DENSO Engineer and D&I Leader Earns STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute

·5 min read

Denise Carlson recognized for excellence in leadership

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Aug. 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DENSO, a leading mobility supplier, today announced that The Manufacturing Institute – the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers – will recognize Denise Carlson with a STEP Ahead Award. Carlson, vice president of DENSO’s North American Production Innovation Center and the company’s executive lead of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), will be honored alongside other women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their manufacturing careers. Winners represent all levels of the industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.

Under Carlson’s leadership, DENSO has expanded its D&I efforts, implementing resources to give people with dynamic backgrounds, including women, the support necessary to succeed. This has included the creation of a D&I Council and business resource groups, which collaborate to foster more welcoming work environments; leadership training; and cultural education initiatives.

“As an engineer, I believe diversifying talent is important as it allows us to develop new ideas from different perspectives and bring innovation to the forefront of everything we do. Women are critical to this process,” Carlson said. “I’m proud to be honored among other industry leaders, who I admire for their strength and talents, and am eager to continue to grow DENSO’s D&I efforts and ensure opportunity for all.”

One of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers is the shortage of skilled talent to fill open positions, particularly as it relates to women – women account for about half of the U.S. labor force but represent less than one-third of the manufacturing workforce. Manufacturers can close the skills gap by 50% simply by bringing 10% more women into the industry. The STEP Ahead Awards are designed to help foster a 21st-century manufacturing workforce by empowering and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry through recognition, research and leadership, as well as by motivating alumnae to pay it forward by mentoring the next generation. In the program’s first five years, STEP Ahead Award winners impacted more than 300,000 individuals—from peers in the industry to school-age children.

“Women in manufacturing proved themselves time and time again after the pandemic began, leading our industry in innovation and progress. We will honor these manufacturing leaders with the STEP Ahead Awards, elevating their success and granting them a platform to inspire the next generation of women manufacturing leaders,” said Carolyn Lee, executive director of The Manufacturing Institute. “The skills gap persisted throughout the pandemic, but our STEP Ahead honorees will help us fight it – they’ll play a crucial role in bringing more talented, motivated women into manufacturing. We’re confident these honorees will serve as living proof that women can dare to dream of a fulfilling, rewarding career in the industry.”

On November 4, The Manufacturing Institute will recognize Carlson among this year’s 130 STEP Ahead Award recipients at a gala event in Washington, D.C. Each honoree’s story will be highlighted, including their leadership and accomplishments in manufacturing.

DENSO is committed to creating a better world for its customers, employees and communities alike, with the goal of creating green, safe and connected mobility technologies that offer peace of mind for all. By creating inclusive environments where all are valued and respected, innovation can take flight. For more details on the company’s culture and open career opportunities, visit

DENSO is a $44.6 billion global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components for nearly every vehicle make and model on the road today. With manufacturing at its core, DENSO invests in its 200 facilities to produce thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification, & electronic systems, to create jobs that directly change how the world moves. The company’s 168,000+ employees are paving the way to a mobility future that improves lives, eliminates traffic accidents, and preserves the environment. Globally headquartered in Kariya, Japan, DENSO spent 10.0 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021. For more information about global DENSO, visit

In North America, DENSO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, and employs 27,000+ engineers, researchers and skilled workers across 51 sites in the U.S, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs 17,700+ employees across 14 states (and the District of Columbia) and 41 sites. In fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, DENSO in North America generated $9.3 billion in consolidated sales. DENSO is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion inside the company and beyond – a principle that brings unique perspectives together, bolsters innovation and pushes DENSO forward. Join us, and craft not only how the world moves, but also your career: For more information, go to

The Manufacturing Institute grows and supports the manufacturing industry’s skilled workers for the advancement of modern manufacturing. The Manufacturing Institute’s diverse initiatives support all American workers, including women, veterans and students, through skills training programs, community building and the advancement of their career in manufacturing. As the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, The Manufacturing Institute is a trusted adviser to manufacturers, equipping them with resources necessary to solve the industry’s toughest challenges. For more information, please visit

Andrew Rickerman
DENSO International America, Inc.
(734) 560-8752

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