Maddison Mack, a three-year employee at Worthington’s Delta, Ohio facility, does a lot of heavy lifting in her role—literally. As one of eight overhead crane operators, Maddison’s responsibilities include moving heavy steel coils from one line to the next, loading and unloading trucks, and ultimately ensuring all operations stay in motion. It’s a role that requires a lot of technical expertise, logistics knowledge and perception, and one that Maddison was determined to undertake from day one.
After beginning her career path in healthcare, Maddison, a mother of three, decided to leave her job to stay home with her children for a few years. When she was ready to return to the workforce, Worthington was a no-brainer. “When I was twelve, my dad started working [at the steel processing plant], so I knew it well. Growing up, we went to so many Worthington picnics and events,” she says.
Despite her family connection, Maddison didn’t want to call attention to it when she applied. “It was important for me to make my own name and impact,” she states. Although once she was hired, it didn’t take long for the connection to be recognized. “Everyone knew who I was, because Worthington is just like one big family,” she laughs.
Her first role consisted of entry-level work in the shipping department, but her aspirations were much higher. Having watched the lines and day-to-day operations, she was intrigued by the machinery and the skill required to control the overhead cranes. Determined to advance, she quickly learned how to operate the hot band crane—a slower-moving, outdoor crane well-suited for beginners. Soon after, she began training indoors alongside the operator of the work-in-progress (WIP) crane, the faster-paced and much higher crane where the operator is seated in a large cab overlooking the facility floor. “I didn’t realize I was afraid of heights until then. Luckily, I quickly got over that!”
Much of her experience came about in 2020, due to COVID-19. Maddison recalls one day, she happened to be present when a WIP operator called off. She was assigned to fill in, and although she was nervous, she confidently stepped up. Not only did she excel at her first solo 12-hour shift operating the overhead crane; the plant ran record numbers of coils that day.
In the fall of 2022, one of the overhead crane positions became available and Maddison leapt at the opportunity. She was offered the role—and became the first female crane operator the facility has had in its 26 years of existence.
“I never really thought, ‘Oh, I’m a woman doing this job,’” Maddison says. “But I’m really proud of it.”
Outside of Worthington, Maddison is also passionate about communicating the possibilities of a career in manufacturing with young women. Recently, she shared her experiences with a group of female high school students preparing to enter the workforce. By breaking stereotypes, she believes more women will be compelled to try new roles and, ultimately, find work that makes them happy.
Among all the benefits that come with the job, perhaps the most important to Maddison is the example she is setting for her daughters by showing them that having a successful career as a woman—and a single mom—in a male-dominant industry is absolutely possible. She’s truly forging new paths for women in the workplace.