Marion Pender
Corporate ESCO Business System Manager
ESCO Corporation
Portland, OR

“The Apollo Space Program was the backdrop for my formative years; a thrilling adventure of science, experiments, group learning and teams working together to achieve difficult goals and do it better than anyone else. I've found manufacturing to be exactly this only without the glitz, glamor and TV coverage!”

Marion has a 30 year career of applying her exceptional critical thinking and analytical skills to achieve business results.   She earned a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1979 when there were few women in engineering, let alone manufacturing.  At ESCO Corporation, she has been able to walk into a variety of global facilities with unique cultures and quickly grasp the situation and develop a relationship of trust with employees. This requires a love of manufacturing, a sincere interest in the people at the site, and a desire to deliver whatever support that team needs. 
 
As with most change, the path forward hasn’t always been easy, but her perseverance and leadership has helped ESCO improve its equipment reliability, significantly reduce injuries, and improve the flow of work through both manufacturing and administrative processes even during difficult economic times.  Marion has shared the lessons learned as a result of this work as a presenter at regional and national manufacturing conferences.
 
Marion is also member of the Assessor Team for the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Manufacturing Excellence Award to evaluate & select recipients for this award.  This involves visiting other North American manufacturers to determine the degree to which they have applied lean manufacturing principles to take care of their employees and strengthen their business.  She brings this knowledge and experience back to ESCO to help lead the continuous improvement work. 
 
While she has focused on improving manufacturing and administrative processes, she has also strengthened the company’s leadership capabilities. Marion created and delivered several major programs to help ESCO leaders adopt the thinking, behaviors and practices that support a respect for people that encourages performance and continuous improvement. 
 
Marion is well known within the ESCO Continuous Improvement community as a mentor to many Continuous Improvement Leaders around the globe. She developed and co-led the Continuous Improvement Internship program, an intensive program which takes people new to the concepts of continuous improvement all the way to demonstrated competency within one year. Marion has also led the ESCO Corporation Continuous Improvement Forum for over 10 years. In an effort to provide a forum for ESCO women, she co-founded the ESCO Women’s Network, a grass roots effort that provides opportunities for women ESCO employees to connect with each other.
 
Marion has shared her talents in the Portland Community through two major charities, Friendly House Inc., where she is a member of the Board of Directors and at the Randall Children’s Hospital, where she volunteers weekly as a baby/toddler cuddler, providing a break to mothers and fathers who are juggling other demands and stresses during their child’s hospital stay. 

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