When Kelli Dimmer was growing up, she didn't ask for Barbie dolls. Instead, she wanted Erector Sets.
"If I wanted to help build something with [my dad], he let me help build with him. … My parents were people who, if I had a goal to do something, they were like, 'All right, let's do it,'" Dimmer said. "Even when I was little, I played 'pee-wee' football. I watched the movie 'Little Giants' and said, 'Hey, Dad, I want to play.' And he was like, 'OK, I'll get you signed up.'
"And then my mom was one of those people who did a lot of sports growing up," she continued. "Back in the '70s, [the women] had a lot of stuff that they had to overcome when she was in school. ... There were a lot of things that they had to deal with. It shaped who they were and applied it to me when I was growing up."
When asked the best advice she ever received, Dimmer said it was from her father: "Prove them wrong."
Dimmer, 31, graduated in 2010 from Marquette University in Milwaukee with a bachelor's degree in biomechanical engineering and a minor in biology. Today, she is the engineering program manager at Kenosha, Wis.-based Mikrotech LLC, which she joined in 2014.
This is Dimmer's first experience in the plastics industry as a manufacturing engineer.
"When applying for the position at Mikrotech, I was truly excited to apply my degree to my career," she said. "The heart of Mikrotech is manufacturing micro medical components used for minimally invasive surgery. Being able to combine my biomedical engineering degree with my passion for manufacturing was a great opportunity for me, and the plastics industry was a whole new world of manufacturing to learn about."
At Mikrotech, Dimmer wears many hats and takes on roles outside of what her title defines.
"I like the fact that we get to wear many hats because you get to learn every aspect of the job, and it makes you appreciate the people that do the operating or the people that do the shipping because, at some point, you have to help out someone working in that field," she said. "You get to learn everything, which is really cool. It's really cool to see a company grow. Right now, we're small, but we're getting bigger. We're adding more people, so that's fun to see."
Dimmer said she is amazed by the wide variety of resins that are available for different applications "and that they all behave differently when molded and machined." She said she is also amazed by micromachining technology.
She and her husband, Eric, welcomed a baby boy, Emmett, in November. She has been playing softball with the same group of friends for the last 10 years, and she also enjoys drawing sketches and cartoons when she finds some spare time.
Dimmer is involved with the Society of Women Engineers and has her sights set on eventually leading a manufacturing company.
"Being president of a company is a job that I strive for," she said. "I would love to lead a company and its employees that I am passionate about to success."
Kelli Dimmer says she's amazed by the wide variety of resins that are available for different applications.