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Sea Ray’s Harris wins STEP award

Alicia Harris

Alicia Harris

Brunswick Corp.’s Sea Ray quality and planning manager Alicia Harris is among 130 recipients from 88 companies to receive the Women in Manufacturing Science STEP Ahead Award from the Manufacturing Institute in 2018.

STEP is an acronym for Technology, Engineering, and Production.

The STEP Ahead Awards honor women representing all levels of the manufacturing industry who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and communities.

"We are extremely privileged to have Alicia chosen for this highly selective award," said Brunswick chairman and CEO Mark Schwabero in a statement. "She is the fourth Brunswick employee from our manufacturing and engineering teams to be so honored during the past two years, which we believe is indicative of the skills and leadership abilities that are prevalent among not only women at Brunswick, but also throughout our organization."

Harris joined Sea Ray in Tellico, Tenn., in 2004, starting in the assembly build process, running a production line with 35 employees.

Later as a project engineer, she directed the addition of a 24,000-square-foot lamination area along with the integration of model change activities and new products, concurrently developing new technologies to improve the build process.

A black belt in Lean Six Sigma, Harris has leveraged her knowledge and experience to improve the broader organization with training on Lean Six Sigma techniques, the company said.

Additionally, she works with recent graduates to help develop their project engineering skills. Harris has volunteered as a mentor with the University of Tennessee students on senior design projects, and for several years has volunteered as a coach for the local American Youth Soccer Association program.

Women constitute one of manufacturing's largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce.

Brunswick Corp. has actively worked to attract and retain women in its engineering departments.

"Overall, manufacturers face the growing challenge of finding, engaging and advancing talent. Women are an important element in meeting that challenge,” Schwabero said. “STEP Ahead raises awareness of these issues by showcasing opportunities and role models that can speak to the transformation of the industry — people like Alicia.”

"This program celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of outstanding leaders in manufacturing, inspiring the future generations of women leaders to consider full, enriching careers in manufacturing,” Schwabero said.

On April 10, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize the 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each honoree's story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

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