PECO Pallet announced today that three of its women employees have been selected by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine as recipients of the publication’s Women in Supply Chain Award for 2023.

Receiving the recognition were PECO employees Elizabeth Gamez, Jennifer Oxley and Elizabeth Strub.

Elizabeth Gamez is the Manager of Recovery for PECO’s North American distribution network. In this role, she leads a team tasked with the recovery of PECO’s signature red, 9-block pallets upon completion of rental contracts. She demonstrates servant leadership and promotes employee learning and development through programs like “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and driver ride-along. In one case, she worked with a PECO driver to help a difficult customer overcome resistance to timely return of pallets, mentoring the driver on conflict management, and ultimately securing the recovery of over 3,000 pallets. Gamez believes that leaders can fall into a trap by relying only on data to drive decisions, on-the-ground team input is critical as well. Particularly in the pallet business, you have to ‘go look, go see’ to get the full picture and lead the team in the correct direction, she adds.

Jennifer Oxley is the Director of Transportation Eastern U.S. and Canada for PECO. She is responsible for securing and directing transportation resources to deliver and pick up PECO pallets with customers. She recently added Canada to her responsibilities, expanding the role to include intra as well as cross-border Canada operations, driving efficiencies, and helping the team handle 10% more transactions without adding staff. Other cost-saving initiatives she developed helped her region drive down trucking costs by 10 percent annually. She also led a Lean Silver project that improved the customer-facing web page and provided more accurate cost data that led to the recovery of 45% more revenue from accessorial charges. Over a 12-year career, she worked herself up from coordinator to her current management leadership role. She also serves as a mentor and facilitator to help women at PECO improve their skills and prepare for advancement.

Elizabeth Strub is an Operations Automation Engineer for PECO. Over the past three years, her accomplishments have included deploying and commissioning capital automation projects at three facilities that have significantly improved operations efficiency and competitiveness. Her engineering expertise as well as her communications skills have led to successful engineering projects across multiple production systems. One project reduced maintenance complexity and errors in the paint system, reducing downtime and ensuring higher quality output. She has demonstrated a keen ability to learn operations and work collaboratively with colleagues to solve complex problems. That approach combined with her technical engineering expertise and focus on continuous improvement has won her the trust and respect of plant managers and operators as team player who finds solutions.

“These three professionals are exemplary examples of strong, respected women whose mentoring and servant leadership skills are improving our company and helping develop the next generation of PECO leaders,” said Joe Dagnese, PECO’s Chief Executive Officer. “They truly embrace our emphasis on encouraging fellow employees to continually improve and excel. This employee-led culture of inclusion and support is what sets apart PECO’s service value in the market.”

The Women in Supply Chain award honors female supply chain leaders and executives whose accomplishments, mentorship and examples set a foundation for women in all levels of a company’s supply chain network. This year’s list includes individuals from software and service providers, consultancies and academia, trucking and transportation firms, professional development agencies, sourcing and procurement divisions and more, all who have helped elevate and help prepare the supply chain community meet many of today’s—and tomorrow’s—challenges, explained Marina Mayer, Editor-in-Chief of Supply & Demand Chain Executive and Food Logistics.

“This year, we received over 400 submissions, the highest number of applications not only for this award, but also for all of our awards. What’s more, 118 of those applications were submitted by male counterparts, nominating their boss, co-worker or associate. This shows progress,” she noted, adding “the hope is that one day, we won’t need an award like this because men and women in the supply chain will be equal.”

“While there’s still more work to be done, what we’re doing is working. From truck drivers to CEOs, what these winners are doing matters to the future of all supply chains,” Mayer concluded.