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NORTHBRIDGE — The bequest of Rosie the Riveter lives on at Riverdale Mills Corp. in the anatomy of 4-foot-10-inch, but hard-as-nails, Pricilla Jacques.
Jacques, who turns 62 in March, has been alive on the attic of the wire cobweb architect for about 36 years. As advance microburst operator, she oversees seven men who cut wire off of 100-foot rolls.
“The concrete work: It keeps me in acceptable shape,” Jacques, a South Grafton resident, said. “I acquaint bodies I’ve got a 62-year-old face on a 20-year-old body.”
The affinity amid Jacques and Rosie the Riveter, the World War II cultural figure who represented the can-do spirit of women alive in shipyards and accomplishment to advice the war effort, is added than casual. Jacques recalled that Riverdale Mills CEO James M. Knott Jr. gave her a keychain with the Rosie adumbration afterwards a contour on Jacques appeared in a barter magazine.
Jacques is amid several women in administering positions at the family-owned automated accomplishment company, which is adulatory its 40th ceremony in March.
Riverdale Mills, founded by James M. Knott Sr. in 1980, makes PVC-coated Aquamesh, the barter name for galvanized-after-welding, marine-quality animate cobweb that is acclimated in the all-inclusive majority of lobster accessories acclimated by bartering fishermen.
Its added trade-name articles are WireWall, high-security angry acclimated at all-embracing borders, airports and added defended installations; Soft-Step, PVC-coated wire acclimated for banty slats; and Geomesh, corrosion-resistant wire for clay stabilization and landscaping.
A advanced array of added wire articles advised for commercial, automated and customer applications are additionally produced at the Northbridge plant.
Several Riverdale Mills women employees, alive from the boutique attic to the C-suite, met with the Telegram & Gazette aftermost ceremony to allocution about avant-garde accomplishment and opportunities for women, in annual of the company’s ceremony and civic Women’s History Month in March.
Women are underrepresented in accomplishment jobs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While they accomplish up about bisected the alive population, 47.5%, their allotment of application in the accomplishment industry was aloof 29% in 2016.
Lead Microburst Operator
Jacques started her career alive as a agent in Boston, a position that paid alone $4.50 an hour. She said Riverdale Mills was alms $5 an hour for a part-time accounting job, so she took that instead.
The almost adolescent Riverdale Mills at that time was architecture a monkey cage for the San Francisco Zoo, a activity Jacques started alive on. Back the aggregation offered her a full-time job on the boutique attic or a accounting job upstairs, she backward with the boutique floor.
An accomplished welder and apparatus operator, her role now involves delegating what apparatus bodies assignment on in the shearing assemblage and authoritative abiding schedules are kept.
Described by coworkers as “the baby and bang-up one,” Jacques finds she has to advance a common band to accumulate bodies and assignment on track. She accepted to actuality “very picky” in her apprehension for jobs actuality done right.
“There’s still men out there that don’t like women administering them. They’re the ones giving me a adamantine time,” she said. “I can’t baby to any one person, or they’ll run over me.”
Manufacturing is a job Jacques said she was built-in to do.
Jacques said, “I would adulation to accept added women alive here, but it’s actual physical. If you’re not thick-skinned, you’re not activity to be here. You’ve got to be cut out for it.”
Sales and Business Manager
Christie Albone, 39, said a career in automated accomplishment “didn’t alike cantankerous my mind” back she was a academy apprentice majoring in folklore at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.
But afterwards a abrupt assignment in fundraising for a nonprofit and again alive as an annual controlling with a metals aggregation based in Maryland, Albone, who lives in Newport, Rhode Island, came on lath with Riverdale Mills as business administrator in 2012. Aftermost abatement she added sales administrator to her responsibilities.
“I adulation seeing people’s faces back I say I assignment for a animate accomplishment aggregation in the U.S.,” Albone said. “I like to be allotment of the American accomplishment industry. It takes bodies by surprise.”
She tells them about the articles Riverdale Mills makes that they’re acceptable accustomed with.
“Everyone loves the lobster trap,” she said.
Riverdale Mills additionally has a growing bazaar in mollusk aquaculture, authoritative ability cages for off-bottom ability agriculture in littoral communities from Louisiana to Canada.
She tells bodies about the WireWall that stands on the U.S.-Mexican bound in California and Arizona; the cobweb agronomical and zoo enclosures; and wire frames acclimated in landscaping.
Albone said. “We accomplish added than 3,000 altered articles and aggregate is fabricated in this facility.”
That assortment is additionally a absorber adjoin recession, she said. “What’s characteristic about this job is, you’re not pigeon-holed into one industry or one market. There’s consistently article new that bodies are application wire for.”
Albone said the canicule back women were outsiders in automated accomplishment are changing. While her aggregation was predominantly macho back she started, now seven of eight on her aggregation are women.
“I anticipate it’s important for adolescent women to abutment added adolescent women,” she said.
Kathy Tata, 54, of Blackstone, handles purchasing and supply-chain management, but her accomplishments in automated engineering is her super-power for arch in an automated environment.
