It is with great pleasure that I nominate Jenny Steffensmeier, owner of Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing, as the 2019 Manufacturer of the Year. In addition to serving her team, Jenny has undoubtedly shown her commitment to serving the greater good of her community and the future of Iowa.
Jenny has a strong sense of responsibility for her role in the present, as well as for the future generations to come. This sense of responsibility has led her to make decisions such as implementing a solar panel array that will reduce greenhouse emission by emission by 8,937 metric tons of CO2 over 25 years. This is the equivalent of 229,154 trees planted and grown for 10 years, or not burning 9,599,356 pounds of coal. Although this decision was made 3 years ago, it hasn’t stopped Jenny from actively advocating for green energy today. Jenny is not an expert in all things clean energy, but she continues to be apart of the conversation and education process of how we as a society can move forward. This year Jenny was awarded the Partner in Policy Award by the Iowa Environmental Council. Jenny received this award for her efforts to advance policy around clean energy and efficiency at the state level, as her experience in taking her business 100% soar introduced significant cost savings. She understands the value of clean energy and how the decisions we make today affect our tomorrow.
Along with making environmentally consensus decisions for our future generations, Jenny continues to dedicate her time to the future of our workforce. Outside of Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing, Jenny serves as the Secretary of the Lee County Economic Development Group. This group helps shape policies and programs explicitly directed at improving the business climate through efforts in business retention and expansion, workforce development, marketing and new business attraction. Jenny recognizes the impact that this group can have on her team and the future of Lee County. Her passion for this topic is evident in her involvement with this group, our local community and our local schools.
This past year Richardson Elementary School was awarded a computer science grant at the Governor’s 2019 Future Ready Iowa Summit. This summit focused on expanding STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and workplace partnerships. In order to be considered, applicants needed to partner with two local business’ as part of their proposal. Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing was one of the two businesses’ that Richardson Elementary School decided to partner with. Jenny believes that STEM education is essential for our community as it continues to become increasingly relevant to workplace readiness. Her commitment to education continues to actively play a role in shaping the future of our workforce.
Jenny doesn’t just partake in education at the lower level, she partakes in education at every level. Jenny teaches a Junior Achievement course at a local middle school, gives tours to high school students and has even furthered her own education. This past year Jenny graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. She applied for this program, because she knew that it could help her create more jobs and economic opportunity for both her business and community.
Jenny was one of the few classmates selected to speak at her Goldman Sachs graduation ceremony. She gave an incredible speech which then led to her being offered the opportunity to speak with the Governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, to discuss the state’s economy. Because Jenny is dedicated to education and passionate about Iowa workforce, it allowed her to have a voice for all of Lee County.
If anyone truly knows Jenny, they know that she is an incredible woman. Not only as a leader in manufacturing, but as a leader of our community. I couldn’t think of another person more deserving of this award than Jenny Steffensmeier. Jenny’s commitment to lifelong learning, willingness to help others and dedication to the greater good truly exemplifies what a leader should strive to be.