Manufacturing Week: MI woman shares how women are changing the manufacturing industry

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 8:40 PM EDT
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PERRY, Mich. (WILX) - Gabrielle Feighner-Baker has been looking forward to the slower pace of fall business, as the boating season comes to an end. As a third-generation business owner of Feighner Boat Lifts & Docks, Gabrielle is one of the many women in the manufacturing industry, changing the face of manufacturing companies.

However, changing the face of a company is much easier than changing people’s opinions of women in the industry.

“That is a really hard pill to swallow because obviously you do know what you’re doing. We’ve had people ask specifically, like I don’t like your answer can I speak to a man, yup that still happens,” says Gabrielle.

But she doesn’t let old stigmas interfere with her work and success. Along with her father, Gabrielle and her sister run their business in a way that is changing the industry. She says, as the industry changes, women are more often becoming manufacturing leaders.

“We’re definitely of the mindset that everybody is bringing something to the table,” Gabrielle says. “It is super important to have women here. We are the only company as far as I know that has females that are working in the dock industry and I think that it makes our customers more comfortable.”

Her employee, Kameron Brown, says that although manufacturing is challenging, the outcome makes their hard work worthwhile.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it, making one thing. And in the end, it’s awesome when people get their products and they’re happy with it,” Brown says.

And as far as stigmas go, Gabrielle is letting her hard work prove that she’s working right where she belongs.

“Usually we just show them up and kill it and do an awesome job. You know, I hope we change peoples’ minds about it.”

Michigan has been a leader in manufacturing in the U.S. for decades. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared this week as manufacturing week- recognizing some of our states hard working people in the industry.

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