Kathryn Brannon has recently joined the growing ranks of women who run manufacturing companies in the area.
Along with the likes of Carol Constantino, head of Noteworthy Industries, and Bettina Dill, head of Mohawk Sign Systems, Brannon has taken over as president of Fiber Glass Industries.
Hailing from Ohio, Brannon, who has a Ph.D in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma and an MBA from Ohio University, has worked for many chemical companies large and small.
Brannon said she spent many years as technical director for Owens Corning where she led a team of 40 specialists. She also worked for smaller companies including Shepherd Color Company, a family-owned business in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Her husband, Bob Brannon, has been the technical director for Fiber Glass Industries for the last few years, Brannon said. He had been commuting every few weeks to the factory in Amsterdam from their Ohio home.
“Now that we both work here, we’ve decided to move into the area and we’re in the process of looking for a permanent home,” Brannon said.
FGI specializes in the manufacture of fiberglass strands, which the company then weaves to form fiberglass material for things like boats and other structures.
“Basically they are used to add structural integrity to any plastic or polymer material,” Brannon said.
Brannon said she has spent the five weeks since she became president getting to know her team and meeting people. She said she is working with a great team of people, many of whom have been with the company for more than 20 years.
“It really helps that everyone knows what they are doing and all the specialties come together like a puzzle,” she said.
FGI employs 140 people and has customers throughout the country. The company is a large presence in the city of Amsterdam and in Montgomery County.
“FGI is definitely an important part of the city of Amsterdam,” Frank Valiante, director of the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, said. “They have been here for a number of years.”
FGI has also worked closely with the Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency for large projects.
“We have a very close working relationship with them,” county Economic Development and Planning Director Ken Rose said. “We’ve done several projects with them over the last couple of decades. They continue to grow and develop new product lines and continue to invest in the city of Amsterdam and Montgomery County, so they are a very positive force in the area.”
Brannon said her vision for the future of the company is to match product development with where the industry is going. She said fiberglass has many different functions and uses and she believes it is the material of the future.
“We need to consistently improve our quality and ability to deliver,” she said.