Caterpillar Women Win Prestigious SWE Awards

August 22, 2017

There’s more to working at Caterpillar than just the work. And nowhere is that more evident than in our engineering community. Caterpillar engineers are among the best in the world – innovating, creating and driving our company to new heights while embracing diversity. Not only do we recognize it, but the world does as well. Two of our very own were recently honored by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a global organization and the world’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology.

Kira Zdunek, program manager in the Surface Mining & Technology Division, received SWE’s Emerging Leader Award, recognizing engineering and technology professionals who have demonstrated technical excellence resulting in significant accomplishments. Zdunek, a strategic and innovative supply chain management professional and change agent with robust analytical skills, currently leads the development and implementation of the end to end supply chain strategy for SM&T. Zdunek holds a B.S. in industrial engineering from Iowa State University and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.  

“I’m honored to receive the 2017 SWE Emerging Leaders award,” said Zdunek. “I’m passionate about engineering and the role women play. It’s important for young women to see engineering as a viable career path and am thankful that this role has given me a chance to be a role model for other women.”

Denise Johnson, Resource Industries group president, received SWE’s Suzanne Jenniches Upward Mobility Award. The award celebrates an individual’s rise to success and contribution to the decision-making process within their organization. Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State. She received a dual master's degree in mechanical engineering and business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1997 as a Fellow of the MIT Leaders for Global Operations program. 

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award, not only for all the engineers at Caterpillar, but all of our future engineers,” said Johnson. “Organizations like SWE, and partners like Caterpillar, help our youth understand the importance of science and math and that a career in engineering or sciences is important and exciting. I am truly proud to work for a company that promotes STEM education.”

SWE, founded in 1950, has more than 38,000 members and is a driving force that establishes engineering as a highly desirable career aspiration for women. The society offers members unique opportunities to network, provides professional development, shapes public policy and recognizes life-changing contributions and achievements of women engineers. 

SWE Snapshot

  • Established in 1950.
  • More than 38,000 members.
  • World’s largest advocate for women in engineering and technology.
  • Resource for young girls and collegiate exploring future careers in engineering and technology.
  • Offers training and development programs, networking opportunities, scholarships and more.
Kira Zdunek, program manager in the Surface Mining & Technology Division (left) and Denise Johnson, Resource Industries group president (right)

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