In our Women in Manufacturing series, we're highlighting the inspiring women who are pursuing their manufacturing careers at Fairbanks Morse and powering the world forward! This month we hear from Pam Densch, who shares her experience working at Fairbanks Morse.
“I’m really proud to be a woman in manufacturing, proud to be a machinist, and proud of the work I do.”
Tell us a bit about your job and what your work looks like day to day.
I’m a manual machinist, which essentially means I make something with my own hands rather than having a machine make it—the machine assists me instead of me assisting the machine. Day to day tasks include finishing, grinding, and lapping components that are going into finished engines or aftermarket sales. I also assist people with blueprints, fuel injector parts, and various parts of the engine, so my daily tasks include a little bit of everything.
How did you arrive at your current position? What attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
I previously worked as a lathe operator for over 20 years. I heard Fairbanks Morse was hiring, so I put in an application and got hired. This was a great achievement for me since I applied a lot in my 20s and was told I didn’t have skill set at the time. Then, I went to other factories where I learned and acquired skills. Prior to that, I tried a desk job for a while and it wasn’t for me. I’m very mechanical and like to work with my hands. I picked up machining very quickly. It’s now my niche and very satisfying.
Have you had any mentors at Fairbanks Morse that have helped you achieve your career goals?
The person that mentored me the most was Steve. I was working in the fuel injection department when I came on board and Steve took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, especially techniques for machining. He worked in grinding for over 40 years and helped me learn different techniques.
For young women exploring career choices, how would you explain the benefits of a career in manufacturing? What advice would you give young women who are interested in the industry?
Being able to take an average piece of steel and make it a functioning component is very satisfying. Having a career in manufacturing means you can produce products that will be used by another human and will alter their life in a specific way; anywhere from a broom someone uses to sweep a floor to an engine that keeps a nuclear power plant online.
Don’t be discouraged. This is still a man’s world. It’s hard and comes with its own set of challenges. If you know you can do it and you want to do it, never take ‘no’ for an answer. Don’t let people discourage you.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Fairbanks Morse?
I’m extremely proud of the product line we produce here at Fairbanks Morse. The fully built engines—along with their size and complexity—are really amazing and have to be one of the most satisfying elements of working at this company.
What’s been your best moment at Fairbanks Morse so far?
My favorite moment at Fairbanks Morse so far was a tour of naval offices where I got to meet these men and women and express that they are truly my heroes. One of the naval officers said his son is on a CG ship and it has Fairbanks Morse engines. He then told me that Fairbanks Morse employees are his heroes because his son comes back safely every time he goes out because of the reliable engines we produce.
What are some of your favorite activities outside of work?
I really enjoy spending time with my puppies and loved ones. I also love to garden, go for bike rides, read, camp, hike, and travel.