“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby”
by Rosalie Leone
Back as far as the 1800s, as factories began to mark the
landscape, women took to millwork. In 1898, The Woodworker’s Council presented
a letter to mill owners in Wisconsin demanding the abolition of female
factory labor. This was predicated by the American Federation of Labor
(AFL) and its national position that female workers were viewed as a threat
in competition for jobs.
Traditionally, the image of the millwork industry was viewed as one dominated
by male stereotypes. The nostalgic memories of a little boy playing with
a big yellow dump truck next to his little sister holding a doll makes
everyone smile. As time has passed, some of these delightful memories
still survive, but are now delegated away to the eras of frilly aprons
and memories of stay-at-home moms. In many ways, the millwork industry
is a leader in breaking the “glass transom.”
Today, women in our industry oversee the production of the highest quality
products in our millwork factories. For example, the membership roster
of the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) contains a determined,
unique faction of women who relish the opportunity to jump into the millwork
industry and make invaluable contributions of their own.
I applaud the women who have been a significant part of the millwork industry
and thank them for opening the door for others. I would like to acknowledge
some of these women pioneers and simply say, ladies “you’ve come a long
Millwork Women in Charge
This year at the 46th AMD Annual Convention, AMD’s first woman president,
Audrey Dyer is to take the helm for the 2011 term. Audrey is the president
of ECMD Distribution (ECMD Distribution is one of four operating companies
that make up ECMD Inc., which also includes EastCoast Mouldings, Crown
Heritage Stairs and Arndt & Herman Building Products). Her 18 years
in the millwork industry has earned her respect among many in the millwork
industry and AMD members. Audrey’s knowledge has gained her a reputation
within the industry as a pre-eminent expert on distribution centers, manufacturing
plants, the retail millwork segment and merchandising and the use of technology
in supply chain management.
Other women pioneers include Patricia Galt of San Antonio. After Patricia’s
late husband, Marshall T. Steves of Steves & Sons Inc., passed away;
she took on the role as chairwoman of the company in 2000. Patricia is
still active today and is dedicated to promoting the millwork industry.
Barbara Lowery was vice president and treasurer of Wood Windows Distributors
in Portland, Ore., for 20 years until the company was sold. She was one
of the first women I remember to serve as a director on the board for
Paula Warren has been the chief financial officer at Warren
Window and Supply Co. for more than 18 years, responsible for all areas
of financial reporting. Her daughter, Rebecca Warren-Hauff, is following
in the footsteps of her parents in the role of vice president of operations.
In her five years with the family business she has expanded her responsibilities
to include managing inside sales, inventory management and information
King Sash and Door’s vice president, Kristy Bumgarner, presently serves
on the AMD board of directors. Kristy follows in the footsteps of her
father, Terry Bumgarner, president of the company.
One of our long-time AMD members, The J.B. O’Meara Company, is a family-owned
supplier of premium building materials since 1946. Mary O’Meara Moynihan
has been an active part of the company for years.
Sarah Beth Young-Hamlin, sales, marketing and advertising manager of Young
Manufacturing, takes a leading role in the dynamics of steering her company
into the spotlight.
There are many other successful women in the millwork industry who also
deserve acknowledgment and credit. To all of you, we “thank you.”
The women AMD has welcomed into the ranks have been active in creating
and finding opportunities for themselves. These women are passionate about
what they do and are strategic thinkers moving forward. One thing remains
constant; the women in millwork as those mentioned in this article are
very definite role models for young women who realize the potential for
leadership positions and the vast array of jobs our industry provides.
Encouraging Other Women to Join the Industry
So even though “you have come a long way, baby,” I believe we still have
a way to go. With our industry changing constantly, I think the biggest
challenge will be getting more young women to step out of the box and
consider a job in the millwork industry. Accomplishing this is possible
through exposure and encouragement starting as young as possible. AMD’s
GenNext program encourages both young women and men to develop a mindset
that views the millwork industry as offering a number of viable, fulfilling
and often lucrative positions.
People in the millwork industry are passionate about what they do, but
an anonymous person once said the following statement: “Being a woman
in the millwork industry is different from being a man in millwork industry—not
better, not worse, but different.”
Rosalie Leone is chief executive officer of the Association
of Millwork Distributors. Her opinions are solely her own and do not necessarily
reflect those of this magazine.
© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.