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Creating Quality and Engineering Excellence in Manufacturing

In the world of manufacturing, female leaders are carving out significant paths of success, bringing fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the industry. As we delve into the stories of these remarkable women, it becomes evident that their influence extends far beyond the shop floor. From the boardrooms to the production lines, they are driving change, fostering inclusivity, and reshaping the narrative of what it means to lead in manufacturing.

Lastly, our series will culminate in exploring female leadership in manufacturing. We will feature five women who hold executive positions, lead manufacturing teams and drive strategic decision-making. These leaders are steering their companies toward success and paving the way for future generations of women in the industry. We will delve into their journeys, their challenges, and their strategies to navigate a traditionally male-dominated sector.


Lee Norris, Plant Manager, HSM Solutions

Lee Norris

“I believe being flexible, courageous, and willing to embrace challenges can greatly contribute to personal growth, especially in the dynamic manufacturing world.”
– Lee Norris

After graduating from East Carolina with a degree in criminal justice, Lee Norris landed her first job as a pricer, responsible for pricing gasoline for a large convenience store chain. Norris’ career path started in pricing, but she soon moved to logistics then transitioned to planning and customer service in the automotive industry. More recently she landed in her current position as the HSM Solutions Triad-Fabco plant manager in High Point, North Carolina. “I’ve worked in the manufacturing industry for seven years and been with HSM for four years. Initially starting in a different role as a production planner. I have transitioned into the plant manager role, which I have been in for about a year. I never thought I would be working in the manufacturing industry but when I found out that this could be a path for me, I found it both exciting and challenging. Growing up, I was fortunate to have women in my family who held non-traditional roles, greatly influencing my path toward manufacturing success.” recalled Norris. 
Norris’ journey isn’t without challenges. “In many roles, women can encounter conscious and unconscious bias. When I walk into a room and introduce myself as a plant manager, I have heard responses such as “oh, you’re a woman – don’t worry, that’s ok,” which can immediately make you feel like people don’t take you as seriously or assume you won’t be as good at the job. Overcoming these prejudices requires confidence in your abilities and hard work to prove yourself,” Norris noted.
When asked what it takes to excel in the role of plant manager, Norris stated, “I consider myself driven, goal-oriented and adventurous at times, traits that have been with me since I was young. I’ve always been the one to push boundaries and seek out new experiences. This adventurous spirit complements my ability to thrive in what I would describe as a ‘structured chaos’ environment, a common scenario in manufacturing within its day-to-day operations. I believe being flexible, courageous, and willing to embrace challenges can greatly contribute to personal growth, especially in the dynamic manufacturing world.”
Throughout her career, Norris’ resilience, despite personal challenges, has paved the way for her success. “One of my biggest challenges in reaching where I am today has been more of a personal struggle, balancing my home life as a single mother with the demands of career growth. Climbing the ladder often requires long hours and sacrifices, such as missing field trips with your kids. However, I consider myself fortunate; my family has been incredibly supportive, enabling me to navigate these challenges. The companies I’ve worked for have embraced flexibility and prioritized work-life balance. They understand that family comes first, and this supportive environment has been instrumental in my journey,” Norris said. 
With a strong sense of fulfillment, Norris reflected on the evolution within the facility she led and the dedicated team behind it. “I take pride in the transformation within the facility where I lead a strong team. Developing this team has been a key focus and we are now witnessing the positive outcomes reflected in our KPIs. Across the board, we’ve seen a 20% increase in efficiencies. Safety incidents have nearly vanished, showcasing a much more safety-focused culture. Our on-time delivery to customers has reached 100%, significantly improving from past struggles. I am truly proud of the accomplishments of this team,” stated Norris.
Norris believes we need to focus on training and promoting from within organizations and getting girls involved in STEM at a young age. “Current leaders in manufacturing need to challenge themselves to identify potential female leaders within their organizations. This may involve confronting biases and reevaluating traditionally female-focused roles, such as customer service, to recognize leadership skills beyond job titles. Investing in the development of these individuals is crucial.” Norris continued, “We also must start early by providing girls from elementary school through college opportunities to engage in STEM-based coursework. It’s about offering education and experience in areas like engineering and math. However, simply having this coursework isn’t enough. Many, like myself, may not realize that manufacturing is a viable career option. So, we need to bridge this gap by highlighting post-coursework job opportunities and making it known that manufacturing is an option. Ultimately, I believe addressing both sides of the equation—bringing in new talent and recognizing the potential within existing teams—is key to increasing the number of women in manufacturing.”


