WASHINGTON — Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Environmental, Occupational, Health and Safety (EOHS) Manager Erika Hernandez has been named a 2023 Women MAKE Awards Honoree by The Manufacturing Institute (MI).

The Women MAKE Awards recognize women leaders in science, technology, engineering and production industries. For 2023, 130 women were recognized for their contributions.

“The data shows: women are our largest talent opportunity,” wrote Carolyn Lee, president and executive director of MI. “As we work together to close the gender gap in manufacturing, we are excited to welcome the 2023 Women MAKE Awards Honorees and Emerging Leaders to join the alumnae who came before them as ambassadors, mentors and leaders to advocate for manufacturing. Their voices, passion and vision are transforming — and will continue to transform — this vital industry through their commitment to achieving extraordinary feats in the field.”

Hernandez has worked at Hill’s Pet Nutrition since 2016. She has held several positions throughout the company’s operations, engineering and EHS (Environmental, Health and Safety) departments at its facility in Emporia, Kan. She has leveraged her skills and Greenbelt certification to help improve the safety, quality and efficiency of the company’s operational procedures. Hernandez has helped improve environmental conditions by adding conditioned air to key processing areas, enhanced product flow by upgrading kibble storage bins, and addressed many material loss opportunities throughout the plant.

Among her work at Hill’s, Hernandez has also exemplified leadership at the company’s plant by training and mentoring others, as well as creating a safe work environment. She has aided in integrating new female engineers into the plant, providing them with guidance and support.

“I am proud to be a woman in the manufacturing industry because there are so many opportunities to grow professionally and personally,” Hernandez said. “In manufacturing, there is always something new to learn, which feeds my natural curiosity. I can be as busy as I want to be. As a woman in manufacturing, I bring a different perspective and help where I can. I love the mentorship I can provide to other women and the influence I have to set the example.”

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