Two Cooper Engineers Receive STEP Ahead Honors for Leadership

March 4, 2016

Two Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. engineers are recipients of The Manufacturing Institute’s Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead awards for 2016.

Heather Mosier, sport utility vehicle and light truck tire development manager, who is on Cooper’s North America Technical Center team based in Findlay, Ohio, and Nichole Williams, a Six Sigma Black Belt at Cooper’s tire manufacturing facility in Tupelo, Miss., were among 130 women nationally who earned the honor from a field of hundreds of nominees.

The STEP Ahead Awards program, now in its fourth year, recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to senior executive leadership.

On April 21, winners of the STEP Ahead Award will be recognized at a reception in Washington, D.C., where each honoree’s story will be highlighted, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing as well as their roles in the community. Mosier and Williams will attend this event along with members of Cooper’s senior executive leadership team.

“It’s gratifying to see that two Cooper leaders, out of hundreds of women who were nominated nationwide, earned this important recognition. Heather and Nichole continue to make a positive impact at our company in the field of manufacturing and in our communities,” says Roy Armes, chairman, president and CEO. “Both play integral roles at Cooper and serve as outstanding role models to other women and men in their manufacturing careers. On behalf of everyone at Cooper, I congratulate Heather and Nichole and wish them continued success.”

Mosier has 20 years of automotive experience, including her current position as sport utility vehicle and light truck tire development manager, where she is involved in new product development at Cooper’s North America Technical Center. Most recently, she led a group of engineers in the development of three new award-winning products for Cooper Tire in North America, including the Discoverer SRX, Discoverer A/TW, and the Discoverer STT Pro.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Mosier is an active volunteer for the Hancock Soccer Association and the Jefferson Primary School in Findlay. She was previously an advisor and mentor for Junior Achievement in Findlay, where she worked with middle school students to develop planning, assembly, inventory control, and basic accounting skills. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a master’s degree in manufacturing management from Kettering University, Flint, Mich.

Williams, honored as a STEP Ahead Award Emerging Leader, a category for women in manufacturing who are under the age of 30, is a Black Belt in the Lean Six Sigma program at Cooper’s Tupelo tire manufacturing facility. She joined the company in 2013 and uses her Six Sigma and project management skills to help drive efficiency in manufacturing and waste reduction at the plant. She is the leader for the Tupelo facility’s process capability improvement efforts, in addition to being responsible for facilitating Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training. Recently, she led a cross-functional team that was responsible for a complex, multi-phased effort that streamlined a significant manufacturing process at the plant.

Nichole is a member of Cooper’s “Dream Team,” a group of early-career employees across the nation who serve as ambassadors in local middle schools to promote manufacturing as an excellent career choice. She is also a member of the “Cooper Troopers,” the Tupelo plant’s community service group. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.

The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent.

The Manufacturing Institute says that 80% of American manufacturing companies have a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers, and less than a third of the manufacturing workforce are women. Closing the skills gap includes closing the gender gap.

For more information on The Manufacturing Institute, visit

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