Jasmine Cox-Wade, Executive Director, Textile Technology Center

Jasmine Cox-Wade

“Women bring a distinct blend of technical expertise and emotional intelligence.”
– Jasmine Cox-Wade

Jasmine Cox-Wade is the executive director of the Textile Technology Center in Belmont, NC. Cox-Wade’s journey began at NC State University’s Wilson College of Textiles, where she earned her undergraduate degree in textile technology. After graduation, she stumbled upon the Textile Technology Center while driving and that serendipitous encounter marked the beginning of her career path. “I started in 2015 as a physical testing specialist, working extensively with lab quality testing. This role gave me a solid foundation in the intricacies of manufacturing processes. As I delved deeper into the field, I transitioned into project management, where I discovered my passion for research and development,” stated Cox-Wade.
This experience allowed Cox-Wade to merge her academic knowledge with practical manufacturing and process improvement applications. Fueling her passion for learning, she pursued a master’s degree in textiles from NC State in 2020. She continued to grow in the realm of product development. Eventually, she transitioned to academia, where she now serves as the chair of the organization’s associate’s degree program in textile technology while managing her team at the Textile Technology Center. “My current role combines manufacturing, product development, and academics. Embracing a commitment to lifelong learning, I embarked on a third academic endeavor and am pursuing a Ph.D. in the textile technology management program at the Wilson College of Textiles,” said Cox-Wade.
Cox-Wade’s interest in textiles can be traced back to her father’s advice. “What initially sparked my interest in the textile industry was my dad. He told me about the modern complexities of textiles beyond traditional clothing and upholstery. I learned about innovative fields such as biomedical textiles and wearable technology, which fascinated me,” expressed Cox-Wade. When she started her freshman year at NC State, she enrolled in the chemical engineering program to create products that improve people’s lives. “My father introduced me to the College of Textiles and took me to an open house towards the end of my sophomore year. Intrigued by the possibilities, I switched to the College of Textiles. What drew me in were the small class sizes and the freedom to pursue product development, aligning with my passion for innovation and creating tangible solutions,” said Cox-Wade.
Cox-Wade had many female mentors, most notably one of the technical advisors for her Ph.D., “Dr. Julie Willoughby is someone I deeply admire in the textile industry. Initially, she was my academic advisor when I transitioned from engineering to the College of Textiles. Witnessing her career progression has been truly inspiring. From working with established brands to venturing into startup companies and eventually starting her own business, Dr. Willoughby’s journey showcases the diverse paths one can take in textiles. Whether within manufacturing, innovative brands, entrepreneurship, or academia, her story demonstrates the breadth of opportunities in the field. Seeing her successfully navigating various roles and ventures motivates me as I forge my career path,” responded Cox-Wade.
Cox-Wade’s Ph.D. research focus revolves around sustainability in textiles, particularly sustainable fibers and their processability. “Sustainability has become a significant topic, with discussions on green textiles, hemp, regenerated cellulosic like lyocell, and other eco-friendly products. Despite this, the industry and manufacturers have slowly integrated these new materials into production. My studies aim to address this challenge. I’ll be examining the obstacles preventing manufacturers from adopting these sustainable materials. Is it a lack of education and awareness of processing techniques for technicians and machine operators? Or is it primarily a cost-related issue? Understanding these barriers will be the focal point of my research,” explained Cox-Wade. 
