As the new Kruger Packing facility continues to grow in Elizabethtown, women are a key piece to its success.

Women in leadership roles at the plant work together to encourage and support each other as well as everyone they work with.

“To say we have a great group of women on our team would be an understatement,” said John Hardin, Kruger Packing Elizabethtown plant manager. “They’re some of the strongest willed and hardest working people I’ve ever worked with.”

Hardin said the company is lucky to have each on the team.

One of those women, Lacie McGuffey, works as a customer eervice representative.

She said she works to collaborate and build relationships among different backgrounds and industries, allowing her to grow every day from the people around her.

“Being in customer service, I am not only the voice of Kruger Packaging, but the voice for the customers,” she said. “Creating a partnership that is mutually beneficial is the ultimate goal.”

McGuffey said everyone’s perspective, men or women, are unique. Her goal is to help create an environment where everyone can share their ideas to not only succeed but also exceed expectations.

As women in the company, she said they help each other achieve their personal and professional goals.

“We make it a point to always celebrate together over not only the major milestones but the minor ones as well,” she said. “Women’s roles in the industry only continue to grow, and we will be here to help develop every individual’s talent.”

Carissa Vowels, quality and food safety manger, said she gets to use her knowledge of quality to help the team become an even more successful company. The food safety part of her job challenges her to learn something new and help the company obtain needed food safety certification.

“I think me being a woman in the industry is going to give the company a new perspective — a woman’s perspective — and may allow them to do things a little differently than they have done in the past,” she said.

Vowels said she likes to share her knowledge with anyone if it will help and mentor other women so they can be successful. One way she does this is to share her experiences, both good and bad, with other women so they can learn from her successes and mistakes. “I like to empower the other women I work with and encourage them to be the best they can be and to be confident in their abilities,” she said. “I think as a woman in any industry, it is very important that we have each other’s back, build each other up as much as we can and complement each other on a job well done.”

Teresa Spevak works as plant controller at Kruger.

Because of the opportunities she’s had in her career, she strives to leverage her experience to help influence a positive culture in the plant. “I want my ripple effect to be positive and to reach all facets of our Kruger team,” she said.

Spevak knows a small number of women have traditional worked in manufacturing or plant facilities.

“These ladies have paved a way for women in today’s market to embrace various types of industrial career opportunities,” she said. “Encouragement, communication and collaboration are some of the tools we use on a daily basis to help each other.” She encourages women to not be afraid to put on some safety gear and give industrial careers a try. Spevak said it’s a way to bring unique perspectives and skills to share with colleagues in the workplace.

Shelby Peters, office coordinator, said being able to be a part of bringing a new plant to life is a rewarding aspect of what she does. She also enjoys working with positive and compatible people. “Developing relationships with every person who walks through our door is important to me,” she said. “I am the first face you see and I value my ability to create a first impression that represents the Kruger Packaging difference.”

Peters said in manufacturing, it’s common for women to be underpaid and undervalued but, at Kruger, she knows her opinion will be heard and her efforts valued. Women, she said, bring a fresh perspective to the manufacturing industry. “We are always willing to help each other when needed and ensure our ideas are heard,” she said of the women she works with. “We celebrate our accomplishments and have open communication which allows us to discuss ideas and give encouragement.”

Kruger Packaging Elizabethtown General Manger John Keith said these women, along with HR Advisor Chloe Anderson and Converting Supervisor Beth Grantz, are the best part of the team. “Most companies only dream of hiring employees like we have in Elizabethtown and these women are the best of the best local talent,” he said.

Keith said they’ve achieved “tremendous success.”

Becca Owsley can be reached at 270-505-1416