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Mini-cast 175: Women in Manufacturing - Hypertherm

Bret Keisling shares an excerpt from the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler, who asks three employee owners at Hypertherm to share why it's a great place for women to work. O2O has a special five-part series, Women in Manufacturing, dropping each Wednesday in March 2022.

In the episode, guests Stevie-Leigh Karleskint, Krystale Barraby, and Holly Hewes explain why Hypertherm is an amazing place to work for everyone, and especially women. Among many reasons, Hypertherm with almost 2000 employee owners has never had a layoff. To see Hypertherm's recruiting page, click here. To see testimonials from current Hypertherm employee owners, click here.

Listen to this episode on Soundcloud or subscribe on Google Play or iTunes/Apple Podcasts.

The ESOP Podcast is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND Creative Commons License.


Mini-cast 175 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the ESOP Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. March is Women's History Month and to celebrate, Jesse Tyler has created an amazing Women in Manufacturing series on the Owner to Owner podcast.

[00:00:25] He has selected 12 women, all of them are associates at Hypertherm, which is what they call their employee owners. There are four panels for a total of five episodes and even though the Owner to Owner podcast normally drops biweekly, we're dropping new episodes every Wednesday in March.

[00:00:42] To support the great work that Jesse is doing at the Owner to Owner podcast, we're going to share all five of the episodes on our feed at the EO/ESOP Podcast, with hopes that you'll check out each episode and then go to and subscribe.

[00:00:57] Today, I'm going to play two brief excerpts from Part 1 of the Women in Manufacturing series. In the first excerpt, Jesse explains the intent of the series. Then I'll share a clip of Jesse's three guests answering the question, "why should women work at Hypertherm?" Here's Jesse Tyler.


[00:01:12] Jesse Tyler: This series focuses on women in manufacturing, bringing insight from women owners through our company, through our product value streams from design engineering, global sales, operations, machine assembly, machine operators, shipping, and leadership.

[00:01:28] On almost all of the Owner to Owner podcasts I meet the guests when we start recording. This series is a little bit different in that these are close friends that have asked to share their story.

[00:01:38] This episode focuses on first and second shift, a frontline leader, machine assembly, and warehouse.

[00:01:46] I am joined by Stevie-Leigh Karleskint, frontline leader for the Hypertherm light industrial products on second shift, Holly Hewes, an assembler three for the heavy industrial product line on first shift, and Krystale Barraby, warehouse specialist two, in our distribution center on second shift.


[00:02:05] This is really the last question. Why should a woman considering a career in manufacturing consider working at Hypertherm? You have so many openings, we're looking for multiple shifts for warehouse, for machine operators, assemblers up through directors, all kinds of, we have a lot of openings. We're very lucky to be as busy as we are feeding the industrial economy.

[00:02:26] But if you're just going to speak directly to a woman considering a manufacturing career at Hypertherm, why should she just go for it to borrow your phrase? Krystale, you want to...?

[00:02:34] Krystale Barraby: Sure. So, I feel like the ownership culture is a big one. I think a lot of the things we just touched on with all of the benefits you guys just said, that for anybody is just great.

[00:02:44] So, if I were speaking to a woman who was not really sure what they were doing I'd be like that alone is a good reason to be a part of this company.

[00:02:53] The other thing that I wrote down would be that there isn't a bias for being a male or a female. So, if you wanted to join in and be a machine operator, if you wanted to try to be a leader, if you wanted to work as the warehouse specialist, if you wanted to do customer service, all of those positions you're equally encouraged to move forward in your career. So, if you're a woman trying to come in, just let's do it! Just cause there's no wrong path as a woman here.

[00:03:21] Jesse Tyler: That's awesome. Thank you.

[00:03:22] Stevie-Leigh Karleskint: This is going to sound like a shameless plug. Because I have an opening in my area. You can come work for me! [Laughter.]

[00:03:27] That is so bad. I'm sorry.

[00:03:29] It's a great career. When I got promoted, I actually had people from higher up, actually that I hadn't even told, higher level women in this company send me messages congratulating me.

[00:03:41] Every once in a while, I'll have a female leader come over and say, hey, I know you're, you've been doing this for about a year now, but I haven't had a chance to talk to you yet, and I just want to congratulate you. And I didn't even know they knew who I was. Like, we have such a cool culture in this company.

[00:03:57] Just do it! Just come join us!

[00:03:59] Jesse Tyler: Great. That's great. Holly, you want to finish this out?

[00:04:02] Holly Hewes: Yeah. It's all around the entire experience is nothing but positive and nothing but welcoming. And why wouldn't you want to be a part of a company that celebrates every single milestone, whether it's something small or something big. A company that encourages you to do your best and push yourself past your comfort levels and really help build you as a human being. And being able to do all of that and being a woman inside of manufacturing plant that really, from the outside looking in, is male dominant it's a pat on the back.

[00:04:32] And I've done my fair share of moving up and moving across and learning and expanding. And there's never an opportunity that I've looked forward to where somebody said, no. It's - you want to do that? Good. Let's help you get there!

[00:04:45] Jesse Tyler: That's great. That's great.

[00:04:46] I appreciate the time with the three of you. So, the goal, again, with the Owner to Owner podcast is to hear the voices of the rank and file, essential, frontline, the doers, the makers, the movers, the shippers.

[00:04:58] And so, I think you have a very successfully told your stories. I really appreciate it. And you've shared insight into ownership and specifically Hypertherm culture. And it's been a lot of fun to hear your insights. And I appreciate your willingness to take a little bit of a deeper dive and be so open about what it's like as your work experience as women in manufacturing. So, thank you very much to all of you for your time and we really appreciate it. And it's been a lot of fun for me.

[00:05:25] Just want to thank all the growing listeners for the Owner to Owner podcast, bringing voices of frontline essential employee owners to the conversation. So, thank you very much. We'll look forward to speaking with you again soon.


[00:05:38] Bret Keisling: Please check out to see all twelve of Jesse's episodes, as well as for more information about our guests and their companies. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.

[00:05:51] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, production assistance by Victoria Huerta, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.

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