The Manufacturing Institute has named Valerie Harriell, vice president of human resources for Volvo Penta of the Americas, as one of the top women in U.S. manufacturing for 2018.
Harriell and the other honorees will be recognized at the 6th Annual Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award at a gala dinner April 10 in Washington, D.C.
The STEP Ahead Awards celebrate women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers in all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.
“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing,” said Manufacturing Institute executive director Carolyn Lee in a statement. “Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing the gap by highlighting the stories of successful women in manufacturing and giving them a platform to encourage other women to join the industry and be role models for the next generation.”
She added, “The 130 women being honored demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth.”
Primarily responsible for recruiting, retaining and supporting employees, Harriell has been with Volvo Penta 10 years. She has been instrumental in branding Volvo Penta to attract top talent, according to the company.
She has recruited and retained more than 30 percent of the company’s 250 employees in the U.S. and extended her outreach efforts to find highly skilled internal employees in Sweden and Brazil who were interested in working abroad.
By doing so, she enhanced Volvo Penta’s diversity footprint and brought talented workers to new environments.
“Valerie has a keen eye for attracting top talent. Once they are hired, she provides them with the support and continuing education skills they need to thrive and grow in their jobs,” said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas.
Over the years Harriell initiated a Volvo Penta Professional Women’s Network; organized the Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Training classes for management teams; expanded the company’s summer internship program to include student mentoring and community outreach; and provided engagement training to company managers as a Volvo Group Attitude Survey Leader.
Off the job, she has mentored high school-aged girls at risk through a local program, My Sister’s Keeper.
“I’m humbled to be considered among such an elite group of women,” said Harriell. “I look forward to continuing to mentor women, both those in the industry today and those who will serve as the next-generation of leaders in manufacturing.”