Throughout her career, Cox-Wade has gained an appreciation for the traits women bring to manufacturing. “It took me some time to realize women’s unique and essential role in manufacturing, even within an R&D facility like mine where we interact with manufacturers, global suppliers and vendors. Women bring a distinct blend of technical expertise and emotional intelligence,” Cox-Wade continued, “While technical know-how is crucial for understanding processes and innovating, our strong emotional intelligence allows us to manage and navigate diverse personalities effectively. I only fully appreciated this skill set when I graduated with my textile degree. I initially focused on the technical aspects, assuming that was sufficient. However, in the industry, I’ve come to rely heavily on my people skills—knowing how to read a room and communicate with individuals at different levels, whether they’re upper management or technicians on the floor. Women’s ability to adapt their communication styles makes us well-rounded leaders on the plant floor or in the boardroom.”
Cox-Wade says she’s had the privilege to work on one of the most fulfilling projects involving the Textile Technology Center’s grants with the Department of Defense, particularly through SBIR or STTR grants. “These projects have a direct impact on the lives of our soldiers. It starts with ideation, collaborating with the DoD team to understand their product needs and then working internally to create prototypes and iterate on designs. Whether scaling up the idea for production with a manufacturer or achieving desired results in the product test lab, the ultimate success is incredibly rewarding. These projects offer a complete picture, from concept to tangible impact. The variety of companies we engage with at the textile center is astounding. We can work with anyone from individuals with innovative ideas to Fortune 500 companies, each presenting unique challenges and opportunities for growth,” expressed Cox-Wade. 
For women currently pursuing engineering or STEM degrees, Cox-Wade’s advice is to focus on the broad opportunities within manufacturing, especially in advanced manufacturing and textiles. Cox-Wade claimed, “Many mistakenly believe that manufacturing only involves working on the plant floor with machines but it’s far more expansive. You can delve into research, development, project management, sales, marketing and more, all with a background in manufacturing. The key advice I would offer is to avoid limiting yourself. I made the same mistake during my undergraduate years, assuming I’d never work in manufacturing. I dismissed the idea of working with machines like spinning frames. Yet, here I am, thoroughly enjoying my work. It’s crucial to stay open to the industry’s possibilities, conduct thorough research, and explore the companies in your area that you might not yet be familiar with. Understanding how your current program of study aligns with manufacturing opportunities is also essential, even if you’re not in a formal manufacturing-focused program.” 
Cox-Wade also advises women to be their own advocates in their careers. “This is the most crucial step and I wish I had known this earlier in my career. Learning to advocate for yourself is a skill that may take time to develop but it’s essential. If you desire to learn, grow or pursue a new position, actively go after it. Don’t wait for someone else to recognize your potential; create those opportunities yourself. Be bold, ask questions and plan. You must be your own best advocate, especially in industries where traditional norms may favor male colleagues. While they might have opportunities presented to them simply because of their gender, as a woman, you might not have the same automatic advantages. Therefore, it’s crucial to be proactive and create your path forward,” stated Cox-Wade.


