GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The Manufacturing Institute honored the president and CEO of a longtime Marshall County company with an award that promotes women in the manufacturing industry. Laura Kappler-Roberts hopes the award will garner interest in the field among the next generation of leaders.
"My father started Kappler April 1, 1976, so this April we'll celebrate 41 years," Kappler-Roberts explains.
Based in Guntersville, it grew to be a leading global manufacturer of chemical protective clothing.
"Today, we manufacture garments out of the fabrics we develop," Kappler-Roberts said." The company ships the products, manufactured in Guntersville, all over the world.
Kappler-Roberts hopes a recent recognition will augment the work she does to raise an interest in the industry. "I was recently recognized by The Manufacturing Institute with their STEP Ahead awards. STEP stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production," Kappler-Roberts said.
The annual awards program honors women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in all levels of manufacturing. It's part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative that promotes the role of women in the manufacturing industry, something Kappler-Roberts works locally to do not just for young women, but to all young people. "There are so many exciting fields within manufacturing, and it really is the backbone of our country," Kappler-Roberts said.
That's something she hopes to instill in the next generation. "We manufacture everything right here in Guntersville. Our products are sold all over the world but we're super proud of the fact that we're able to make all of our products right here, and support our community with those jobs," Kappler-Roberts added.
She's scheduled to attend the STEP Ahead awards at a reception in Washington, D.C. in April. The event will recognize 130 recipients from across the country.
The recognition is an honor. Perhaps for Kappler-Roberts it's even more so, because it promotes an industry that's so deeply rooted in her family. "Giving recognition to manufacturing is exciting to me because it's a bigger voice, a bigger platform than what I can just do by myself," she said.