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Women in Titanium Committee Approves Group’s Charter and Lays out Initial Near-Term Goals

“Women in Titanium” (WiT), a new committee administered by the International Titanium Association (ITA), held its first meeting on Feb. 27, and officially approved the group’s charter and laid out an initial slate of near-term goals.

Dawne S. Hickton, the vice chair, president and chief executive officer of RTI International Metals, Inc., Pittsburgh, served as the keynote speaker for the event. Hickton, who last year was tapped as the first female president of the executive board for the ITA, announced plans to establish the committee, during TITANIUM USA 2014, the ITA’s annual industry conference and exhibition, which was held in Chicago last September.

As spelled out in the approved charter, the mission of the WiT committee is two-fold: first, to develop a networking group of collegial women presently in the titanium industry; and second, to promote, attract, and encourage high school and college women to enter the titanium industry.

The committee will contribute to the growth of the titanium industry by providing mentoring, collegial and networking opportunities for women within the titanium industry, as well as take part in programs which advance gender equality in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields for high school and college women. The WiT committee will support women involved in STEM in high schools and universities. The STEM education movement has gained traction in the United States in recent years—a curriculum designed to attract and cultivate students, female and male, in the skills needed for 21st century manufacturing and engineering fields.

The gathering in Los Angeles included more than 30 registrants: eight executive officers; five managers from human resources, quality, and export Services; three technical representatives; 13 sales/procurement professionals; and three high school students.

Michelle M. Pharand, the director of sales and business development for Dynamet Inc., was selected as the vice chair of the WiT committee for the 2015-2016 term. Pharand will work with Hickton to develop and implement plans for the group. Dynamet, a subsidiary of Wyomissing, PA-based Carpenter Technology Corp., is an international supplier of titanium alloy products for the aerospace, medical, consumer and recreation industries.

Since January 2013 Pharand has served as director of sales and business development for Dynamet Inc. Pharand—who hails from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada—spent more than six years at Carpenter’s Asia Pacific headquarters located in Singapore where she focused on developing business in the China market.

As for tracking her own success in the titanium sector, Pharand cited two major factors: her business mentors, male and females; and her global experience. “I’ve had great bosses over the years, mostly men,” she explained. “They took an interest in my success. They supported me and were loyal to me. They took time to teach me the skills I needed.” As a result, she hopes to bring that same spirit of mentoring to WiT.

In recent years, Hickton and other ITA leaders have focused on the need for industry stewardship programs; dedicated efforts to cultivate the next generation of titanium designers, engineers, metallurgists and executives. The ITA’s WiT initiative is part of that overall effort.

Hickton became the chief executive officer of RTI in April 2007 and serves as a member of RTI’s board of directors. She has over 25 years of diversified metals experience, including more than 16 years in the titanium industry.

The next WiT meeting is slated for May 11 in conjunction with the TITANIUM EUROPE 2015 conference and expo. A plant tour of RTI’s Tamworth, UK, facility will also be offered to WiT participants on May 13 following the conference. For additional information on the ITA’s WiT committee, contact ITA’s headquarters in Colorado USA. Jennifer Simpson is the executive director of the International Titanium Association.

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