Volume 11, Issue 8 - October 2010

AMD Headlines

“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 way, baby!”

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 the association.

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 technologies.

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.


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