Behind every successful woman is a room full of people who cheer for them, inspire them, and push them to move past their comfort zone. When I reflect on the amazing people in my corner, I am thankful to have the support of other fearless women, a community of wastewater industry professionals, great friends, and my family.
Many of the most important relationships in my life are tied to our family owned and operated manufacturing business serving the wastewater industry, the Vaughan Company. It all started with my great-grandfather, Jim Vaughan. He was a tradesman at heart; welding was his passion. When local farmers came to him for help with clogged pumps, he listened. He designed the world’s first chopper pump in the late 50’s; in 1960, the Vaughan Company was born. His brilliant idea met a genuine need that had applications far beyond the dairy farm. In the decades since, our operations have increased significantly (we now have 35 issued or pending patents worldwide). As we’ve expanded into the industrial and municipal wastewater markets, I’m proud to say that we still stamp “Made in the USA” on every Vaughan product, including our line of centrifugal chopper and screw pumps, process mixing equipment and other specialty products.
I can truly say that I grew up at the Vaughan Company. I came to live at our Montesano, WA, manufacturing facility in a small trailer where my lovebird parents made their first home. By day, my dad worked in production and purchasing, and by night he watched over the property. Before my second birthday my parents had purchased a home in a neighboring town five miles away. Even though we were no longer living on the Vaughan Company property, my mom says it’s where I learned how to walk, talk, and make friends. One of my fondest memories is turning on the old factory’s overhead swinging lights with the hand lever. I started working at Vaughan Company when I was 16 years old. Whether answering phones, running errands, making photocopies or picking up supplies from local vendors, I have worn many hats over the last 25 years. Every single day I work hard to uphold my family’s legacy of leading the industry with cutting-edge and dependable pumping solutions.
Working in a family business surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and many family friends, I became almost too comfortable. Not until years into my career did I come to understand the importance of taking steps outside of your comfort zone. To push myself professionally, I began setting daily goals to expand my skillset, and joined new industry associations, including WEF MARC (Water Environment Federation’s Manufacturers and Representatives Committee), WEFTEC (Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition & Conference) Advisory Committee, PNCWA (Pacific Northwest Water Association), PNCWA Women of Water, SWPA (Submersible Wastewater Pump Association) Vice Chair of Marketing, and WiM (Women in Manufacturing).
My current role (and my favorite role to date) at the Vaughan Company is Marketing Director and Trade Show & Event Coordinator. In this role, I use every bit of experience I’ve gained over the last 25 years of working for our family business. With changes brought on by the pandemic in 2020, my energy and focus have extended beyond trade show coordination and print advertising to include digital strategy. As I dive deeper into the world of digital marketing and advertising, I am once again challenging myself to learn new skills so that I can help our business grow.
With an army of good people in my corner, I’ve gotten to a really exciting place in life and in business. I love celebrating other women who are also dreaming, imagining, and working hard to make this world better for the future. That’s why events like Empowering Women in Industry are special to me. They provide an opportunity to cheer on all the amazing women that are taking their industry by storm.
Just like my great grandfather who started the family business, I continue to believe that anything is possible with great intention, being true to yourself, and setting daily goals. I’m so excited for the future of Vaughan Company and to take charge of the new goals I’ve set for myself.