Ashley Carriker, Director of Operations, Queen City Engineering

Ashley Carriker

“As we’ve expanded, my role has evolved to overseeing all operations.”
– Ashley Carriker

Ashley Carriker, the director of operations, is one half of the husband-and-wife duo running the professional engineering firm Queen City Engineering in Concord, NC. “We are a husband and wife team; my husband, a professional engineer, decided to venture into self-employment in 2015 due to his involvement in product development and R&D, believing he could create value by starting his own company. Simultaneously, I became a stay-at-home mom, cherishing the time with our son. While my husband was proficient in the engineering aspects of the business, managing a company was unfamiliar territory for him. Drawing from my background in asset management, particularly in student housing property development where I oversaw the setup and operations of various companies, I had the expertise needed. Recognizing this, my husband approached me with the proposition, ‘Would you like to be a part of this?'”
“At that time, I felt like I was losing my mind at home, despite believing that my life’s purpose was to be a stay-at-home mom and raise my beautiful kids. What I had envisioned as a magical and fulfilling journey had left me feeling trapped, both in my house and in a career I had worked hard for. This realization led me to join my husband in his entrepreneurial venture” They began working from home, utilizing their garage until it was time to move into prototyping and low-volume manufacturing. “Although neither of us had prior experience with this kind of hands-on production, we had witnessed failures in other companies my husband had worked for, and we were determined to avoid those pitfalls. So, we invested in a manufacturing facility, an old textile mill we rented at the time.” Despite its grim conditions resembling a dungeon, they knew it was their starting point and they were willing to do whatever it took to get our business off the ground.
Carriker’s role has evolved over the years. She expressed that wearing many hats is essential in their small business. “In the beginning, I was hands-on in the shop alongside Rex, involved in deploying and cutting parts and running the laser, eager to learn all facets of the business. As we’ve expanded, my role has evolved to overseeing all operations. I manage our ISO 9001 certification, handling all related documentation and I also lead the production department. This involves scheduling, managing incoming and outgoing jobs, ensuring strong customer relations, and addressing any issues that arise, from customer complaints to on-the-floor problems. Additionally, I handle all accounting and general business management tasks. However, as we continue to grow, I plan to gradually step back from direct production management and focus more on the overall documentation and strategic direction of the company.”
The pair began acquiring machinery and hiring staff, quickly realizing their newness and inexperience in the field. As a result, we made plenty of mistakes but learned from each one. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “The pandemic was a turning point for us, as we started working closely with the public transportation division of North Carolina. They approached us with a clear need: they required driver barriers developed, manufactured, and installed promptly. It was a challenge unlike any we had faced before, as our engineering business had stalled due to the chaos and shutdowns. Despite this, we embraced the opportunity and began designing, manufacturing, and installing these barriers. Now, our product is sold internationally, a testament to our ability to adapt and thrive despite adversity.”
Carriker says the bus barrier project is the proudest moment of her career so far. “Surprisingly, although initially unexpected and somewhat amusing, our journey with driver barriers has transformed our business trajectory. I never imagined myself working on a public bus, let alone designing products for them,” Carriker said. Originally, Queen City Engineering didn’t intend to manufacture their products; they planned to design products for others and send them off. However, circumstances led them to create their own driver barriers. “My husband’s innovation in this area even earned him an award through the MEP. We’ve achieved significant success, grossing around $7-8 million in driver barrier sales over the past three years, expanding our business into new safety engineering and product development realms. This unexpected opportunity shifted our entire company focus. Without that initial call asking us to create these barriers, we wouldn’t have discovered our niche, leading to a complete business transformation.”
Carriker says their ultimate goal is to divide both companies into standalone entities; with the engineering company continuing to support the transit division, focusing on developing more helpful products. “Often, we find customers fabricating items in-house due to the need for standard products, so we aim to create solutions based on their needs. This approach will expand our product range for both sides of the company. The key to growth on the engineering side lies in expanding our team of engineers, as we now have the customer base to support such growth and aim to continue expanding in this direction,” Carriker stated.
Most importantly, Carriker gets to share her passion with her children. Highlighting that motherhood and professional leadership don’t need to be mutually exclusive. “My kids find what I do incredibly cool. When they come in and see us making something, it’s a whole new experience. They love running the press, using the brake and pushing buttons – things I never got to do as a child. Sharing this with my children, their friends and even the children of our welders is so rewarding. They all get so excited about it. It’s a way for us to share what we do as a family with our kids and others, hopefully inspiring future generations,” Carriker said proudly. 


