2016 Engineering Leader Under 40: April Ankrum, 37
Senior Product Manager, Connectivity Division, Turck, Minn.
April Ankrum, 37
Senior Product Manager, Connectivity Division; Turck, Minn.
BS Management & Engineering for Manufacturing, University of Connecticut
Ankrum has worked at Turck for 16 years, focusing on industrial connectivity. She joined the company as a project engineer to build the custom connectivity group that continues to be critical to Turck's operations. Since 2013, she has been a senior product manager for connectivity, where she is a key member in forming the division's strategy and long-term goals. As one the first female engineers at Turck, she has championed women-focused groups within the company. One of these was Women in Sales, where colleagues could talk about their experiences in the workforce and address challenges met in the field. She also started a Mom's Support Group, where new moms returning to Turck could talk about transitioning back to the workforce. In the broader community, Ankrum belongs to Minnesota Women Leading Manufacturing. The local trade group connects women in leadership roles to network, discuss challenges, have mentoring opportunities, and learn from speakers. Each year, Ankrum and her family choose a national park to visit, exploring the park's history and how they can help preserve these areas.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey