Women in Manufacturing: Demco
22 Oct 2020
Manufacturing, News, Spotlight, Workforce, Iowa, Spencer
October is Manufacturing Month and the Corridor is excited to share a few features on Women in Manufacturing throughout our region over the next couple of weeks! Today’s feature highlights a few of the manufacturing stars at Demco Products in Spencer.
Carrie Engelkes is an Engineering Clerical Assistant at Demco. She’s been at her position for the past six years, but is more than willing to assist in other areas of the business as needed. The growing manufacturing industry that is constantly moving and providing opportunities to improve or learn new skills is what brought Engelkes to her career in manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is a very hands-on, creative and rewarding opportunity,” says Engelkes. “Although manufacturing consists of routine, it also involves problem solving to make products stand out from competitors.”
In addition to the positive atmosphere and team members she works with every day, Engelkes says the best part of her career is the excitement of watching the products develop.
“It’s exciting to see a product take shape from the beginning to the end. It’s satisfying to see a finished product in action and be able to say, ‘we made that.’”
Outside of work, Engelkes enjoys reading and spending time with her three children.
Kristi (Kris) Johnson also has been with Demco for six years. She and her husband moved to Spencer to be closer to their kids, and she had worked with Demco purchasing parts at her previous job with Aluma. The salesperson she worked with spoke highly of the company, and she applied. Now Johnson gets to work with a variety of people as well as be a part of building Demco’s products.
“The job is very satisfying. No day is the same. There are many different areas that could be a good fit,” Johnson says. “The jobs in manufacturing are not just for men. It takes people who enter data, sales, engineers, welders, painters, packaging, logistics just to mention a few. One needs to just be willing to try. I did and I like where I am.”
In her free time, Johnson spends time with her family, sews, crochets, travels, and enjoys outdoor recreation.
Kathy Kunzmann is an Inventory Associate with Demco. The pay is what originally drew her to a manufacturing career and now, “I have been a purchasing agent for over forty years,” Kunzmann says. “It has been the most challenging and enjoyable position I have had in my career. What other job can you talk all day, spend lots of money, and they pay you to do it!”
The best part of her job is the people she works with and that the job is never boring. For those considering a job in manufacturing, Kunzmann says to check the benefits and, “Today is your Tomorrow!”
Pam Miller has been at Demco for 20 years. She enjoys that she gets to work close to home with good pay and benefits. The best part of her career, though, is that every day is a new challenge.
She enjoys “working for a versatile company that is constantly adapting to the changes in the agricultural and trailer market.”
For those looking at getting a job in manufacturing, Miller suggests, “you should have good work ethics – dependable, reliable and willing to work. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn something new, build confidence and get paid doing it.”
Margaret Schiernbeck works in Production Scheduling and Inventory Control at Demco. She’s lived in Spencer and worked in manufacturing for 33 years. Starting at Witco for 10 years, when the company moved manufacturing production to Mexico, Schiernbeck found a job at Maurer Manufacturing, which became Demco Products years later.
“Working in a manufacturing setting has been a positive experience for me,” Schiernbeck says. “If you can join a manufacturing company, I would expect you to find it as challenging and rewarding as I have.”
From the receiving department, through the production process, and all the way through shipping, Schiernbeck wants more people to know the pride manufacturing employees have in their work and the products they create. “There is a sense of pride throughout a manufacturing setting.”
The best part of her job, though, is the people she gets to work with.
“I have always been able to say my co-workers are the best part of my job, interacting with co-workers that strive to provide quality manufactured parts and equipment each of us can be proud of for our customers,” Schiernbeck says.
Variety is also a plus.
“I wish more people realized that working in manufacturing can be anything but boring,” she shares. “If a manufacturing company produces the same product day in or day out, or offers a vast line of different products, you will find each workday a little different than the next, keeping your work life interesting.”
Nicole (Nikki) Schnell has also been with Demco for over 20 years. She has experience in a variety of positions including sales, customer service, accounts receivable, shipping and receiving, IT, purchasing and scheduling, but her primary role is Engineering Clerical Assistant. Schnell enjoys helping out wherever she is needed.
“I love the diversity of what I do,” Schnell shares. “I do so much more than just work as an Engineering Clerical Assistant. I assist multiple departments daily. Whether I am troubleshooting a program issue, doing research, collecting data or answering questions from any department that needs help. It also helps that I work with a great group of people.”
Even though manufacturing work can be challenging, Schnell wants people to know that it is also a lot of fun.
“Manufacturing is not just working on a production floor. A lot of work goes on in the office as well before production can even begin to work. From sales, engineering and even accounting. It takes a team from beginning to end in all positions within the business.”
This mother of three loves animals, spending time with family and friends and watching movies to relax.