Blandine Carton, Director of Operations, NCFI

Blandine Carton

“It’s important not to be shy or scared; if someone says you can’t do it, don’t listen to them. Anyone can pursue engineering…”
– Blandine Carton

Born and raised in France, Blandine Carton, the director of operations at NCFI Polyurethanes in Mount Airy, NC, always knew she wanted to be in manufacturing. “I have a scientific mindset; I’m drawn to data and numbers. Problem-solving has always intrigued me, and I thoroughly enjoy understanding how things work. This curiosity and practicality led me to pursue a career in manufacturing because I knew it was where my strengths lie. Additionally, my upbringing played a role in shaping this interest. My dad, an electrical professor, instilled in me the value of hands-on work. He had various hobbies and projects, so we often found ourselves dismantling and creating new furniture or tackling other tasks at home. These experiences further solidified my passion for understanding and building things,” Carton reminisced. 
After graduating from high school in 1994, she attended an Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs (ENSI), a high-ranking public engineering school in France. While there, she focused on mechanical and general engineering, specializing in textiles and fibers. Typically, a three-year program, she completed two years there before opting for a European master’s program. “In my engineering class, there were only seven females out of 30 students. This gender ratio reflected my earlier experiences in preparatory school, where there were also more boys than girls. However, the ratio was slightly more balanced there, perhaps around 70 to 30 or 60 to 40. However, when it came to the engineering school, the number of female students dropped even lower,” stated Carton. 
After completing her studies, she headed to Paris for an internship at Faurecia, an automotive equipment supplier renowned for their work on automotive interiors. This internship lasted six months, and upon its completion, she officially graduated with two degrees: one from her original engineering school and the other from the European master’s program she participated in. “I pursued this path because of my passion for travel and interest in exploring diverse cultures. Moreover, I was drawn to the technical aspects of the industry. I saw greater potential for innovation and development in technical applications compared to traditional textiles, despite having nothing against the fashion side of things. With various options available, I envisioned myself more in the technical field, ultimately leading me to choose this path,” Carton reflected.
At that time, she decided to travel to the US to assist the organization I was working for with starting manufacturing operations and training the staff to ensure a thorough understanding of the process. “I was drawn to this opportunity in the US because I wanted to challenge myself in a different aspect of an organization, particularly focusing on manufacturing and leadership. While involved in cross-functional and coordination activities, I had yet to take on a managerial role with direct reports. I felt the need to challenge myself and do something different, which led me to transition into production and manufacturing,” Carton replied. 
She went on to further her career as a production manager. “The significant change for me was stepping into a leadership role, especially in a setting with five shifts running 24/7, mainly consisting of male employees,” Carton continued. “This presented a challenge I was eager to tackle, as I was around 28. I wanted to understand how to manage such a dynamic and diverse workforce effectively. This experience occupied me for the next few years as I delved into leading and overseeing operations.”
After working in France for a few years as a production manager, Carton officially immigrated to the US in 2008. “I had to adapt to a different working style, realizing it wasn’t the French approach anymore. Even though we’re from Western countries, our upbringing differs significantly. People have unique approaches to work and various perspectives. Despite these differences, I found that working with diverse individuals was rewarding. I firmly believe that people are our greatest asset, so I made it a priority to understand and adapt to them. This understanding allowed us to come together effectively and work towards achieving our common goals,” Carton stated.
In 2015, the vice president of operations who initially brought Carton to the US, had left the company a few years prior. He reached out to her to join him at a different company, which turned out to be NCFI. Carton explained. “At that time, he was the President of NCFI and offered me a position. We discussed the role, and I ultimately became the Director of Operations. In this role, I oversee production, manufacturing, and maintenance, much like my previous responsibilities.”
Carton considers establishing the NCFI Houston plant in 2018 one of her most significant achievements. “I spearheaded the Houston project with just one other person. It was a daunting task, managing everything for a brand-new plant. Complicating matters was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; we purchased the green field in ’18, began construction in ’19, and started operations in 2020. Ensuring everything aligned smoothly with suppliers was crucial, and there were numerous moving parts to coordinate,” Carton stated. Despite the challenges, the start-up went remarkably well, and they quickly achieved our production targets. “It was an intense experience, with considerable pressure at times, as we understood this was a pivotal step in expanding the plant. As a result, our production volumes have doubled. This success in production is something I take pride in. Additionally, I am proud of the relationships I’ve built with the people I’ve worked with. The human aspect of our operations is incredibly important to me,” Carton remarked.  
Carton says the main challenges I faced were twofold: being a woman and being French, which often led to issues with accents and misunderstandings. “Some people would try to use my accent against me, claiming I didn’t understand what was said or twisting discussions. To address this, I took a straightforward approach. After every meeting, I would send detailed notes to everyone involved, stating that if anything was incorrect, they were welcome to return to me for adjustments. This ensured that everything was documented, leaving no room for misinterpretation. If they didn’t come back to me, it was assumed we agreed,” Carton explained.  
She also faced doubt due to others’ bias that a woman couldn’t fill the role of director of operations. Carton said, “One supervisor candidly shared his initial doubts about me becoming his boss. He perceived that I lacked experience. However, he acknowledged that despite his initial concerns, I proved to excel in my role.”
Carton says women should be willing to take risks in their careers, especially if they desire to work in engineering, regardless of the industry. Carton stated, “There are always talented people willing to help along the way. You’ll find mentors and coaches who will guide you through your career path, offering valuable advice on what to do and what not to do. They will provide feedback on how you can improve and suggest areas to explore. It’s important not to be shy or scared; if someone says you can’t do it, don’t listen to them. Anyone can pursue engineering—it’s all about your personality and mindset. You can achieve your goals with the will and determination.”


