Jennifer Killingback has over 20 years of experience in HR, Recruiting and Staffing. She currently works with Alexander Daniels Global as their Principal in North America specifically to the Additive Manufacturing industry. For the past two years, she has been directly involved in the world of 3D printing in both HR Management and Recruitment.
Jennifer, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
My background has been largely in human resources and recruiting within various industries. At times, I have also been responsible for business development and account management within the recruiting industry. My passion is both helping and connecting people.
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
My first exposure to 3D printing was literally finding a “skilled trade” option for my son, who was still in high school and taking CAD classes. At that point, I started my research and found a distributor of 3D printers here in Michigan. With a little research and a request for a tour, the CEO gladly invited us to his facility. It was the most fascinating technology that I had ever experienced first-hand. Months later, I began a conversation with another CEO, this time with an OEM of professional grade 3D printers and began my career in additive manufacturing as the Human Resources Manager for North American Operations.
What makes the 3D Printing industry particularly interesting for you?
Working in AM is like working for a start-up. It’s fast paced, exciting, challenging, ever-changing and innovative. You are encouraged to be creative and think outside of the box. Recruiting in AM is a challenge in itself as it is still a relatively new industry and there is not an abundance of educated professionals or skilled labor with previous additive manufacturing experience to fill positions. Networking and building relationships within the community is essential to everyone’s success.
Why do you think that there are not so many women involved in Additive Manufacturing right now?
It is a still relatively a new field. Positions where I have seen more women involved is in Administration and Marketing. Where we need to see more women is in R&D, Engineering, Sales and Executive Management. I hope that will become reality in the near future.
You are currently the Principal for North America for Alexander Daniels Global Limited. Could you give us a little insight into your role and responsibilities here?
My responsibilities are to further grow our operations here in North America and partner with companies within the Additive Manufacturing community on their recruitment efforts. Within AM, we are all aware that procuring qualified talent is currently a challenge that will be further amplified by the growth we are seeing worldwide. OEMs may already be discovering that their employees are not only attractive to other OEMs but also the service bureaus, suppliers and clients. This puts a strain on the talent pool and you must know how to look “outside of the box” when recruiting talent for AM and have defined retention strategies to keep them engaged.
How has your experience been in recruiting women into the AM industry? Have you experienced any challenge(s), and if so what were they?
Identifying and hiring women in AM has not been an issue for me personally. The challenge appears to be in positions outside of Administration and Marketing. For example, if you look at the demographics of female engineers working or studying AM, it is largely overshadowed by males. This can also be influenced by physical location. However, I believe more female engineering students and professionals are being drawn to AM and will be instrumental in the industry’s continued success.
Are there any figures, people, or organizations that you admire within the 3D Printing world and why?
There are so many great people that I have interacted with throughout the AM community; it would be unfair to pick only a few. From the parts finishers to the CEO’s, each has been passionate about AM technology, the growth of the industry and the future possibilities. One area of additive manufacturing that I admire greatly is bioprinting. The organizations that are developing this technology, performing research and developing materials will directly impact our future health and well-being.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
There are several ideas that come to mind. More internships for female engineering and chemist students, creating job training programs for programmers and field technicians and women-based networking meetings at the major trade shows throughout the globe. In states with high demand for talent, work with local government agencies to identify financial resources for training certain positions, similar to other skilled trades programs.
What advice do you have for other women who are curious in learning more about 3D Printing?
Identify and connect with other women already working in 3D printing. Attend major trade shows. Subscribe to industry online and print news outlets. Talk to an AM Recruiter even before you decide to pursue a career in 3D printing. Learn what employers are looking for.
How would you like to see the industry evolve?
My hope is to see the AM community continue to grow and further evolve into an industry that can compete with other major industries, like Automotive, on a global scale for talent. There are still many that are in early stages of growth and may not be in a position to compete with Automotive in areas such as wages, benefits and paid time off to attract talent, such as Engineers.
Do you have any (fun or not) stories about the company to share with us?
Having just recently joined Alexander Daniels Global Limited, we are still learning about each other and exploring the North American market. Personally, I think it is exceptional and exciting that a team that is primarily male chose a female to lead the way in North America. For that, I am honored and accept the challenge. All of us, collectively, are a great team and look forward to what the future holds for both us and the AM industry moving forward.
Thank you for reading and for sharing! If you’d like to learn more about Jennifer, you can reach out to her directly from her Linkedin profile.