The Manufacturing Institute will award Kim Seijo, business intelligence and MDM (Product Domain) director; LaRuthie Mason, START industrial maintenance training manager; and Erika Swartz, senior process engineer, with the Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Award.
The STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry.
Kim and LaRuthie are among the 100 recipients to be recognized as honorees, and Erika is among the 30 emerging leaders selected. The winners of this year’s award were selected amongst hundreds of applicants from numerous manufacturers across the country, reflecting a diversity of manufacturing sectors and positions.
Director – Supply Chain Business Intelligence
Shaw Industries Group Inc.
“Manufacturing depends on great people with an excitement to think quickly and creatively, while uniting together to achieve something greater than themselves. My passion for manufacturing comes from a natural desire to think analytically, work collaboratively, and experiment continually to optimize and improve products and processes that meet customer’s needs.”
Kim Seijo has led the Business Intelligence group to supported growth from 50 users to more than 2,000 users and has positioned the company to meet the changing demands of both customers and associates. She has leveraged her engineering background and experience to set high goals and exceed expectations. A key to Kim’s success is that she constantly strives to understand the needs and requirements of the business, which is essential to process improvement initiatives.
Kim recognized that the company needed a more robust and flexible solution to capture meaningful data. Her team sponsored the creation and implementation of an enterprise data warehouse strategy for the organization. By implementing both an Enterprise Data Warehouse platform and a Master Data Management process, business leaders across the company can use data in a more predictive way.
Kim believes in building a future for Shaw Industries, her team members, and her community. She was instrumental in launching an Industry Mentoring Program at her Alma Mater, Georgia Tech, which was effective in increasing retention for female engineering students. She is also a sought-after speaker about industry best practices, and she participates in mentoring programs both within the organization, and across corporations with other information management leaders.
Kim also has a strong presence in the community. She launched STARs, a special needs youth ministry at Cartersville First Baptist Church, to meet the needs of multiple families with children on the autism spectrum.
In addition to her work with the STARs ministry, Kim has served as a member of the NW Georgia United Way Young Leaders Society, as a team leader for local mission work in Bartow County, Georgia, a team leader for international mission trips led by teens to serve families in need in Matamoros, Mexico, and a Youth Group leader for 9th grade girls.
START Industrial Maintenance Training Manager
Shaw Industries Group Inc.
“I am passionate about manufacturing because it’s such a dynamic field with various growth opportunities. As a mechanical engineer at Shaw Industries, I am empowered to innovate, solve problems, optimize processes and implement solutions to make things more efficient. I enjoy working in this type of environment.”
As Plant Engineer at Shaw’s laminate manufacturing facility, LaRuthie led efforts that resulted in business results. With a focus on both people and process, she demonstrated both the technical ability and leadership competency required to improve plant operations. Her success led to her promotion to her current position, where she is responsible for training maintenance personnel at more than 70 plants in nine different states.
LaRuthie champions diversity and inclusion, not only through how she interacts with her team and others in the organization, but also by participating in Shaw’s Diversity Council and the Women’s Innovation Network. Through her involvement she encourages dialogue around difficult topics and creates a culture of candor. She uses these opportunities to share her perspective and insights, as well as to understand those of others.
She participates in Shaw College’s recruiting efforts and shares her experience with current student, offering perspective and guidance. LaRuthie is an effective mentor for her team, providing feedback, instruction and developmental guidance to help her staff excel. Fostering STEM learning amongst middle school students, she also volunteers with the Dalton-Whitfield Design/Engineering/Manufacturing Summer Camp, a program designed to teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders learning advanced manufacturing skills.
LaRuthie is a founding member of the Young Professional of Northwest Georgia and served on the Board of Directors for two years. After being selected for the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce’s Emerging Leaders class, LaRuthie was one of several participants to lead the efforts to start this organization to better engage young professionals into the local community. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Chattanooga Scenic City Sickle Cell Corporation.
Senior Process Engineer
Shaw Industries Group Inc.
“I am doing my dream job! At Evergreen Ringgold, we manufacture an engineered resin by recycling post consumer carpet via a highly innovative process. I am passionate about making the process better every day with creativity, collaboration, and continuous improvement. I’m proud to help Shaw build a better, sustainable future.”
In her current role, Erika is leading process development and innovation efforts for one of Shaw’s newest facilities where a group of Shaw Industries’ best and most engaged associates are executing an inaugural proprietary process integral to the sustainability efforts of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer. Her leadership helps to create and define the continuously evolving process as the company strives for continuous improvement.
Erika serves on the Steering Team for the Shaw Women’s Innovation Network (WiN). She confidently presents her ideas and functions well in an environment where influence is not bound by title, making her an ideal candidate for this group. The team relies on her candor and unique insights when making decisions. She also serves on the WiN Outreach Committee, which includes targeted college recruiting for engineering positions and working with the Education Team to deliver business acumen training for women throughout Shaw.
Erika has demonstrated a passion for leading and growing others both within and outside of Shaw Industries. Within the organization, she offers valuable mentoring to employees across the board. External to Shaw Industries, Erika mentors 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls via the STEM Outreach program.
She is also a volunteer with the Southeast Climber’s Coalition. This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving climbing access and environments for present and future generations. Her involvement includes coordinating volunteer and community fundraisers to help support their initiatives.