[Manufacturer Spotlight] Katty Garcia – General Manager, Siftex Equipment Company

[Manufacturer Spotlight] Katty Garcia General Manager, Siftex Equipment Company


By: Dean Simmons

Professional Journey to Manufacturing Leadership

Throughout her 33-year career in manufacturing, Katty Garcia has consistently emphasized the importance of education. With a degree in industrial engineering from INTEC and a master’s degree in service management from the Rochester Institute of Technology, she remains committed to learning how to enhance her company and support her employees.

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Garcia relocated to the United States in 2011, bringing with her years of experience as a Plant Manager, Production Manager, Quality Manager, Operations Director, and business owner.

Six years ago, she embarked on her tenure as a Production Operations Manager at Siftex Equipment Company, a manufacturer specializing in custom flexible connectors for various industries and applications. Last year, she was promoted to the company leadership position of General Manager, responsible for all operations and management of the company.

Facing Challenges, Overcoming Obstacles

As a woman in a predominantly male-dominated industry, Garcia was determined to overcome the hurdles that inevitably arose throughout her manufacturing career. However, through perseverance and dedication, she advanced in each role, gaining insights into the industries she served, understanding customer expectations, and nurturing business relationships that showcased her leadership capabilities. She recognized the importance of tailoring her approach to different individuals, acknowledging the need for sensitivity to effectively communicate and help others to excel.

Benefits of a Mentor

Early in her manufacturing journey, she was fortunate to have a supervisor at a manufacturing job in the Dominican Republic who served as her mentor. He was a plant manager who instilled in her the importance of thinking innovatively and out of the box, refusing to accept defeat or take no for an answer, and consistently seeking solutions to problems. He encouraged her to try different things and advocated for her to treat people fairly and listen to them “with love” so they know you truly care about them and want them to succeed in their jobs. This is where she honed essential leadership qualities that would serve her well on her journey.

Opportunities for Women in Manufacturing

Garcia believes that numerous opportunities exist for women in manufacturing, provided they exhibit passion and dedicate themselves to education and skill development. Roles in quality control, production, operations, logistics, and ultimately management are within reach.

Carefully selecting the right company to work for is crucial. Equally important is having a clear vision of what you want to achieve in your career and being prepared to make sacrifices along the way. Learn as much as you can about your company, your customers and competitors, the products you manufacture, and your industry to gain as much experience as possible.

What Makes a Good Leader

According to Garcia, effective leadership involves surrounding oneself with talented individuals who represent the future of the organization. Nurturing and coaching them, supporting their professional growth through training, and fostering an environment where their ideas are valued contribute to building loyalty and respect within the team.

Continuous learning, staying updated on industry trends, and encouraging innovation are also vital attributes that sustain your leadership credentials and earn the respect of your staff. This can include attending relevant seminars, conferences, and webinars related to your industry and the markets of your customers, and following the latest technology developments within your industry.

Secret to Success

Garcia is motivated to succeed, both personally and professionally, sharing “I’m a problem solver who thrives on challenges and learning. Continuous improvement is my main target, and it demands focus, passion, and commitment. I’m very oriented to helping my employees grow and prosper, and providing the best quality of life possible for them is paramount.”

She would like women to know that as they navigate their professional journeys, they should embrace their distinctiveness. This adds to the unique perspectives and talents women can bring to leadership positions which are the foundations upon which new ideas and solutions are built.

“For women in manufacturing, my best advice is to block out all of the noise and focus on your goals,” Garcia says. “Be confident, be fearless, and don’t let anyone discourage you or persuade you to move your eyes from the goal. If there’s a job to be done, just get it done.”