Lori Trotter, Business Manager, Trotters Sewing Company

Lori Trotter

“One of the greatest aspects of women in manufacturing is how we’re there for each other.”
– Lori Trotter

Lori Trotter , the business manager at Trotters Sewing Company in Asheboro, North Carolina has made an invaluable impact on the organization since she started. “The biggest part of my job revolves around the business side of things. While my husband focuses on the production side, which aligns more with his background, I handle various aspects such as ensuring everyone gets paid, assisting the HR department with any arising situations, and managing social media & other outreach for the companies,” Trotter said.
Trotter’s career has been far from a straight line. She’s “been in and out of the company for about 22 years and has a background in English and communications. “When my kids were little, I worked part-time, mostly staying at home with them. However, we often visited the office to see their dad and grandma. During these visits, I would end up helping out with various tasks. I initially started my career running a weekly newspaper. Later, my uncle reached out to me about starting a newspaper in Denton called The Denton Orator. He explained that their community relied heavily on the newspaper for news, and it was closing down. So, I helped him start The Denton Orator from scratch, and I’m proud to say it’s still running.”
Trotters Sewing Company was initially founded by Lori’s husband’s parents, Barbara and Jerry Trotter. When they first started the business, it was known as B. J. Con-Sew, Inc. and many still refer to it by that name. However, in 2018, we decided to transition to Trotters Sewing Company to reflect changes in ownership and management better. “My husband Todd Trotter and I are now primarily responsible for the company, as his parents are fully retired. B. J. Con-Sew was a combination of Barbara and Jerry’s names (B for Barbara, J for Jerry) and ‘Con Sew’ for contract sewing. If you ask Barbara Trotter, she’ll say the ‘BJ’ stands for Barbara Jean, leaving out the ‘Jerry’ part,” Trotter jokes. 
The company has been woman-owned from the beginning, with both Barbara and Jerry having backgrounds in textiles. Barbara had experience sewing for Klausner when a company approached them to sew certain products exclusively. They started small, in a 600-square-foot facility, focusing solely on sewing mattress covers. Barbara’s familiarity with sewing made this a natural venture for them. As they gained more customers and their reputation grew, the business expanded. Over the years, it evolved into a 60,000-square-foot facility. In its prime, before the 2008 economic downturn, it had around 125 to 150 employees.
Lori’s involvement with Trotters Sewing started as a family-oriented endeavor. Jerry and Barbara still manually handled accounting tasks using old ledgers when her daughters were young and at home. “I introduced an accounting system, Peachtree, to streamline the process as it was becoming time-consuming. This marked the beginning of my role in the business, as the first computer was brought in specifically for accounting purposes,” Trotter stated.
Trotter says she has a female mentor who has been a guiding light when she needed it.”Her name is Teresa Bouchonnett, and I have such admiration for her. Even now, I stay in touch with her. Teresa was crucial in helping me learn the ins and outs of bidding on government contracts. We spent considerable time working on this together, and I could always count on her support. I’d call her and she’d say, ‘Let me finish this, Lori and I’ll call you right back.’ Having that kind of mutual support was invaluable. One of the greatest aspects of women in manufacturing is how we’re there for each other. We can have open conversations, offer support, and share experiences, fostering a sense of camaraderie, understanding, and compassion,” Trotter remarked.
