As part of International Women’s Day (learn more), Stanadyne is recognizing members of our female workforce that drive our company’s success every day. Catrina Qualls and Valeria Benzi are great examples of individuals helping our company create an exceptional customer experience and best-in class quality, reliability, delivery, and service. Leaders like Catrina and Valeria bind our company together through integrity, mutual respect, honesty, and transparency.
Catrina is the Manufacturing Team Leader at Stanadyne’s PurePower Technologies operations located in Blythewood, South Carolina. Valeria works in Customer Service in the Planning Department for Stanadyne S.p.A. located in Brescia, Italy.
Here are their answers to a few questions regarding career paths as leaders in the automotive and manufacturing industries.
What is your role / responsibility with the company?
Catrina: I’m currently a Manufacturing Team Leader overseeing five assembly and test lines. I have been working with the company since June 2001.
Valeria: I am the main everyday service contact for our OEM customers, ensuring responsive support and constant flow of communication between Stanadyne and our partners.
What is your proudest career achievement?
Catrina: I am proud to have worked in a male-dominated field as a Manufacturing Process Technician for the past 20 years. I have learned so much about pneumatics, mechanical, and electrical equipment.
Valeria: I am proud of the positive and open relationships I have developed with both customers and colleagues. This allows me to strengthen my work performance and be happy and satisfied with what I do.
What is your proudest personal achievement?
Catrina: Going back to college in my mid-40s to earn my bachelor’s degree in management.
Valeria: The privilege of thinking about the future and building a happy life is my most important personal achievement. It would not have been possible without serenity and professional stability.
What led you to explore a career path with an automotive / manufacturing company?
Catrina: My first full-time job after college was with a company that manufactured plastic injection molding for automobiles. In college, we were taught that the medical and automotive fields have the most employment opportunities. That first company I worked for had been around for years and paved the way for my knowledge of Quality Control, customer service, and assembly line manufacturing.
Valeria: The real question is not “what led to me to explore a career path with an automotive/manufacturing company?” but it is “why not?!” I welcomed with enthusiasm and curiosity the career opportunity that was offered to me – even if it seemed to be far away from “my world” (I studied humanities and I am a volunteer museum tour guide).
What words of advice, guidance, or inspiration would you share with women exploring their career options and opportunities?
Catrina: My advice to other women would be to not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. If there is a field of work that sparks your interest, do the research, take the classes or training required, and give it a try.
Valeria: Be self-confident, open-minded and never give up. These are the ingredients to be successful. I think that American writer and poet Alice Walker’s words can inspire everyone in all areas of their lives – “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”