Manufacturing Institute honors local woman at BASF

Staff Report

A BASF leader in manufacturing was among 130 women recognized nationally at The Manufacturing Institute’s ninth annual STEP Ahead Awards.

Kristie Pickering accepts her STEP Ahead award from The Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4. Pickering is a resident of Ascension Parish. She graduated from St. Charles Catholic High School and from The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She also earned her MBA from Louisiana State University.

Kristie Pickering, utilities and infrastructure director in Geismar, was recognized as a 2021 STEP Ahead honoree. With more than 20 years of manufacturing experience, Pickering has helped pave the way for other women and has championed efforts to raise awareness and education on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Women’s Initiative, the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. STEP consists of the STEP Ahead Awards and a professional leadership development program, as well as regional STEP Forward events throughout the year.

The initiative works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by elevating and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation.

“Manufacturing challenges us to think creatively, continually innovate and collaborate with diverse teams, and overcoming these challenges is rewarding on many levels,” said Pickering. “I’m always amazed at what problems can be solved by manufacturing and energized when working with a team to achieve a rewarding goal.”

Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent. Female employees totaled 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2018, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Women’s 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.

“Women in manufacturing proved themselves time and time again during the pandemic, driving innovation and progress, and they are now helping our industry build the next, post-pandemic world,” said Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “We will honor these manufacturing leaders with the STEP Ahead Awards, elevating their success and providing them a platform to inspire the next generation of women manufacturing leaders.”

BASF sponsored the annual awards ceremony, which was held virtually and in-person in Washington, D.C., Nov. 4. For more information about BASF careers and efforts that promote women in manufacturing, visit