Lorraine Amesbury Holder

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Vice President of Operations
STIHL Inc.

I’m passionate about educating others that manufacturing jobs are not stereotypical dirty jobs, they are high-paying, high-tech careers in a cutting-edge environment.  I hope to encourage more young people to consider manufacturing as a viable career path that does not always require an expensive degree from a four-year university

As the highest-ranking woman within STIHL’s operations, she is the only woman at her level in any of the company’s global production workshops. Before her promotion to vice president of operations in 2018, Lorraine served as the director of manufacturing for 10 years. During her tenure at STIHL Inc., the company has experienced record year-over-year sales gains.

Lorraine began making her mark in 2008 when she was hired to oversee the assembly of all chainsaws and power tools in addition to the machining, guide bar, sub-assembly and apprentice departments. Her passion for skilled trades and workforce development manifested into programs impacting the regional workforce. Her efforts have been invaluable for company performance, employee performance and product launches.

British by birth, Lorraine approaches her job with all the panache an international perspective brings. Through her service on the Technical Advisory Board for Virginia Beach City Public Schools, she uses her knowledge of the skills gap, experience with successful European-modeled apprenticeship programs, and expertise in manufacturing to advocate for workforce development. The result is a dual-enrollment program with the local Advanced Technology Center and Tidewater Community College. She was also instrumental in the development of the annual STIHL Manufacturing Technology Summer Camp for high school students, a free four-day camp that introduces students to modern manufacturing. 2019 saw a record number of camp applicants and female participants.

Lorraine loves to speak publicly and is an active supporter of Rejuvenating Excellence and Accomplishing Dreams (READ), an organization with a focus on empowering young women. She also supports the Old Dominion University Society of Women Engineers each year by opening STIHL’s doors for tours and an interactive lunch. Lorraine’s dedication to the women in her community and her workplace through varied mentorship opportunities demonstrate her passion and commitment to STEM.