Quality: Anisa Ali and Lisa Carrothers
Two women share their journeys to manufacturing and quality, and give advice to anyone seeking a career in manufacturing.
by Carli Kistler-Miller
Director of Programs & Marketing, PMPA
Published April 1, 2023
Making parts is one thing. Making sure the parts are perfect is another. e quality department ensures that parts are made to spec, free of burrs and defects, and are properly cleaned. Anisa Ali is the continuous quality improvement (CQI) lead inspector at Pioneer Service Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. Lisa Carrothers is the quality assurance manager at H&R Screw Machine Products Inc. in Reed City, Michigan. Both women share their journey to manufacturing.
Anisa Ali’s Journey
Anisa started her career working at a laundromat, however, Pioneer Service owner, Aneesa Muthana, offered her a part-time position. Anisa enjoyed learning the steps in shipping, inspecting parts and understanding the process of precision machining. Eventually, Anisa became a full-time employee and earned her position as the CQI lead inspector. She is currently training to become a quality inspector, not only visually but also working with technology.
Anisa enjoys the quality department and is eager to make sure parts are shipped correctly and cleanly. She is always looking to learn new skills and loves being involved with continuous improvement. She takes pride in her work. “I love when I am able to identify problems that may occur which reduces the amount of potential errors,” Anisa says. “I know that the parts that ship to our customers are important to many industries. I love that we make a difference.”
Lisa Carrothers’ Journey
Lisa started her career as a waitress and entered manufacturing at a facility that produced plastic-injected parts. She was then hired at another facility as a shift leader. Soon after that facility closed, Lisa took a temporary position at H&R Screw Machine Products. In 1997, she was hired full time and worked in the secondary department. Five years later, she was asked to join the shipping department and, after a short time, was promoted to the shipping manager. During this time, she took some business courses in college thinking it would advance her career; however, it was Tom Halladay, co-owner of H&R Screw Machine Products, who gave her a chance. He was looking for a quality manager and asked Lisa.
Lisa had concerns that she didn’t have quality experience and Tom chuckled and replied, “What do you think you’ve been doing the last 17 years?” With that confidence boost, Lisa took the position and loves it. Lisa attends PMPA National Technical Conferences to further her skill set and network. She is also a member and former chair on the PMPA Quality Committee. She loves that she is seeing more and more women at PMPA events and serving on committees.
Advice to Women (or Anyone) Seeking a Career in Manufacturing
Anisa’s advice to those seeking a career in manufacturing is “Keep in mind that you are capable and can be as talented as anyone else in manufacturing. If your passion is manufacturing, there’s nothing that can stop you other than yourself. Find mentors that will help you in achieving your goal.” Anisa adds, “Be yourself. Don’t try to change yourself in order to fit in. Know your worth. Although it is a male-dominated industry, know that you’re making a difference and that many women have built successful careers in manufacturing.
Lisa’s advice to those seeking a career in manufacturing is “Don’t give up, Try! Try! Try! There are many areas in manufacturing today. Technology is playing a huge role in quality. Just a few years ago it was rare for a small company
to own a CMM or Vision system. We need engineers, setup technicians, programmers, machinists and the list goes on and on. Considering a career in manufacturing usually involves no college courses and most companies are willing to train you as H&R Screw was willing to train me.”
Carli Kistler-Miller, MBA has over 25 years of experience with
communications, event/meeting planning, marketing, writing and
operations. Email: gro.apmp@rellimc — Website: pmpa.org.