While looking for inspiration for this column, I came across a rousing magazine headline. “Why the Women in 3D Printing Innovator Award Is Important,” the TCT Magazine headline read. The award is a collaboration between the TCT Group, parent company of TCT Magazine, and the group Women in 3D Printing. SME and Rapid News Publications Ltd., the TCT Group’s owner, co-produce the annual Rapid + TCT additive manufacturing trade show.
“Diversity makes for a better industry as a whole, whether you’re talking about gender, for example, or even skills—research has shown that diverse businesses are more productive,” said Griffiths in a follow-up interview. “What organizations like Women in 3D Printing show is that there are already lots of women in this industry who are steering the next generation of manufacturing technologies and this TCT Award provides another platform to champion that work.”
By the time you’re reading this, the innovator award honoree will have been chosen, but the four finalists are all impressive:
Laura Gilmour is global medical business development manager at EOS in Austin, Texas, devoting her career to medical device development, including two years at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration doing pre-market review.
Here’s a quote from Gilmour’s profile on the Women in 3D Printing website: “In my opinion, it’s important for elementary and high school students to see women in their work environment as engineers and have time with them to talk candidly. In these environments, students can see and hear first-hand the varied and exciting opportunities engineering and 3D printing can bring to your career and life. I also think it’s important to mentor younger engineers in the workforce by sharing experiences and strategies, as well as help them form ideas of what their career direction might look like and steps to make it happen.”
Melanie Lang is co-founder and CEO of Formalloy, San Diego, a company that focuses on metal 3D printing technology and services. The audience at the 2019 Rapid + TCT show chose Formalloy for the Innovation Audition pitch competition based on its revolving hoppers that can create new alloys on the fly during 3D printing. “For alloy development, it really helps because you only need a very small amount of powder and you can deposit it with metal deposition very quickly,” Lang said in an interview at the show.
Katherine Prescott is co-founder of Free-D, a charitable organization that helps girls and women from underprivileged backgrounds in Mumbai, India gain financial independence to thwart modern-day slavery by training them in design and 3D printing skills for jewelry. Prescott started Free-D in London in 2016 with Siavash Mahdavi, whose 3D software startup Within Technologies was acquired by Autodesk in 2014.
Wai Yee Yeong, associate professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has her PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering. She has two patents in new alloy and bio-ink formulations and leads sponsored research in excess of $5 million on 3D printing of new materials, hybrid electronic-mechanical structures and bioprinting for tissue engineering.