Lancaster, Pa. -- The Manufacturing Institute announced they will award Amy Costello, sustainability manager for Armstrong Flooring, with the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award. The STEP Ahead Awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory-floor to the C suite.

As a licensed environmental engineer with 25-plus years of experience, Costello is responsible for driving sustainability for Armstrong Flooring in operations and on the product side. Her extensive knowledge of sustainable practices allows her to understand what is needed to fully integrate and drive sustainability throughout the business.

"We congratulate Amy for this great recognition of her important work at Armstrong Flooring," said Don Maier, Armstrong Flooring CEO. "Our customers are designing buildings with a steadily increasing focus on innovative and sustainable products. Thanks to the work and ingenuity of Amy and engaged employees around the world, we have relentless focus on ways to reduce energy usage, manage water usage and minimize waste."

Natalie Schilling, 2018 chair of STEP Ahead, added, "The women who we are celebrating represent the exciting career opportunities available in manufacturing. The STEP Ahead Award honors successful women in this industry for their significant achievements and the positive impact they have made on their companies, their communities and the industry as a whole."

Women constitute one of manufacturing's largest pools of untapped talent. Women totaled about 47% of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29% of the manufacturing workforce. Not only does the STEP Ahead initiative bolster manufacturing's attractiveness to women, it also plays an important role in improving the perception of careers in the industry among younger generations.

"Companies across the U.S. agree there is a talent shortage in manufacturing. Through the STEP Ahead Awards, we hope to take another step toward closing this gap by highlighting the stories of successful women in manufacturing and giving them a platform to encourage other women to join the industry and be role models for the next generation," said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. "The women being honored demonstrate what modern manufacturing careers are all about: making an impact in their communities with meaningful careers that offer significant opportunities for growth."

The STEP Ahead Awards are part of the larger STEP Ahead initiative, launched to examine and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership for attracting, advancing, and retaining strong female talent. In five years, STEP Ahead Award winners have impacted more than 300,000 individuals - from peers in the industry to school-aged children.

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