Smalltown Montana girl named top manufacturing leader

Dawson County graduate named tops in manufacturing

Addie Lordemann was recently recognized by the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers as one of the top women in the field exemplifying leadership.

The 2016 STEP Ahead Emerging Leaders Award identifies the top women in manufacturing in the country under the age of 30 and encourages them to mentor the next generation of female talent. STEP stands for science, technology, engineering and production.

A 2011 graduate of Montana State University’s Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the College of Engineering, Lordemann joined fellow STEP Ahead Award winners at an April 21 awards gala at the International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., and will take part in leadership development through the institute.


abbie lordemann


Lordemann said a passionate high school teacher – Richard Lindgren of Dawson County High School – sparked her interest in chemistry. Committed professors and challenging chemical engineering coursework at MSU nourished it, she said, and present-day opportunities to troubleshoot and develop innovative solutions continue to feed it.

Before she had her Montana State diploma in hand, Lordemann lined up a job with manufacturing company 3M as a project engineer in the Advanced Materials Division. Formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M produces more than 55,000 products and employs almost 90,000 people globally.

Lordemann designed a cooling system upgrade for a 3M plant in Alabama that now generates an additional $7 million dollars a year for the company by increasing throughput. In total, she’s managed more than $20 million in capital projects to successful completion during her four-and-a-half years with 3M.

Lordemann said she calls heavily upon her coursework at MSU. She’s been pleased to find a strong parallel between the material she learned as a student and its practical application in the manufacturing industry, she said.

Lordemann, 28, was born and raised in Glendive. Since joining 3M, her work has taken to her Singapore, Germany, China and Belgium.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “You get to experience engineering in different areas of the world.” She said she also tries to make it back to Montana as much as her busy schedule allows.

During her senior year at MSU, Lordemann met Jean Bennington Sweeney through the recommendation of Jeffrey Heys, head of the chemical and biological engineering department.

At the time, 3M didn’t have an established recruiting program at MSU, so Bennington Sweeney, a member of MSU’s Alumni Foundation, initiated conversations with promising students like Lordemann on her own time.

“Addie’s a person who likes to get involved in things, and I appreciate that about her,” said Bennington Sweeney, 3M’s chief sustainability officer. “She’s ready to jump in and take on a leadership role. She’s had some big assignments and done quite well.”

In addition to leading a 3M team of other alumni in recruiting efforts at MSU, Lordemann – who has been mentored by Bennington Sweeney since joining 3M – has herself become a mentor to recent graduates. There are about 100 MSU alumni working for 3M in the U.S., according to a company official.

“Like Jean, I have a strong passion to see more MSU students come through 3M, and I want them to feel welcome,” Lordemann said. “I want them to feel like they can ask whatever questions they have.”

Although she acknowledges that being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field makes her job more challenging, Lordemann says “it’s just that extra challenge that...makes me a better person.” She said it helps her better assist female colleagues who encounter similar difficulties.

In terms of growing her career, Lordemann said she would like to work in a plant as a product or process engineer. She aims to enter management one day and thinks she might like to become a director at 3M.

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