Empowering Women
in Manufacturing And Business

Successful women sharing their experiences and life stories that contribute to the greater good of all, improving products, making things better and safer, and fulfilling lives.


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#144 Rebooting and Locking Down Company Culture with Karen Norheim

Portrait Of Multi-Cultural Business Team Standing In Modern Open Plan Office Together

To have a happy and empowered workforce, you need to have a good foundation, a good company culture, and a healthy garden from which to grow your people and your business. Today’s guest is Karen Norheim, who is the President of American Crane, an Equipment Corporation, with three locations in Pennsylvania, totaling over a quarter of a million square feet. She is a second-generation leader in the company and, during her tenure, she has sought to solidify the founder’s legacy, while also putting her own stamp on the company culture. Karen also sits on a number of boards for industry-leading organizations. In this episode, you hear from her who American Crane is, and she shares her opinion on the importance of solidifying company culture, why you need to put emphasis on having a happy and empowered workforce, and how that has changed over time. She also talks about how she is working towards changing the narrative around a career in manufacturing, the importance of marketing and social media, and so much more. Make sure you tune in today!


Frances Brunelle

Frances Brunelle is the founder of Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc., which specializes in the sale of lower middle-market manufacturing companies nationally. Fran and her team help to ensure the continuity of U.S. Manufacturing by transitioning ownership to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Fran writes on topics that help manufacturing business owners prepare their companies for sale and navigate the sale process to ensure a positive financial result in support of their retirement. Her articles can be found here. Recently Fran was named to 2020 Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A by Mergers & Acquisitions.

To learn more about Fran and her company, click here: About Accelerated Manufacturing Brokers, Inc.


Karen Norheim

Karen Norheim is passionate about all things manufacturing. As the 2nd generation coming into the leadership role for the her family’s company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation, Karen has sought to solidify the “Founder’s Legacy” while putting her own stamp on the company culture. Karen’s company’s journey to their new mantra – Grit Matters: Perseverance, Heart & Integrity is the reboot of their vision, mission and values.

Her role, as she puts it, is that of the gardener as she leads the successful day-to-day operations of American Crane, a 180-person manufacturing facility headquartered in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, into the future. American Crane is recognized as a leader in the design and manufacture of cranes, hoists and other material handling equipment. Karen received a dual Bachelor of Science degree in both Marketing & International Business and International Studies from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Information Science and an MBA.

The work that Karen has accomplished by mentoring others and promoting the industry has made her a leader in the manufacturing industry in Berks County and beyond. She is a true spokesperson for the great jobs and quality of life that the industry can provide, and she is also a dynamic force when it comes to the immense technology and innovation occurring in manufacturing at a rapid rate. Karen is an advocate for encouraging young people to consider a career in manufacturing – particularly women. She is a frequent speaker at local schools and professional organizations. In addition to her many roles within the company, Karen also sits on the boards of many industry leading organizations.

Karen plays a pivotal role in the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s Next Gen Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership. Her leadership within this group as an appointed “Champion” has strongly supported the identification of common areas for regional growth, talent development, and workforce pipeline solutions that can be addressed with one voice. Karen is Vice-President of Crane Manufacturers Association of America, Inc. (CMAA) and also serves as Chairperson for the National Board of Women in Manufacturing (WiM).

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