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Unveiling Diversity in Manufacturing: A Conversation with Aneesa Muthana

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia Release Date:2024-04-24 749
MetalworkingMetal Forming Machine ToolsMetal Cutting Machine ToolsWelding Equipment & ToolsSpecialty Processing (Laser Processing, EDM, Plasma Arc Processing, ECM) Machine ToolsTooling & WorkholdingInterview/Dialogue
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In the intricate tapestry of modern manufacturing, diversity isn't just a buzzword; it's a dynamic force shaping the industry's present and future.

By: Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio

 

In the intricate tapestry of modern manufacturing, diversity isn't just a buzzword; it's a dynamic force shaping the industry's present and future. From innovation to inclusivity, its impact resonates across every sector and level. At the forefront of this evolution stands Aneesa Muthana, the pioneering CEO and Co-owner of Pioneer Service Inc. and M&M Quality Grinding.

 

 

As an inspiration of change in an often male-dominated field, Aneesa Muthana has shattered glass ceilings and redefined norms, catalysing a paradigm shift in how we perceive leadership and diversity within manufacturing. During the 2024 3D Experience World in Dallas, Texas, International Metalworking News for Asia along with other members of the media from around the globe had the opportunity to engage in an exclusive Q&A session with Aneesa Muthana. Delving deep into her insights, experiences, and vision, we uncover her pioneering spirit and commitment to forging a more inclusive tomorrow.

 

How did you get involved in manufacturing?

 

My involvement in the manufacturing industry began when I was quite young, influenced by my family's deep roots in this field. My father, who hailed from Yemen, immigrated to the United States from England during the 1960s. He worked diligently as a busboy and a skilled machinist specialising in centerless grinding. In 1969, my mother joined him in the U.S. and despite lacking a formal education or background in machining, she found employment in the deburring department of a screw machine shop.

 

At the tender age of 11, I started working at our family business, M&M Quality Grinding. Even at that young age, I was already engaging with customers and learning the intricacies of the industry. This early exposure to the business world instilled in me a strong work ethic and the values that continue to guide me in my professional life today.

 

In 1990, my uncle established Pioneer Service, and three years later, at the age of 23, I joined him in the venture. Taking on the role of owner, with my uncle as a silent partner, I assumed the responsibility of managing and operating the business on a day-to-day basis. This decision allowed me to forge my own path in the manufacturing industry, separate from the family business, and establish myself as a leader in a predominantly male-dominated field.

 

My journey is one characterized by determination and the pursuit of creating my own legacy in manufacturing. Through my leadership roles at Pioneer Service and M&M Quality Grinding, I have successfully achieved this goal.

 

Did you face any challenges as a woman in manufacturing?

 

I encountered numerous obstacles as a female in the manufacturing sector, a field traditionally dominated by men. One of the main hurdles was dispelling stereotypes and prejudices associated with being a woman in this industry, particularly three decades ago when I started my career. I aimed to establish my credibility and leadership without facing allegations of favouritism, a common concern in family-run businesses.

 

Additionally, I had to revamp my business during challenging periods, educating myself on Swiss-type machining through online resources like YouTube to ensure my company remained competitive and abreast of technological advancements. I have advocated for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as catalysts for innovation and for broadening the talent pool in manufacturing, crucial for regaining business lost to overseas markets and for cultivating a proficient, technology-driven workforce.

 

Furthermore, I emphasized the importance of integrating women into the manufacturing sector not because they are superior, but because their exclusion diminishes the available talent pool by half, at a time when skilled labour is in high demand. My personal journey and the obstacles I encountered shed light on the industry's overarching issues and the ongoing initiatives to foster a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

 

How has your advocacy impacted the industry?

 

My efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the manufacturing sector have made a significant impact. My leadership and commitment, especially during technological transitions, have been recognised through prestigious awards like the PMPA STEP Award. My advocacy has not only reshaped the perception of modern manufacturing but also emphasized the importance of human involvement in digital transformation. Through educational outreach and promoting core values, I try to inspire others to advocate for a more inclusive and innovative industry.

 

What initiatives have you taken to promote diversity in manufacturing?

 

I have been actively involved in promoting diversity and inclusion within the manufacturing industry. I engage in advocacy and public speaking at industry events, participates in podcasts and interviews to discuss these topics, emphasizes the importance of DEI values, and contributes to educational content to educate business leaders on the benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

 

Brief background of M&M Quality Grinding and Pioneer Service Inc.

M&M Quality Grinding, Inc. is a company that specialises in tight tolerance bar stock and centerless grinding services. They are ISO 9001:2015 registered and have over 40 years of experience in the field. The company processes a variety of materials including stainless steel, carbon steel, steel alloys, aluminium, brass, bronze, copper, nickel alloys, and thermoplastics.

 

On the other hand, Pioneer Service Inc. is a certified women-owned contract manufacturer that specialises in CNC Swiss machining, CNC turning, and centerless grinding services. The company, headquartered in Addison, Illinois, was founded in 1990 and is known for its precision machined parts. They are committed to providing high-quality products and services to their customers, which include industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and industrial equipment. It prides itself on its ability to deliver complex and critical parts with tight tolerances and quick turnarounds.

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