The Manufacturing Institute to Honor Adrianne Tipton, PhD, Chief Technology Officer at Novolex

HARTSVILLE, SC. — March 7, 2022 — The Manufacturing Institute (MI), the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, announced it will award Novolex® Chief Technology Officer Dr. Adrianne Tipton with the Women in Manufacturing STEP 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.

“It’s an honor to be recognized amongst this incredible group of women in the manufacturing field,” said Adrianne Tipton, PhD, Chief Technology Officer of Novolex. “Novolex has created a community that uplifts and inspires innovation in all forms to develop new products, enhance our operations and support our people and communities. I am proud to accept this award and be able to continue to promote opportunities for women at Novolex and encourage others to seek roles in the broader manufacturing sector.”

The STEP Women’s Initiative is the nation’s marquee program to close the gender gap in manufacturing. STEP works to foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation.

“Adrianne has helped lead remarkable advancements at Novolex — from developing and marketing innovative sustainable packaging solutions that support the circular economy to enhancing our health and safety initiatives and engineering programs across the company,” said Stan Bikulege, Novolex Chairman and CEO. “Her resolve to help others has been felt throughout our 10,000-strong Novolex family. We look forward to Adrianne’s continued leadership and remain committed to lifting up the next generation of female talent in manufacturing.”

Added Denise Rutherford, 2022 STEP Ahead chair: “The 2022 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leader awardees are excellent representatives of the exciting opportunities available in manufacturing. These remarkable women and the leadership they show help inspire the next generation of female leaders to consider careers in manufacturing.”

The STEP Ahead Awards honor exceptional women in manufacturing and motivate them to mentor the next generation through an annual awards gala and associated leadership training program. The stories of these women and the leadership they show will help inspire next-generation female leaders in manufacturing and support current female talent within the industry. In the program’s first five years, STEP Ahead Award winners impacted more than 300,000 individuals — from peers in the industry to school-age children.

“The STEP Ahead Awards are central to the industry’s efforts to recognize and empower women,” said Carolyn Lee, President of MI. “Our Honorees and Emerging Leaders serve as role models and have their own multiplier effect on the number of women in the workforce, paying it forward to help others find their way into a successful, rewarding career in modern manufacturing. After 10 years of STEP Ahead Awards, we’ve honored more than 1,100 women leaders in manufacturing, who in turn have impacted hundreds of thousands of individuals through mentoring and volunteer work. We’re so proud of all these women, and we can’t wait to see what STEP and its Honorees and Emerging Leaders will accomplish in the next 10 years.”

The biggest challenge facing manufacturers continues to be the growing workforce crisis — the shortage of skilled talent to fill open positions. Manufacturers can close the skills gap by 50% simply by bringing 10% more women into the industry.

Women account for about half of the U.S. labor force but represent less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce. STEP Ahead empowers and inspires women in the manufacturing industry. The goal is to build networks for women to have support in their industry and to elevate the role models who can motivate and mentor the next generation.

On April 28, the MI will recognize 130 recipients of the STEP Ahead Awards in Washington, D.C. The STEP Ahead Awards program will highlight each Honoree and Emerging Leader’s story, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

About Novolex
Novolex develops and manufactures diverse packaging products for multiple industries in the foodservice, delivery and carryout, food processing and industrial markets that touch nearly every aspect of daily life. The Novolex family of brands provides customers with innovative food and delivery packaging and performance solutions products for their business needs today while investing in research and development to engineer more sustainable choices for the future. With more than 10,000 employee families, Novolex operates 57 manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe, including two world-class plastic film recycling centers. To learn more about Novolex, visit

About The Manufacturing Institute
The Manufacturing Institute grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The MI’s diverse initiatives support all American workers, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, the MI is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information, please visit

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