Sumitomo Celebrates Women in Manufacturing in March

March marks Women's History Month, and on March 8th, we celebrate International Women's Day. The annual celebration is an opportunity for us to celebrate the many contributions women have made to manufacturing from the past to the present.

About Women's History Month

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. The movement spread across the country when other communities began creating their own celebrations. In 1980, the National Women’s History Project (National Women's History Alliance), women’s groups, and historians pushed for national recognition. President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

In 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which officially designated “Women’s History Month.” From 1988 to 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the president to proclaim Women’s History Month each year. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating March as “Women’s History Month.” The month is also celebrated in many other countries during the month of March and October.

Women in Manufacturing

Today, women play a much more significant role in manufacturing than they ever did before. Women of all ages are changing the face of manufacturing, from leadership in the front office to marketing to machine operators & welders on the shop floor. There is a place in manufacturing for women, whether creative, analytical, or process-oriented

Here at Sumitomo Drive Technologies, we're proud to celebrate this month and specifically celebrate the women who work as Machinists, Welders, Inspectors, Engineers, other plant positions, and our first female Vice President.

Here are just a few of the hardworking women at Sumitomo that we would like to share and highlight this Women's History Month.

SMAWomenTop Row: Cherie Werts, Welder | Brittany Silverdahl, VA Inspector | Hailey Schmidt, Machinist Apprentice | Cary Burkett, Machinist


Bottom Row: Qwatrail Weeks, Machinist | Maggon Hobbs, Quality Inspector | Cheryl Weinberger. Welder | Joyce Porter, Machinist

Did you know? Only 1 in 3 manufacturing professionals and 1 in 4 manufacturing leaders are women.*
*Women in Manufacturing Benchmark Study 2020

Sumitomo Celebrates Their First Female Vice President!

Sara Zimmerman

Sara Zimmerman, PMP began her career at Sumitomo in 1997 as a Product Specialist. Since then, she has worked hard in various positions and was promoted to her current role of Vice President of Business Development in 2017. This promotion was a historical moment in Sumitomo history, as she is the first woman Vice President in the company's 55 years of operation. In 2022, Mrs. Zimmerman also celebrates her 25th Anniversary at our company.

Notable Historical Women in the Manufacturing Industry

Throughout history, women in manufacturing paved the way for others and contributed to the industry. A few examples include:

Madame CJ Walker

Madame CJ Walker

Sarah Breddlove, better known as Madam CJ Walker, made her mark on manufacturing by starting her own company and becoming one of the first self-made millionaires in America. She opened her own factory and beauty school in 1908, and the Madame CJ Walker Manufacturing Company produced her cosmetics products and trained saleswomen. With the improvements she made through her own manufacturing business, she was able to boost profits as well as inspire other women to become business owners and get involved in manufacturing. 

Rosie Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

The iconic figure of Rosie the Riveter symbolizes a strong woman with an unwavering spirit. In 1942, this poster was created to help recruit women for open positions in the industrial sector. Rosie the Riveter's fearless pose and the tagline "We Can Do It" inspired and encouraged women to join the industrial workplace during World War II. Mary Doyle Keefe was the inspiration behind the character, and according to The Atlantic, she was unaware that the character was modeled after her until almost 40 years later. Despite Keefe's decision to resign from the industrial workforce, Rosie the Riveter provided women with a new opportunity--one they might not have known existed during that era. Rosie the Riveter is still a role model for women today and an icon for many. 

Stephanie Kwolek

Stephanie Kwolek

Kevlar took the world by storm in 1965 after Stephanie Kwolek created it by accident. According to Amazing Women in History, she was one of the first female chemists at DuPont and volunteered to work on finding a lightweight fiber for tires. Initially, her solution was not as expected, but a new fiber was revealed once it was spun. Kevlar has revolutionized how we make clothing, building materials, airplanes, and so much more. It is known mainly for being used to manufacture bulletproof vests, but it can be used for numerous other purposes. Kevlar has high strength and lightweight properties that no other fiber can match. 

Women & The Future of the Manufacturing Industry

Thanks to technological advances, the Power Transmission industry is experiencing an intensely rapid period of change. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that the coming decade will be the most transformative since the first industrial revolution. The new technologies, new processes and products that go with them, and a renewed focus on domestic manufacturing after the pandemic will create opportunity for our industry--if we have the workforce to make the most of it.

As many as 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will open up by the end of the decade, according to projections by the National Association of Manufacturers and a 2018 study by Deloitte estimates that as many as half of those positions will go unfilled. For this industry to advance and realize its tremendous potential, it must draw more effectively from all communities, especially women.

At Sumitomo, we are looking for qualified candidates to join us in the Power Transmission Industry. With open positions such as machinists to accounts payable specialists—we urge anyone to see the needed qualifications and apply at

About Sumitomo Drive Technologies

At Sumitomo Drive Technologies, we work hand-in-hand with our customers to ensure that their industrial gearboxes, speed reducers, and accessories remain operational for years to come. Many of our products have been in high-speed and harsh environments for years. Clients make the switch to Sumitomo to experience that durability and decrease the amount of unscheduled downtime and maintenance in their facility. We ensure that every unit we design or repair leaves our Unites States' facilities quickly to keep your application up and running. Please call us at 1.800.762.9256 or contact us by email to receive a quote for your facility or information about our industrial gearbox repair services. We will be glad to tell you more about our products and connect you to a representative in your area.

Women in the shop