As part of Women’s History Month, USGNN™ is highlighting some of the great women in the industry and their thoughts on why women are a valuable asset to the glass and glazing industry, as well as how to bring more women into the industry.
Ann Greco—Salem Distributing Co.
Ann Greco has more than five years of industry experience. As the sales operations manager for Salem Distributing Co., she also directs all of the company’s marketing efforts. Greco’s background in sales, business development and marketing made her a good fit for the role, but she also has experience in reverse engineering and technology as well as waterjet cutting of polished materials.
She says the biggest challenge she’s overcome in her professional career is winning contracts for a “woman-owned” business operating in a male-dominated technology solutions industry.
“It involved not only the sales and business development, but all of the lobbying, documentation and certification work required to operate as a legitimate women’s business enterprise,” she says.
As for the most exciting development she’s witnessed within the glass industry, Greco says it’s the advancement of Industry 4.0 and “all the robotics introduced to the glass industry helping fabricators offer a safer work environment while also increasing production and accuracy.”
Greco believes there are many reasons women should consider a career in the glass industry.
“Many young women are pursuing STEM related education and white collar careers but there is also a need for workers in the typical ‘blue-collar’ fabrication jobs,” she says. “Either type of job in the glass industry will be secure, pay well and the newer machinery and material handling equipment available levels the playing field in the historical mindset that blue collar work often involves physical labor performed in settings that can be dirty, dangerous or otherwise adverse, a combination that typically reads ‘masculine.’”
According to Greco, the industry should reach out to high schools, vocational schools and colleges to help develop programs to prepare, train and place women in careers within the industry.
“Vocational training programs, apprenticeships and even specific associate degree programs, like those offered in the aircraft building and earth-moving machinery industries, would be a great start,” she says.
Nathalie Thibault is the architectural sales director for the Maritimes and Ontario and technical advisor for the New England territory at Prelco, as well as the president of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. She has been in the industry since 1999 and joined because her father was involved at Prelco.
Thibault says the biggest challenge she’s overcome is the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. The most exciting development she’s witnessed within the glass industry is silkscreening and digital printing on glass.
“It allowed the industry to integrate art in an otherwise much more plain application,” she says.
Thibault hopes to see more women join the industry because they can bring a different view to the table.
“[We can get more women involved] by showing them that it can be a great industry to work in, and using great models like designers we know, and women who are very much devoted to our industry in order to show them that it’s possible,” she says.
“We can get more women involved] by showing them that it can be a great industry to work in, and using great models like designers we know, and women who are very much devoted to our industry in order to show them that it’s possible,”
Keep up the great work.