BizTimes Milwaukee is proud to present the inaugural list of Notable Women in Manufacturing, spotlighting accomplished professionals throughout the region. The women profiled here were nominated by their peers at work and in the community (more about the selection process below) and showcase the diversity of talent in our market. The leadership shown by the women profi led here is setting an example to shape a better future for our region.
METHODOLOGY: The honorees did not pay to be included. Their profiles were drawn from nomination materials. This list features only individuals for whom nominations were submitted and accepted aft er a review by our editorial team. To qualify for the list, nominees must be based in southeast Wisconsin, currently employed at a manufacturing company with a minimum sales revenue of $3 million, and must be serving in a senior level role at their firm.
Mary Wiberg Springer
Thermtech Heat Treating Inc
Number of years working in manufacturing: 34
Number of years with your current company: 30
Undergrad degree/university: Bachelors of Science in Nursing / Minor Business – Alverno
Graduate degree/university: Masters Nursing – UW Milwaukee
Mary Wiberg Springer grew up in the heat-treating industry, working with her dad’s first company, Midland Metal Treating, as a teenager.
Her father, Charles Wiberg, and brother Steve Wiberg later started another heat-treati ng company named ThermTech in Waukesha. In 1989 Mary accepted the challenge to become a part of the family business. As the company grew she helped develop systems, people and culture while her dad and brother established processes and equipment.
Charles Wiberg retired in the early 1990s, naming Steve and Mary equal partners, president and vice president, respectively. Together with their team, they grew the business from $5 million in sales to $25 million in sales.
ThermTech provides heat-treating services for more than 700 customers in the Midwest.
Wiberg Springer has been actively involved in The Metal Treating Institute Trade Association for over 25 years, achieving the acknowledgement of first woman president in 2006.
Chief Financial Officer and Hearth Craft Brand Manager
Design Specialties, LLC
Number of years working in manufacturing: 25
Number of years with your current company: 13
Undergrad degree/university: BS Accounting, Carroll University
Dawn Schefelker has enjoyed a multi -decade career making an impact in Wisconsin manufacturing. For the past 13 years, she has been chief fi nancial officer for Design Specialti es, a custom fi replace door and hearth accessory manufacturing business in Milwaukee. Her leadership helped the company transiti on from being a privately-owned business to one of private-equity ownership (Blackthorne Partners) in 2015.
She has helped deliver 25% EBITDA expansion for the business over the past three years. She operates as a mentor to other Blackthorne company CFOs, sharing her best practices to the benefit of four additional Wisconsin manufacturing businesses.
In October, Schefelker successfully completed the acquisition of another competitor and fireplace door manufacturer from Indiana (Hearth Craft ) and she will now act as brand leader for this new business in addition to her CFO duties to provide long-term strategic guidance, ensure financial success and support future growth for the company’s combined Milwaukee-based operation.
Chief Executive Officer
Number of years working in manufacturing: 20
Number of years with your current company: 12
Connoils is a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of nutraceuti cals (sports nutrition and dietary supplements). The company sells bulk nutritional oils, such as borage, blackcurrant, flax, evening primrose, pumpkin and MCT, bulk spray-dried nutritional powders, and bulk nutritional soft gels to the wholesale industry. Its customers have their own private label product line and bottle, label and sell their items to the retail industry.
The company recently built a state-of-the art facility in Big Bend, and is a pioneer in the hemp and CBD industry. Connoils this year achieved the rank of 1,354 on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in North America. Peterson has also received numerous local awards and achievements in Wisconsin and the greater Milwaukee area.
“Peterson has shown extensive leadership in the nutraceuticals industry,” said Spencer Shimon, former marketing coordinator for Connoils.
R&B Grinding Co., Inc.
Number of years working in manufacturing: 29
Number of years with your current company: 29
In 1958, Ray Biddle Sr. left his job to purchase a used grinding machine and with his newly married wife, Marilyn, started R&B Grinding Co., Inc.
Sixty-one years later, with 200 pieces of manufacturing equipment, 120 full-time employees, $20 million of business and as the third largest steel component supplier to a Fortune 500 company, R&B Grinding has been named the Racine 2019 Manufacturing Business of the Year by Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce.
