Andrea Clark is the president and CEO of Gefertec LLC and our Women in 3D Printing Guest #269!
Andrea, could you let us know briefly about your background and your journey into Additive Manufacturing?
I started in the additive manufacturing industry in 2016 as a supply chain manager at Norsk Titanium.
I was responsible for building up the supply chain from scratch.
When I first started at Norsk Titanium we had just moved into our first facility in Plattsburgh, NY and it was a unique experience to start a supply chain management position with no supply chain in place yet.
It gave me the opportunity to build great relationships with suppliers and learn the new landscape of additive manufacturing right alongside them.
Working in a startup company gave me the unique opportunity of working closely together with everyone in the company and see the company grow from a few people into a successful aerospace supplier.
At Norsk Titanium we were primarily focused on producing Titanium 3D printed components for the aerospace industry. I made the choice to move on to Gefertec in 2019 because of the unique opportunity to build up the US business for a German company which is very close to my heart because of being born and raised in Germany.
As the president of Gefertec LLC I am responsible for growing the company in North America and leading all US projects in close collaboration with the team in Berlin, Germany.
What is GEFERTEC and what is the story behind it?
GEFERTEC develops new methods for the production of metallic parts that extend beyond the limits of conventional production processes, thereby offering unique possibilities to designers, engineers and companies.
GEFERTEC is the first and only company worldwide that provides the market with the revolutionary 3DMP® technology that is based on modern arc welding in the form of ready-to-use production machinery.
The arc machine series offers perfect manufacturing solutions for metalworking companies as well as for research and development institutions. It was founded in 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
The part I like the most about the company is the large material selection and the possibility to produce large parts at high deposition rates.
To date, what would you say is your greatest achievement in Additive Manufacturing?
I am very proud of having been able to help start 2 companies in the US. Both companies I worked for have European roots and it is exciting for me to help them be successful in my new permanent home.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
I never planned on working in the 3D printing industry. When I was in high school my goal was to become a teacher in Math in Germany. Through a lot of lucky circumstances, I ended up in a 3D printing career in the US. That shows that you can have a plan and then life happens.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman 3D Printing?
I honestly think working in 3D Printing as a woman has been easier than some of my previous experiences. Especially as a young, female leader you often are forced to prove yourself extra in a male-dominated field.
I have always worked in technology-driven companies and female leadership is rare. I have been told many times to lead more like a male. However, 3D printing is such a fast-paced and new field that there are not a lot of set norms yet.
Gefertec is the prime example of a team that is very young and diverse. We have a lot of females in leadership positions and positions that hold a lot of responsibility.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I am amazed by how the whole 3D printing community came together during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is really a unique and very collaborative community that I have not encountered anywhere else.
What advice do you have for women looking to get started in 3D Printing?
Do it. I gave a keynote address at a University a few years back and told the students the following.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. If you work hard you can achieve anything.
I truly stand behind that statement. If you have a passion for 3D printing don’t be afraid to dive into a career in 3D printing. The industry changes so fast and is evolving rapidly that even without experience it’s a very rewarding area to be in.
For women aspiring to leadership roles?
I don’t think your gender should determine if you are qualified for a leadership role. If you are confident in your abilities then strive for a leadership position. The only advice I always give is to do it at the right time. Don’t look for a title and try to move up as fast as possible. Operational experience is a great asset when having to make strategic decisions and leading a team.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with Additive Manufacturing?
We need to start reaching females as early as possible. Elementary school children should be exposed to 3D printing and technology as early as possible. We as female leaders working in 3D printing need to take away the fear and unknown by mentoring and being accessible to elementary, middle school, high school, and college students.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
There isn’t one thing I can single out. New developments, customers, and projects are constantly coming up. The best way to find out is to follow Gefertec on LinkedIn.
Favorite 3D tool?
Our Arc605 printer
Favorite moment in your day job?
Showing the customers our machine and the printed part.
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?
Faster qualification of parts and the technology
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?
Roxanne Warren – Link3D. We have been connected since our time at Norsk Titanium and I love her attitude of collaboration and mutual support. She is a rock star.