Heather Klish
Vice President of Operations
AxleTech International 

“Being a leader in manufacturing offers the opportunity to impact so many individuals and also improve American competitiveness. I chose to work in manufacturing in order to create value on many levels – to create jobs, create a proud team, to improve the bottom line, to develop future leaders.”

Heather was recruited by both AxleTech International and Acument Global Technologies to establish a benchmark organization and transform the culture of an underperforming business. Through her strong leadership, expertise in lean manufacturing and ability to establish order amidst chaos, Heather has played an integral role in leading the turnaround of two companies. As Vice President of Operations, Heather dramatically improved AxleTech manufacturing, distribution and business processes. She transformed underperforming facilities into showcases. Before AxleTech, Heather worked as Acument’s Vice President of Supply Chain and Lean where she drove a vision of “lean enterprise” while partnering with suppliers to reduce waste, establishing a lean operating system with the plants, and streamlining business processes.

Heather was valedictorian at Kettering University as a mechanical engineer and earned a patent for her design work as a GM co-op student. She also holds an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Leaders for Global Operations program. She has been a role model throughout her career, and exemplifies how to strike a work-life balance by devoting plenty of time to her three young children. Heather has been a leader in spearheading college graduate, intern and co-op development programs and enjoys mentoring and coaching.

Giving back to the community is important to Heather. She coaches elementary students through FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League and participated in her children’s Math Pentathlon. Heather was President of the Society of Women Engineers at Kettering University, where she created a mentoring program that pairs college students with grade school students to encourage interest in college. She created Acument’s Employee Appreciation Committee which holds many community out-reach events, and today remains active with alumni events through the MIT Global Leaders for Operations program as well as Kettering University. Heather and her husband support numerous causes including sponsoring children through Compassion International, Adopt-a-Family activities, the Flint water crisis, Huron Valley Humane Society and Christian missionaries around the world.   

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