Whether finding ways to keep the wind and rain out of your house, the chocolate suspended in your milk or the components of your electronics cool, engineers play a pivotal role in pioneering the innovative technologies that help us improve the industries we touch and shape the future of our organization.

Creativity and invention are at the heart of engineering—and both skills are fueled by diversity. The more diverse a team is, the wider its range of talents and experiences. At Huber, we are cultivating an inclusive culture that values and leverages diversity to foster better ideas, reduce bias, and prompt imaginative discussions and problem-solving.

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is March 4, and to mark the event, we asked a group of engineers to give their perspectives on what we can do to actively encourage Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) in the industry.

From top left: Donald Freeland, João Rodrigues, Anna Levy, Anna Beynon, Josh Newman

Bottom row: Andrew Michaud, Lisa Weaver, Kent Lv

Anna Beynon, Process Engineer for Huber Engineered Woods (HEW) in Commerce, Georgia

Anna’s role is to track downtime within assigned process areas, record maintenance concerns and communicate with operators to ensure the Commerce plant runs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. A recent college graduate, Anna worked as an intern for different manufacturing companies before joining HEW in June 2022 and has seen a range of approaches to DE&I. The key, she says, is leadership. “Leaders who value diversity, will hire diverse candidates and lay the framework for these individuals to succeed in their organization,” she adds. “We are lucky to have leaders like that at Huber.”

Donald Freeland, Continuous Improvement Engineer for Huber Engineered Materials (HEM) in Atlanta, Georgia

Donald helps identify areas for improvement, implements process improvement projects, and provides continuous improvement training and support for each of HEM’s strategic business units. In the four years Donald has been with HEM, he has noticed a greater focus on attracting and retaining a broad range of talent. “DE&I training, Employee Resource Groups, flexible working arrangements and inclusive benefits are hugely important to diverse manufacturing candidates,” he says. With respect to what still needs to be done, “ensuring that we have diverse leadership within our plants” will help employees see that “diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but are integrated into the fabric of the organization.”

Anna Levy, Senior Process Safety Management Engineer for CP Kelco (CPK) in San Diego, California

Anna ensures CPK’s San Diego plant operates safely and helps minimize risk. She has been with CPK for eight years, and when she joined the organization, DE&I was not a concept familiar to anyone at her plant. Now, however, she says “it gets spoken about everywhere.” To help continue to increase diversity in the manufacturing industry, Anna says it is important that schools start speaking to students from minority backgrounds earlier. “Knowing the options available to you when you are in high school or early in college should help more young, diverse talent see the challenges and rewards of the manufacturing environment,” she says.

Kent Lv, Senior Regional Project Manager (Asia Pacific) for CPK in Shanghai, China

Kent manages projects that help improve safety, reliability and production capability at sites in CPK’s Asia Pacific region. He is a proponent of diverse teams as he believes “more and more good ideas are being generated from across the whole plant.” He says, “We must encourage our manufacturing colleagues to embrace DE&I to improve our production methods and ensure short-term objectives align with the Company’s long-term strategy.”

Andrew Michaud, Area Engineer for HEW in Easton, Maine

Andrew’s job is to ensure safety, quality and productivity at the plant by ensuring equipment optimization and reliability, verifying that safety standards are being maintained and prioritizing equipment maintenance. He believes that the diversity at the Easton plant is a big contributing factor in its success. He says, “Our team comes from a variety of backgrounds including paper manufacturing, oil, and the military. These different career experiences can help generate new fresh ideas for the success of HEW Easton.”

Josh Newman, Reliability Engineer for CPK in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

Josh’s job is to analyze and implement corrective and mitigating strategies to prevent failures from impacting plant performance. In his six and a half years at CPK, Josh has seen great strides in DE&I, and believes “continued commitment to these endeavors will help push us towards true inclusivity.”

João Rodrigues, Project Engineer for CPK in Limeira, Brazil

João is part of the Engineering team in Limeira and is responsible for designing and implementing new projects within the plant. He believes that “an inclusive environment with professionals possessing different skills and experiences enables effective discussions that may not otherwise be possible.” According to João, in his role he is able to work with a “diverse, multidisciplinary team” with the knowledge and skills to “develop and install solutions that have a positive impact in several areas of the plant.”

Lisa Weaver, Environmental Manager for HEW in Crystal Hill, Virginia

Lisa ensures the Crystal Hill plant complies with environmental health and safety regulations. In her five years at HEW, she has worked at two different facilities. “Although Huber has always demonstrated the Respect for People Principle, the environment for a woman engineer has changed so much since I joined the Company. I see more diverse candidates working in the field, which is exciting to see. I feel like we are heading in the right direction,” she says.

About World Engineering Day

In 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed March 4 as World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life. According to the UNESCO website, “Engineering has always had an essential role in development and human welfare. UNESCO is placing a high priority on promoting awareness of engineering as a career, as well as on those that demonstrate the importance of youth studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).”

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Posted March 3, 2023