leadership capability in a variety of roles" at the company over the past two-plus decades.
"Her project-planning skills as well as her ability to develop and implement key processes have been valuable in supporting Cooper's business goals," he said, calling her a "great ambassador" of Cooper.
Since joining Cooper in 1997, she has held roles in finance, information technology, supply chain and procurement. In her current position she leads Cooper's indirect purchasing team with a focus on implementing purchasing processes and procedures that drive efficiency and cost effectiveness.
She also mentors students in the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) Women in Business Leadership program, is a member of the BGSU Supply Chain Institute Advisory Board and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.
Ms. Ross is described as an "energetic supply-chain leader and team builder who embraces inclusive people-driven processes to drive results."
In her eight-plus years at Goodyear, she has led initiatives to improve overall business performance and profitability in a sustainable manner, the Manufacturing Institute said.
For example, she oversaw efforts to help the company's aviation business unit react to a larger-than-expected boost in order from the U.S. military. Her team's efforts led to a 12% increase in military sales volume, which helped the business exceed its earnings target and reduce backorders.
She has been president of the Goodyear Women's Network (GWN), whose mission is to attract, develop, motivate and retain women at Goodyear, and created an additional advocacy committee to complement GWN's standard programs. Under her leadership, the committee conducted research and benchmarking of best organizational practices to support women in the workplace and gathered feedback on workplace engagement with an emphasis on working parents.
In addition, she led an initiative to develop a scholarship fund for local female high-school students entering STEM careers. The 501(c)3 non-profit Fostering Young Women in Excellence Scholarship Fund (FYWESF) has awarded five scholarships since its inception, and each year the winners are invited to Goodyear's campus for mentoring.
The STEP Ahead Awards are part of a larger STEP Women's Initiative, which works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership development.
The Manufacturing Institute is the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers. It is dedicated to supporting the manufacturing workforce of today and growing the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow. It does so through a variety of programs designed to excite, educate and empower with a particular focus in four key areas: women, veterans, youth and skills training.