RACINE, Wis.—Neither woman had planned to work in silicone molding. But what started by chance grew into a newly formed company, Silicone Molding Technologies L.L.C.
Co-owner Susan Mead said her career in silicone molding began in 1984 with a job at SurgiTech. It wasn't the career path she had planned for herself.
“It was the job that was available,” Mead said.
That job opened doors for Mead that led her to a supervisory role at Limtech Inc. in Sturtevant, Wis. There she met SMT co-founder Tonia Trinidad.
“Sue was my supervisor,” Trinidad said. “I was just filling an open position.”
While the circumstances leading them into silicone molding had been by chance, both said once in the industry, they discovered they enjoyed the work, and were good at it.
Over the years, that work dynamic led to the birth of Racine-based SMT. The company not only is led by two women, it's an entirely female staff—they have no other employees yet.
“We thought we would go into business for ourselves,” Trinidad said.
Mead said the time they spent at Limtech was a great learning process because they were able to witness a company expand from a staff of five to more than 100.
“There was a lot of opportunity to grow because the company was growing,” Mead said.
What they didn't learn at Limtech and from their previous career experience, the two were able to pick up through other resources during the planning process.
“There are a lot of different programs and seminars that are available,” Trinidad said. Mead, meanwhile, is finishing up a bachelor's degree in business.
Today the two are fleshing out the final details of their product lineup and building relationships in the industry.
They leased some startup equipment and launched the business April 17. The women hope to use their decades of combined experience to cater to smaller companies in need of molding.
While both Mead and Trinidad admitted they see very few women in their line of work—nor did they expect to be there themselves—they would encourage others to actively pursue this career path.
“I would tell them to try it out,” Trinidad said. “I certainly enjoy what I'm doing.”