BASF and The Manufacturing Institute honor outstanding women in manufacturing

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Kristen Pforr, Vice President of Operations for Chemical Intermediates in Geismar.

BASF employee, Kristen Pforr, Vice President of Operations for Chemical Intermediates in Geismar, Louisiana was among 130 women in manufacturing recognized nationally through the Manufacturing Institute’s 2018 STEP Ahead Awards. Focusing on science, technology, engineering and production (STEP), the program annually honors female leaders for their advocacy, mentorship, engagement, and leadership in the sector.

As the national sponsor of the STEP Ahead initiative, BASF collaborates with The Manufacturing Institute on the grassroots movement to encourage women to embrace manufacturing as a viable career and help them overcome the shared challenges they may face. The initiative provides and promotes mentoring, and leads research on the topic.

“I’ve seen the evolution of manufacturing as more women enter into leadership roles, bringing purpose, inclusion and confidence into the male-dominated workforce,” said Heidi Alderman, Senior Vice President Intermediates, North America at BASF. “The future of manufacturing requires an acute focus on culture and striving to create an inclusive environment. BASF offers exciting careers opportunities within manufacturing for women at all educational levels.”

STEP Ahead honorees across the U.S. pledge to promote the role of women in the manufacturing sector. Women constitute one of the largest pools of untapped talent in the field. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing’s attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations. The Manufacturing Institute, Deloitte, and APICS conducted a survey that found that the award honorees impacted more than 300,000 individuals – from industry peers to school age children – over the last five years.

“The STEP Ahead Award honors successful women in this industry for their significant achievements and the positive impact they have made on their companies, their communities and the industry as a whole,” said Tom Yura, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the BASF site in Geismar and National Association of Manufacturing’s Board of Directors member. “The fact that Kristen is the vice president of a business division and works at our Geismar site represents the exciting career opportunities and potential for growth available to women in manufacturing right here in Louisiana.”

BASF sponsored the sixth-annual award ceremony, which was held April 10 in Washington, D.C. For more information about BASF careers and efforts that promote women in manufacturing, visit

Contributed by BASF