Women in the Metals Industry: A Conversation

Women in the Metals Industry: A Conversation

According to a 2019 S&P Global survey of 66 companies in the metals and mining sectors, women made up only 3 percent to 29 percent of the companies’ workforce.

Three D Metals employee standing while working at a machine.

At Three D Metals, women have always been an integral part of our company, from sales to manufacturing and front office. We continue to encourage women in our industry to succeed and grow within our company.

We recently sat down with a few of our female employees to get their perspectives on women in the metals industry. You’ll meet:

  • Amy Gesdorf, Territory Manager with 24 years at Three D Metals. Amy has worked for two metal distributors during those years.
  • Gwen Diaz Gonzalez, Inside Sales Rep with 10 years at Three D Metals. Gwen previously worked at Williams Metals and Welding Alloys. Gwen started in the metals industry when she previously worked for an aluminum manufacturer.
  • Veronica Ashworth, Junior Buyer, started at Three D Metals in March 2021. Veronica previously worked as a buyer for a steel manufacturing company.


What Has Your Experience Been Like as a Woman in the Metals Industry?

Amy: When I was in my early 20s, it was very male-dominated. I was not the norm of what a Metals Sales Rep looked like or acted like. At first, they only agreed to see me in person since I was a female. I realized early enough that they just wanted to speak to a female and not another male sales rep. Recently though, there are women in every capacity, and I would say I see and speak to more women than men at this time.

Three D Metals employee, Amy, standing at a booth with a coworker.

Veronica: I think there are certain departments that are more female-dominated, and there are other departments that are more male-dominated. I feel like here we really have a decent balance. I’ve definitely witnessed — at other jobs — where it was very male-dominated, and you might be the only woman in the office. However, that is not the case here.

Gwen: I agree with Veronica’s point. You’ve got different departments with more women in one area and more men than the other. But I do have to say for me, it’s been pretty balanced. Now, on other previous jobs, I agree, some places weren’t as balanced. It’s been cool to see how women are becoming more and more a part of the metals industry.

Three D Metals employee, Gwen, standing at a booth with coworkers.


What Would You Say to a Woman Thinking About a Career in Metals?

Veronica: If somebody wants to do something regardless of what gender you are, you should feel comfortable to be able to do that. I think that there’s a lot of women who could thrive in this kind of industry, and I think it’s really exciting. I definitely think that it takes a certain kind of personality, though, because you definitely have to be organized and it is very, very fast-paced. I think that anybody could handle it if they really wanted to.

Gwen: For women, it’s just finding your niche and finding what makes you happy, especially when it comes to something that you’re going to do on a day-to-day basis. For us here, you have to be very organized. You have to be able to deal with the fast pace of the market, especially now, and how crazy this market is. You really need to be more organized and fast-paced and be able to handle what every day throws at you.


How Do Men and Women Co-Collaborate in the Metals Industry?

Amy: I have typically seen much co-collaboration between the males and females in our industry. We tend to listen to each other and learn from their experiences and how we can solve the issues at hand. We all may have varying opinions, but we put those together to come up with a solution that makes sense.

Gwen: Collaboration between men and women in the sales part is really, really good, especially for us at Three D because most of our outside sales group are guys. We work hand in hand together. So a prime example is of me and Matt Gillespie – we’ve worked for 10 years together. I know where his thought processes are and where we can go with something, and we like to bounce feedback off of each other. That communication has really, really been helpful for us along with keeping that flow open so that we can be able to talk with each other.


What Positive Perspectives Do Women Bring to the Metals Industry?

Amy: Women tend to be very detail-oriented and when tasked with projects, we take the time to make sure all the details are correct. 

Gwen: Men can do a lot of things and they are good at what they do as well, but I think with the fact that our brains have to constantly be in motion and we’re having to think about multiple things, especially prime example – mothers, you’re constantly dealing with your kids, dealing with your husbands and things like that. It’s that knowledge and that being able to move with the flow of things – I think women are a little bit better at that than men.


What Do You Like About the Metals Industry?

Amy: I love the people and meeting new people at each place I visit. After a bit, you develop very strong relationships with your customer base, which is what I particularly cherish.

Veronica: You learn a lot. You don’t actually realize how much of what we do touches so much of your actual life, like copper and aluminum in transformers that give us electricity. It’s really cool to see how many uses there are for what we’re doing out in the world. Also, it’s really exciting how much it changes every day. It keeps you on your toes and it makes the day go by pretty fast.

Gwen: It is very interesting to see where all of the material goes, like all of the switch gears and all of the transformers. I also work with a lot of customers in the North Carolina area that do fabrication and do artwork with it. It’s really cool to see their designs with it as well. It’s interesting how much goes into everything that we do and touch on a daily basis, and every day is different. You’re not just constantly sticking to one thing. So that makes the day go out and go by faster as well.


What Do You Like Most About Working at Three D?

Amy: Definitely the people that we get to work with every day. 

Veronica: I really like that everything’s different every day. But what probably keeps me here, honestly, is the people. There’s a lot of really good people that work here, and it’s been very nice having coworkers that care. Here, you aren’t treated like a number. It’s a place where people actually care about you.

Gwen: The market is crazy, so it keeps us pretty busy all day. It’s not the same thing every day, and that’s what makes the day go by faster. I would have to say the people are why I stay, and the fact that the company treats us like family. Anytime we need them, they’re there to help us out. All of the people are great people to work with, and the environment is very family-oriented, so I really love it here.


If Someone Doesn’t Have a Background in Metals but They’re Interested in a Career Here, What Sort of Training Does Three D Offer?

Veronica: I only had a small sampling of metals before I came here. The learning curve has been very fast-paced. There are a lot of people here who are very helpful. And it’s not just internally, either. A lot of our external vendors have taught me a lot, and they’ve been really patient. Not only do we have a really good group of people here who are willing to help you, but we have a really good group of suppliers and partnerships that are also willing to help us as a company succeed. And they’ve been very helpful to me as an individual.

Gwen: For the sales side, I would say Three D is very good about training. The sales team visits each location and tours our warehouses, so you can actually physically see the material so that you know what you’re selling and what you’re quoting.


Careers in the Metals Industry

At Three D Metals, we value our team like members of our own family. If you’d like to get to know us at Three D Metals a little better, such as our culture, benefits, and people, or think you would be a good fit for our team, take a look at our careers page to learn more and apply for a career at Three D Metals.