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Women in plastics honored by Manufacturing Institute 2015 STEP Awards

Two women in the plastics industry were recently recognized as 2015 STEP Ahead Award honorees: Annette Crandall, President of Quality Assured Plastics Inc., a Lawrence, MI–based custom injection molding company; and Brenda Galindo, Material Planner for Lancer Corp., a maker of soda fountain and beverage dispensing machines based in San Antonio, TX. STEP stands for science, technology, engineering and production.

Two women in the plastics industry were recently recognized as 2015 STEP Ahead Award honorees: Annette Crandall, President of Quality Assured Plastics Inc., a Lawrence, MI–based custom injection molding company; and Brenda Galindo, Material Planner for Lancer Corp., a maker of soda fountain and beverage dispensing machines based in San Antonio, TX. STEP stands for science, technology, engineering and production.

 Annette Crandall
 Annette Crandall
According to her bio in the Manufacturing Institute’s 2015 STEP Awards information, Annette Crandall began her career working in the administrative division of another plastics company. She realized that there was a need for a manufacturing facility in her hometown of Lawrence, and with the help of seven family members, Crandall began evaluating the feasibility of starting an injection molding plant. Her initial plan of starting up a new $5-million, 12-press facility was rejected by every bank in the area, so she shifted gears, modified the plan and borrowed $30,000. She began manufacturing in an old abandoned canning factory with used machinery.

Crandall told PlasticsToday that she doesn’t really consider manufacturing a “man’s world,” adding that “it’s our world and I use my unique skills and abilities to do what needs to be done to succeed.” She does admit that it can sometimes be difficult for a woman to earn the respect of her peers in this industry, “but performance earns respect and success speaks for itself.”

For other women out there in the plastics industry, Crandall has this advice: “Go for it! There are a lot of great opportunities in the plastics industry for anyone who loves to make things, lead teams, solve problems and improve processes.”

Crandall was instrumental in many aspects of the new business, from writing the corporate bylaws, incorporating the business and working with financial institutions to creating a business plan and overseeing the day-to-day operations. She currently provides leadership not only as President, but also in human resources and finance. Under her guidance, Quality Assured Plastics has grown into a $5-million injection molding company with 50 employees.

 Brenda Galindo
Brenda Galindo
Brenda Galindo started her career at Lancer Corp. as an injection molding machine operator in 2004, notes her bio from the Manufacturing Institute. From the beginning, she showed great promise with her dedication and work ethic, “but especially with her ability to think outside the box.” She quickly rose through the ranks from operator, to shift lead, then on to material planner, because of her unique skills and knowledge of the entire injection molding process. In this new role, Galindo applied those same talents by asking questions about the time-consuming process, including questioning long-standing procedures and systems. This ultimately led to a revamping of the process itself and dramatically improved lead time for customers and inventory control, all of which impacted the bottom line.

Commenting on the influencers in her life, Galindo said, “Growing up in a family of mostly women, the one that stands out the most to me would be one of my older sisters, Wendy. She showed me how to stand on my own two feet and not accept defeat; to stand back up and try again.”

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