Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Awards tap Brunswick recipients

Brunswick Corporation announced that both Kim Shaller, purchasing manager at Boston Whaler in Edgewater, Fla., and Judith Zelisko, Brunswick’s vice president – tax, have been selected among 130 recipients from 101 companies to receive the Women in Manufacturing STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award from the Manufacturing Institute for 2019.

At an April 11 reception in Washington, D.C., the STEP Awards will mark its seventh year and honor all 130 recipients, representing all levels of manufacturing, from the factory floor to the C suite.  The program will highlight each honoree’s story, their accomplishments and how each has demonstrated excellence and leadership during their careers as well as in the community.

“This year marks the third consecutive year that Brunswick has been represented among those chosen for this highly selective award,” said Brunswick Chief Executive Officer David Foulkes.  “In the past three years, six Brunswick employees from our manufacturing, engineering and financial teams have been so honored, which we believe demonstrates the skills and leadership abilities that are prevalent among not only the women at Brunswick, but also throughout our global organization.  Further, we are humbled that Brunswick is one of a handful of companies with more than one employee selected this year for this honor.” 

Women constitute one of manufacturing’s largest pools of untapped talent.  Women totaled about 47 percent of the U.S. labor force in 2016, but only 29 percent of the manufacturing workforce. 

“The Manufacturing Institute launched the STEP Ahead initiative to honor and promote the role of women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research, and leadership,” Foulkes explained. “With the support of U.S. manufacturers, such as Brunswick, STEP Ahead has become a successful grassroots movement of manufacturers dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing the industry, the skills gap, and attracting, retaining, and advancing quality talent.”

A person smiling for the camera  Description automatically generatedJudy Zelisko
Zelisko is a recognized leader who earned her JD from Harvard Law School when women were only about 10 percent of the class.  As vice president – tax, Zelisko leads the Brunswick Corporate Tax Department, which is responsible for worldwide tax planning and U.S. tax compliance, including all manufacturing operations.

Beginning her career with Brunswick in 1978, Zelisko has been integral to the Company’s planning and strategic decisions, including scores of acquisitions and tactical actions that have contributed significantly to the Company’s success.

“When the boat industry was significantly impacted by the economic downturn of 2008, Judy and her team diligently pursued tax strategies to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in crucial considerations,” Foulkes said. “Specifically, Judy was instrumental in working with the National Association of Manufacturers Coalition to advocate for an extension of the Net Operating Loss Carryback at the federal level.

“Tenacious and politically astute, Judy, in her coalition efforts, helped to ensure the continuation, and eventual permanence, of the federal R&D tax credit,” Foulkes continued. “Judy supported the extension of the act all 15 times it was challenged, including personally testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of the R&D tax credit, until it was made permanent in 2015.”

Zelisko serves on the Tax Leadership Committee of NAM, is a member and past chairperson of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation Tax Council and provides leadership within many other boards and organizations to support the industry. Judy was also the first woman elected to be president of the Chicago Chapter of the Tax Executives Institute, a professional organization of 7,000 members globally, and served as TEI’s International President. In addition, Zelisko served for many years on the Board of Advisors for the University of Illinois’ Masters in Tax degree program.

Outside the tax arena, Zelisko believes in giving back and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she graduated with a BA honors degree in economics and international relations. Zelisko is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

She also serves as president of the Brunswick Foundation, which awards scholarships to the children of Brunswick ‘s employees.   Zelisko also is a founding member of the Brunswick Women’s Network, which is an enterprise-wide effort that provides mentorship and professional development to women within the organization. The Network has been fertile ground for identifying and preparing women to step into supervisory and management roles. Throughout the evolution of the network, Zelisko’s leadership, encouragement and support have been crucial to its progression and achievements.

A person sitting at a desk  Description automatically generated

Kim Shaller
Shaller joined Boston Whaler in 1993 as part of planned three-month internship, which became a career.  While growing with the organization, Shaller recently earned her bachelor’s degree in supervisory and management from Daytona State College while using Brunswick’s tuition reimbursement program, allowing her to graduate with no school debt.

Today, Shaller and her staff of seven, which includes six buyers and one administrative coordinator, are responsible for the procurement of all materials and commodities at Boston Whaler, including marine engines, maintenance, repair and operations, supplies and various bulk materials. 

“Whaler’s increasing sales and rapid growth, reflecting the popularity of the brand as well as the saltwater fishing segment that it serves, have placed more demands on every segment of the operation to effectively and efficiently respond to product demand,” Foulkes explained.  “Through initiating various process improvements and skillfully leveraging supplier relationships, Kim and her team of purchasing professionals have ensured that Whaler can meet its growth goals, while still delivering significant cost savings and production efficiencies.”

Shaller is also very active within the Whaler “family” as well as the Edgewater community.  During her tenure at Boston Whaler, Kim has led the planning for the annual Company Picnic and other community outreach events. 

In 2018, 1,340 employees, family and friends attended the Boston Whaler picnic. Those receiving donations from the event included the Edgewater Fire Department – Project Caring, a local toy drive providing prescriptions and transport for those in need in Edgewater; support for a no-bully teen shelter, a no-kill animal shelter, and school supplies for the local science/technology charter school. 

Shaller also has co-led the “Boatload of Backpack” program for eight years, collecting school supplies and cash to distribute 160 backpacks full of school supplies to three local elementary schools. 

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