HELENA– The Manufacturing Institute announced they will award Jacqueline McEntire Clark, the director of government relations and public affairs with the Ash Grove Cement Company, with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C suite.
Ash Grove Cement Company, which is headquartered in Kansas, has a plant outside of Helena in Montana City.
Clark said she was thrilled to win the award and that it’s important to highlight the achievements and contributions of women in manufacturing.
“Manufacturing has been at the center of innovation for decades in this country,” Clark said. “It’s important for women to look at opportunities in such an innovative sector of the economy.”
Clark is on the Board of Directors for the Montana Chamber of Commerce. Ash Grove Cement is the largest U.S.-owned cement manufacturer. Clark is the first woman in charge of both its government relations and communications strategy.
” Envision 2026, our ten-year strategic plan, focuses on getting the right people in the right place at the right time,” said Webb Brown, president/CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce. “Jackie is a shining example for that effort. We are so proud of her.”
The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-aged children.
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. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.
“Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing this 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,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The 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.”
On April 10, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards, including Clark, 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.
You can read more about Clark and her career here.
*An earlier version said Ash Grove Cement Company was headquartered in Missouri. Its headquarters is in Kansas.