[Portrait] Women in Manufacturing – Klara Kaczkowska
Posted by Bert Maes on November 4, 2009
Women can make a real difference in manufacturing. Today, there is nothing more relevant for our society than making things, creating technology, with a female eye for detail.
For the past 2 years, Klara Kaczkowska has worked as a CNC machine tool engineer with Abplanalp Consulting: A highly successful Haas Factory Outlet (HFO) in Warszawa, Poland. From an early age Klara was always inquisitive about how things were put together, so it didn’t surprise her friends and family when she chose to study for a Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and then a career in what is still a relatively male dominated industry.
“I got a lot of admiration from my family and friends for choosing to follow a career path that is a little unusual for a woman,” she explains. “For me, it felt great to know I was doing something I loved, but that was also a little bit different from the norm.” As a child, Klara enjoyed helping her father, who was a car mechanic. “When we were working in his garage I became used to technical terminology which gave me such a great grounding for my later studies.”
In addition to her current work commitments at HFO Abplanalp, Klara has also found time to continue with her education and in July of this year she finished her second phase of studies: A Masters degree in Management and Production Engineering.
Klara’s role at the HFO is split between two areas: She works part of her week as contract manager, where she uses her extensive professional knowledge to advise on technical documentation for Haas machines; the other half of her week she works as a technical assistant.
“I definitely prefer the time I spend as a technical assistant”, she says. “I have been lucky that this part of my role has always linked well to my educational back ground. This is my first permanent job and my experience with Abplanalp over the last 2 years has done so much to help me acquire more practical knowledge of CNC machine processing. This is what I’m truly interested in.”
Klara has also been involved with the development of Haas Technical Education Centres (HTECs) in Poland.
“The HTEC program provides a good CNC machine tool education for students and it’s great to be part of creating a friendly environment to encourage students to practice their skills. Among other things, I’m involved with helping to raise the awareness that the equipment needs to be updated on a regular basis to ensure that the students are continuing to train on current models; I firmly believe that this up-to-date knowledge is essential grounding for their futures as precision engineers.”
Klara works hard to encourage others like her to overcome the perception that the machine tool industry is stereotypically for men, and to pursue a rewarding and exciting career in the sector.
“I’m very proud of my achievements as an engineer,” she says, “and I’m eager to progress even further with my professional development. Whenever I get the chance I encourage other women to take up the challenge, as I did. It is such a great industry to be in and offers many opportunities for both men and women alike.”