ABI Manufacturing Leaders Recognized Nationally

July 22, 2021 | Iowa Association of Business and Industry

The Manufacturing Institute recently named Iowans Lori Schaefer-Weaton and Cindy Barnett to its 2021 STEP Ahead Award Honorees and Emerging Leaders. Schaefer-Weaton and Barnett were among 130 women The Manufacturing Institute honored this year “for outstanding achievements in their companies, communities and industry.”

Schaefer-Weaton, a past ABI Board Chair, is Agri-industrial Plastics Co.’s president and Barnett is the manufacturing manager of metal supply for Arconic Corporation.

The Manufacturing Institute praised Schaefer-Weaton’s “tenacity, heart and brains required to be an effective leader.” The Manufacturing Institute also cited Schaefer-Weaton’s work on ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, which included “increasing the projected growth of five manufacturing-related careers by more than 10 percent each.” Schaefer-Weaton also serves on the Iowa Innovation Council (IIC). The IIC is one of several boards under the Iowa Economic Development Authority. It is an advisory group of business leaders, public universities and community colleges across the state all striving to boost innovation and commercialization by current and future Iowa businesses.

The Manufacturing Institute describes Barnett as “the perfect example of how women can succeed in manufacturing,” citing her career history which started in the mailroom at Arconic Corporation. Right now, she serves as the second in command at Arconic Davenport Works, which is an aluminum production plant and is on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of the Heartland (JA). Barnett previously received the Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Award from Women Unlimited leadership training and currently serves as a mentor to women in manufacturing at Arconic.

ABI’s Elevate Advanced Manufacturing Initiative is a statewide campaign promoting careers and educational opportunities in advanced manufacturing. The campaign has previously awarded scholarships to recent Iowa high school graduates entering a manufacturing-related course of study at one of the state’s 15 community colleges.

Other ABI member companies Included on the list of STEP Ahead Award Honorees and Emerging Leaders were:

  • 3M
  • The Boeing Company
  • John Deere
  • Caterpillar
  • Whirlpool Corporation
  • International Paper
  • Emerson
  • The Procter & Gamble Company
  • Smithfield Foods
  • Cargill