Julie Showers may be a licensed cosmetologist, but she was one of Minneapolis-based Diversified Plastics Inc.'s first employees when she applied for a job as a press operator. She learned the skills and was part of the team of 13 that was there from the beginning.
Jim Dow, founder of the custom injection molder who retired as president after 40 years, encouraged employees to acquire new skills and grow professionally, Showers said in her Women Breaking the Mold survey. She went from press operator and moved throughout the company.
"It allowed me to have a comprehensive perspective of the company and the industry," she said.
As production manager, her duties include scheduling for the shop floor and just-in-time orders. The just-in-time production urges workers to analyze current processes and offer recommendations for improvements.
"Having qualified employees makes all the difference," she said in her survey. "Continuous improvement is an ongoing challenge for the good of the company and our customers."
Showers said that with the advancements in automation and additive manufacturing, now is an "exciting time to be a part of the future of the plastics industry."
She said when she started in the industry, there were few women working in it.
"It's been an honor to be part of breaking that mold. Now we have experienced and talented women at every level of our organization," she said.
Showers' mentor has been her mother, who was a "hardworking, intelligent woman who advanced in her own career."
"Julie Showers started her career in the plastics industry in 1977, when few women worked in the field. She learned from the ground up and continues to embrace advancements in the industry," Holly Jo Anderson of Veritas Marketing said in an emailed statement. "She is a role model and a mentor for other women at Diversified Plastics Inc. and in manufacturing companies throughout the community."