This blog is part of a series for Women’s History Month to highlight women who are making an impact on the manufacturing industry.
Sarah Dvorak didn’t originally plan on a career in manufacturing, but her first career was not a good fit. Luckily, the opportunity to be part of a volunteer focus team brainstorming ways to reduce scrap and rework at a manufacturing plant led her in a new direction, and she’s been in manufacturing ever since.
Dvorak is currently the Director of Assembly and Test at Danfoss Power Solutions, a global manufacturer of hydraulic pumps and motors located in Ames, Iowa. She also serves on the advisory board of the Center for Industrial Research and Service, the Iowa MEP Center. Dvorak has been at Danfoss for three years – her first day was March 16, 2020. It was, by far, the most unique onboarding she has ever had. When she presents new employee orientation now, she jokes that she can answer any question about Danfoss except what it like was before the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her role at Danfoss, she leads the team in achieving all its plant goals. More importantly, she focuses on making customers happy with the quality and delivery of its products. Dvorak also tries to ensure that her employees are happy and enjoy coming to work. Her goal is for Danfoss employees not just to have fun at work, but also to understand that what they do every day makes a difference to the company’s customers.
What Dvorak likes most about working in manufacturing is “the excitement of seeing the product you make go down an assembly line and ship to a customer. You can see and touch the product – making you proud of where you work. You also know that unit is going to make a customer very happy, which, in turn, will make their customers very happy. There is no such thing as a typical day. Every day is different with its own set of challenges and successes!”
Like most working moms with young kids, Dvorak faced challenges balancing work and family. As a woman in manufacturing, she was fortunate to work for people who understood that she could blend work and personal life – and maintain a very good balance. “Without those leaders – I’m not sure how I would have handled it,” says Dvorak. With the right support, Dvorak thinks there is no reason for women to not pursue a career in manufacturing. “Manufacturing is for anyone who wants to solve problems, serve customers, make improvements and know what we do matters every day,” Dvorak says.