Ray’s death in 2014 did not aff ord him the honor of this prestigious accomplishment. As the sixth-born of Ray and Marilyn’s children, Barbara Lange assumed the role of president of R&B Grinding in 2017 during a very challenging time with eroding margins and declining sales. Leading her older sister Linda and brother Ray Jr., Barbara embarked on strategically developing their leadership team and, with her father’s business tenacity and devotion to her employees, has led R&B Grinding to new operational and financial heights.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Server Products, Inc.
Number of years working in manufacturing: 22
Number of years with your current company: 22
Undergrad degree/university: Bachelor of Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee – Major in Production Operations Management with a Minor in Marketing
Having been in the family business her entire life, Kristin Falkner began her career at Server Products aft er graduating from college in 1997. Her grandfather, Al Wickesberg, founded the company in 1949, and today it operates in Richfield, providing portion control and point-of-use holding equipment to the food service industry.
Falkner became president of Server Products in 2009 after her father, Paul, retired. Under her leadership, the company has doubled its annual sales, completed a 10,000-square-foot expansion and employs 160 fulltime employees.
Under Falkner’s leadership, the company is committed to social responsibility. Her drive to contribute to the common good inspires Server Products’ involvement with free health clinics and food pantries, support for a work program for students with disabilities and sponsorship of the Cancer Relay for Life.
“Her emphasis on integrity, positive attitudes, strong work ethic and unwavering focus reinforces Server’s commitment to customer delight,” said Brent Henschel, marketing manager for Server Products.
Vice President of Supply Chain
Number of years working in manufacturing: 5
Number of years with your current company: 5
Undergrad degree/university: Bachelors Degree in Business Administration – Marquette University
Graduate degree/university: Masters of Science in Accounting – Marquette University
Megan Tzanoukakis is vice president of supply chain at Sussex IM, a $70 million custom molder and contract manufacturer located in Sussex. In her role, she works to oversee and drive efficiencies between customer service, purchasing and warehousing. She is one of the executive leaders of Sussex Brands, a division of Sussex IM producing consumer items. She also manages ecommerce and retail business activities for Sussex Brands – Mr. Lid Storage Containers and MOGO Mouth Guards.
“Megan has been integral to the success of our efforts to continuously improve Sussex IM,” said John Berg, director of marketing for Sussex IM. “She has raised the bar and has driven change throughout the organization. Within the last year, Megan has led a focused approach on key areas of our ERP. We are improving the data that is driving our decisions. We are seeing increased utilization efficiencies and a reducti on in variances as a result of these efforts.”
Steelwind Industries, Inc.
Number of years working in manufacturing: 15
Number of years with your current company: 15
Undergrad degree/university: Bryant & Stratton College
In 2016, Angie Trentadue was promoted to vice president of Steelwind Industries, Inc., a large capacity fabrication shop offering heavy custom metal steel fabricati on services for large parts in high and low volume runs.
Based in Oak Creek, the company also offers machining, heat-treating services, abrasive blasting and industrial painting.
Trentadue started working in the family business at a young age, and has consistently taken on new leadership roles and responsibilities within the organization. She is
currently responsible for all accounting, purchasing, HR and overall administration of the company. In 2017, she was charged with an expense reduction program and
sales growth initiative, which drastically improved the company’s profitability. In 2018, she led the initiative to increase both sales and the quality of earnings through a detailed analysis. Trentadue also currently manages all human resources functions for the company’s 60+ employees, including benefits, hiring and company events.
Senior Director of Human Resources, Talent and Organizational Development
Kapco Metal Stamping
Number of years working in manufacturing: 13
Number of years with your current company: 4.75
Undergrad degree/university: BA/Marian
“Jenny is a tremendous recruiter and ambassador of manufacturing for Kapco and the Milwaukee area,” said Keith Doszak, business development manager for Kapco. “Her assessment of our human capital needs, the landscape of talent and how to land high-impact individual contributors has allowed Kapco to grow beyond revenue goals year-over-year. She has a vision that goes beyond the job posti ngs that reflect our blessed growth. Her team and its professional and personal network never allow themselves to rest on their heels in this tough market. Jenny’s deep manufacturing knowledge not only helps us recruit strong talent, it helps us retain talent in a very competitive market. She understands what we do, where our teams’ opportunities for growth are and what struggles exist in metal manufacturing. Jenny’s team not only understands the job posting through her leadership, they thrive on the opportunity to educate candidates on our strengths, opportunities and the bright future her team is leading.”