After admission with an engineering amount from University of Massachusetts Lowell, she formed as a architecture architect afore demography time off to accession two sons. She again formed part-time as a acting algebraic teacher.
Tata has been with Riverdale Mills for 10 years, afterwards starting in a acting job as business administrator afore she was assassin full-time as purchasing manager.
Since then, her role has expanded. Tata has been heavily complex in filing hundreds of applications for exceptions from tariffs imposed in 2018 by the Trump administration, a admeasurement that added 25% to the amount of Canadian animate Riverdale Mills imports.
Despite ambidextrous with bulky regulations, Tata said, “I like the bodies I assignment with. The accord actuality is great. I’ve backward actuality because of the abreast bodies I assignment with.”
Tata has apparent added accepting of women in accomplishment back she accelerating as one of three-to-five women in a chic of 150 students.
“Back in the day, if I answered the phone, bodies asked to allege to my boss. Through the years it’s improved,” she said.
“I adulation the accomplishment floor, I adulation the big adjustment machines,” Tata continued. “I adulation active bottomward the artery and seeing a barter with lobster traps, alive that’s us.”
In manufacturing, aggregate has to run smoothly, Nicole Go explained. And that agency aliment and antitoxin assignment with accessories has to be performed with attention timing.
Go, 51, of Whitinsville, works with mechanics, electricians, engineers and added bulb operators, administering architecture upgrades and renovations, apparatus aliment and alike underwater aliment of the mill’s hydro-dam and comminute pond on the Blackstone River.
She has a accomplishments as a acknowledged secretary and started at Riverdale Mills as an engineering agent in 1992, breadth she has formed on-and-off since.
“That absolutely is my able suit: authoritative (work),” Go said. “That’s why I adulation it actuality so much. I adulation the accomplished activating of seeing a activity from alpha to finish.”
Go said she’s advised able-bodied by her macho coworkers. “They’re adequate with me actuality in those conversations. In the morning assembly meetings, it’s 12 men and me.”
Not that there aren’t challenges, she added. Bringing an authoritative articulation into a boutique of a dozen mechanics who are talking on a abstruse akin can be a hurdle.
Go said she enjoyed actuality able to accompany the big-picture appearance to the shop-floor level, though. “I accept the best of both worlds here.”
Chief Banking Officer
Management consulting close Korn Ferry afresh estimated that women annual for a little added than 11% of all CFO positions.
Krikorian, 61, a Marlboro citizen with a bachelor’s and master’s of business administering degrees from Bentley University has been watching over Riverdale Mills’ affairs back 2014.
“I aloof acquisition accomplishment interesting,” said Krikorian, who ahead formed for Walker Magnetics Accumulation Inc. of Worcester and Ionics Inc. of Watertown. “There’s a complication to it and you never get bored.”
Among the banking challenges Krikorian has been alive with are animate tariffs and the bound activity market.
The tariffs, which were in abode for about a year, “affected our basal line. We did not canyon it on to our customers,” she said. “We had to plan and aloof cut expenses. Profits aching but we didn’t accept any austere damage.”
Now, with sales growing every day, according to Krikorian, it’s adamantine to acquisition attic advisers to accumulate up with demand.
“Especially in the activity bazaar now, you’ve got to attempt for them with college wages,” she said.
Krikorian said she didn’t feel her role as CFO at Riverdale Mills was out of the ordinary.
“We’ve answer women here, but I feel there’s consistently been women in key roles about here,” she said.
Data Analytics Lead
One of the newest associates of Riverdale Mills’ aggregation is Ishita Patel, 26, who analyzes accomplishment processes and trends to aid accommodation making. She abutting the aggregation aftermost August.
Patel, who lives in Framingham, becoming a bachelor’s amount in automated engineering in her built-in India and a master’s amount in activated business analytics from Boston University.
“This job is a aggregate of the two,” she said.
She has already bargain the time to adapt abstracts letters by added than 70% through automation, extenuative costs and convalescent accurateness by removing animal error.
Her primary activity now is to activity and assimilate appraisement of all 5,000 to 6,000 articles awash by Riverdale Mills.
Patel said she admired the ambiance and able claiming of alive in manufacturing.
“It feels absolutely altered back you do a activity and again you get to assassinate it in the aforementioned company,” she said.
Although new to the area, Patel said, “This abode has been actual affable to me. I don’t accept a lot of Indian accompany here, but they’ve become like family.”
Inclusion key to success
“Our committed and assorted accumulation of employees, both full-time and part-time, are the acumen for our success,” said Knott, Riverdale Mills CEO, in an email.
“All of these different perspectives fit calm to actualize an ambiance based on the aggregate ethics of respect. From gender to ability to age and race, we apperceive assortment fosters adroitness and innovation, and the added viewpoints on the table, the better.”
He said, “Attracting and befitting women in accomplishment is aloof one allotment of our action but it is analytical to the advance of Riverdale Mills as able-bodied as the U.S. accomplishment industry.”
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