Women in Manufacturing – Employee Spotlight Colleen Murphy

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In an effort to celebrate women on International Women’s Day, we thought it would be fun to interview a key leader in manufacturing here at Rapid, Colleen Murphy.

You could say the interest of manufacturing has been in Colleen’s blood since she was in college. She has held a variety of jobs and has continued to grow her skills as a project manager in business for years. Now settled in as an Engineering Manager in Nashua, NH, Colleen has made Rapid, a Protolabs Company home for herself. In a predominantly male industry, Colleen takes initiatives and leads by example making her a strong force to be reckoned with, regardless of her gender.

1. How did you get into manufacturing?

My first job out of college was as a manufacturing engineer for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) because I had Co-op experience at Burrough’s Corporation, Burrough’s manufactured the “DEC” block a major building block for DEC VAX computer backplanes.

2. Was there something that interested you when you were younger to pursue this industry?

I was always curious about how things were made. I learned how to sew when I was 10, so constructing a jacket was easy, constructing connectors seemed easy with that past experience.

3. Did you ever feel like you weren’t made out for this male dominate industry?

YES, YES and YES. I was one of three women in my class of 20 and the only one to graduate.

4. Do you think there is still a stigma of women in manufacturing?

In some ways. There is a comradery that the larger group of men have that the few women in the group do not get to participate. Golfing, guys night out, etc.

5. What set back’s have you experienced and how have you overcome them? 

I have changed jobs that I loved to get away from managers that may not appreciate the skills a women can bring to an organization. I have strived to create a collaborative and non-biased management style for myself based on some of my set-backs.

6. Who has been your role models or inspired you in this industry?

I was a huge fan of Steve Jobs’ work ethic and creativity. My manager at Teradyne, Wayne Morrison was a top notch manager in all aspects of managing and inspiring people to succeed.

7. Why do you think women succeed so well in manufacturing?

I find women can multiplex with ease and can see the big picture as well as the fine detail of the work needed to get done to be successful.

8. Is there something you’d like to say or mention to any females readers out there?

Speak up, be heard. You don’t have to be the expert in everything to offer sound solutions to the work day problems.

Thanks Colleen for your time and we appreciate you being a role model and representing women in manufacturing!

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