Trotter’s proudest venture is her ReTexstyled business. At ReTexstyled their main focus is on creating bags and other products using the scrap materials they accumulate at Trotters Sewing. From leather scraps off the cutting table to upholstery fabrics and threads, they make sure to utilize every bit of material they have. “Over the years, we’ve also gathered deadstock fabrics from various sources that would otherwise be discarded. Instead of letting these materials go to waste, we repurpose them into our products. Last year, in 2023, we planned to expand our company by building a store in the front to showcase our brand and products. However, when we received the quote for the construction, we realized it wasn’t feasible. That’s when we began exploring options around downtown Asheboro, an area we love for its growth and vibrancy. Fortunately, a building became available, and my husband and I purchased it. Now, we have a retail store in downtown Asheboro where we sell ReTexstyled items alongside local artisanal products,” Trotter explained.  
“Starting ReTexstyled was a bit unexpected, to be honest. It wasn’t a meticulously planned venture; we decided to go for it. It felt like a leap of faith in many ways, but my daughters were incredibly enthusiastic about it. They even helped in naming the brand. With three girls, they’ve been invaluable in generating product ideas and helping us figure out what we can make and sell. Witnessing our accomplishments has been rewarding, especially since ReTexstyled is a woman-owned company. Seeing my kids proud of it brings me immense joy and pride. It was a dream we discussed for five years, and finally making it happen has been a significant milestone for us,” Trotter said proudly.
Trotter hopes that ReTexstyled will continue to thrive in the future. Trotter commented, “As Todd and I are in our 50s, we’ve seen our three daughters pursue diverse careers. One is studying to become an embalmer, which is a unique path compared to the others. Our middle daughter works with X-rays and CT scans, while the youngest is passionate about construction management. She aspires to build green buildings and is like our little engineer who constructs things. Despite their different paths, I believe they are interested in ReTexstyled and perhaps one of them will take the lead in the business at some point. Our journey with ReTexstyled has been a topic of discussion at our family table, and I think we’ve inspired our daughters. They’ve seen us overcome challenges and build something meaningful, which has likely influenced their desire to pursue things they feel passionate about. Especially for my youngest, who is a minority in the construction management field, I believe our example has shown her that it’s okay to march to the beat of her own drum.”
Trotter said if there is anything women take from her story she wants them to know there are abundant job opportunities, especially for women in manufacturing and trade careers. Trotter stated, “The possibilities are wide open with a growing number of women entering these fields. We’re facing a shortage in many skilled trades, so why shouldn’t we step up to fill those roles? My daughter, for instance, dreams of one day building a building or contributing to construction projects. Anyone with an interest in manufacturing or understanding how things are made has the chance to pursue these careers. Women increasingly ask themselves, ‘Why can’t I do that?’ Whether in manufacturing, construction or even auto repair, women are breaking into traditionally male-dominated fields. It’s an empowering time for women, with more opportunities available now than ever.”