Jill Mayer, corporate president, Bead Industries

Faces of Manufacturing: Leading the Family Business into a New Era

Oct. 13, 2016
"There’s always a product or a process that can be improved upon, and I love a challenge."

One in a Manufacturing Day series that celebrates the industry’s workers, from the C-Suite to the shop floor.

Jill Mayer

City/State of Residence: Cheshire, Connecticut

Job Title: Corporate President

Company: Bead Industries

Years with Company: 9

Industry of Your Company: Automotive, Telecom, Connector

Training / Education: BS in business, MS in management

What made you decide to pursue a career in manufacturing? My great, great grandfather was an engineer who started the company in 1914. After finishing school and spending a few years in the workforce, I became interested in the history of our family business and wondered why manufacturing in America was now on a downward trend. I was also intrigued that it was a male-dominated industry--so being a woman, I thought I could offer a different perspective.

What does your job entail? I started as a financial controller, managing the accounting and HR department and preparing financial reports. When my father retired as CEO two years ago, I replaced him and starting focusing on improving the company culture and understanding more about manufacturing programs and grants available to allow us to invest in more advanced technology so we could attract and retain the next generation. 

What is the most interesting part of your job? Your proudest moment?

It’s different every day. One day I could be supporting a lean project in the factory or running a team-building exercise; the next day I could be joining fellow manufacturers to bring manufacturing issues or ideas forward to state legislators. My proudest moment is celebrating our 100 year anniversary with our employees and their families, vendors, customers and local dignitaries and commemorating the event with a scholarship fund at a local community college to benefit manufacturing and engineering programs.

What do you love about manufacturing? There’s always a product or a process that can be improved upon, and I love a challenge.

What advice would you give to kids considering a job in manufacturing? Go on some local plant tours to see first hand how the industry is becoming more technologically advanced. It’s not a dark and dingy place to work any more. If you are creative and curious and you like to build things, there are so many opportunities in manufacturing.

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