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Manufacturing Institute to Honor Bison Gear and Engineering’s Sylvia Wetzel and Christi Brazener at 2014 STEP Awards

Bison Gear and Engineering is pleased to announce that two of its associates, Sylvia Wetzel and Christi Brazener, were recently recognized by the Manufacturing Institute with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Award. The STEP 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. In 2014, there are a total of 160 women being honored.

"We are very excited to have not one, but two honorees this year," said Martin Swarbrick, President and CEO of Bison Gear and Engineering. "Both Sylvia and Christi have shown remarkable dedication and service to Bison, and deserve to be recognized for their excellence."

Nominated by the College of DuPage, Sylvia Wetzel, Chief Learning Officer at Bison, is a solution-driven leader whose passion for education has led her to a role with a myriad of responsibilities and facets. Through humanitarian efforts, such as BisonCares, internal efforts, and external collaborations, Sylvia is actively engaging the workforce of today while simultaneously cultivating tomorrow’s workforce. As an internal resource, she initiated a health program that offers free risk assessments, an on-site health provider, and dollar-incentives for employees to embrace a healthy lifestyle.

Christi Brazener, Customer Care Manager, personifies the company’s approach toward service, PRIDE (People Relentless In Delivering Excellence). She was instrumental in creating a Customer Service call center so that a customer call never goes to voicemail. Christi has developed a personal relationship with most of Bison’s customers that allows the company to get the most accurate information about upcoming demand. She acts as a true customer advocate and a liaison between the customers and the internal workings of Bison.

"These 160 women are the faces of exciting careers in manufacturing," said Jennifer McNelly, president, The Manufacturing Institute. "We chose to honor these women because they each made significant achievements in manufacturing through positive impact on their company and the industry as a whole. The STEP 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 best practices for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent."

A recent survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute found that nearly 70 percent of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers.

In its second year, the STEP Awards Program was initiated in 2013 while Bison’s Chairman and Owner, Ron Bullock, was Chairman of the Manufacturing Institute. On February 6, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize 160 recipients of the STEP Awards this year at a reception in Washington, D.C. It will highlight each honoree’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

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