Gena Knight

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Environment, Health, Safety and Security Director
thyssenkrupp Elevator

Passion for manufacturing is in my genes; Grandfather was a general manager power house skilled trades leader, and Father a maintenance manager at Detroit Diesel. For me, the constant evolution in industry is fascinating and inspiring, never boring and will always depend upon people with a heart of service.

Gena is the director of Environmental, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) for thyssenkrupp Elevator Manufacturing. Her attention to detail and strong personal skills have directly led to a safer work environment for employees across the company. Since joining the thyssenkrupp team, she has defined, designed, developed and implemented a site-wide Environmental, Health, Safety, and Security program at the factory, while also supporting four additional facilities. Among her many accomplishments, Gena helped thyssenkrupp achieve ISO 50001 Energy certification for the first time in the history of the thyssenkrupp Elevator Manufacturing facility. Gena’s leadership contributes to the well-being of the company and the community, making thyssenkrupp a safer place to work.

Gena actively supports her employees and helps grow the next generation of talent at thyssenkrupp. She constantly encourages and empowers them to improve the safety of the manufacturing facility and make it a better place to work. Gena supports other women in the organization, mentoring them and encouraging them to find ways to succeed and achieve their goals for the future. She always pushes others to be their best. In 2019, Gena accepted the Safety Impact Award on behalf of the manufacturing site, for her leadership and guidance in mentoring employees at the site to recognize and improve over 4,000 safety hazards, among other accolades.

Within the workplace and beyond, Gena’s life exemplifies care and concern for others. She organized a partnership with West Tennessee Healthcare to offer blood pressure and wellness checks, vaccinations and other healthcare services to employees opening an on-site medical clinic – the first in the history of thyssenkrupp Manufacturing. She also established a partnership with EnSafe to implement a Hearing Conservation program at the thyssenkrupp factory. Gena also drafted and implemented a site security plan ensuring the security of employers, contractors and visitors while at manufacturing sites. Serving others is at the core of Gena’s being, in addition to her 15 years of health and safety work, she is a veteran of the United States Army.  Outside of work, Gena sponsors the social work and general education programs for Mayan Family, an organization promoting education in low-income Guatemalan communities. She is also involved in Miracle Hill Ministries, specifically working with women’s shelters, and has volunteered with the Oconee County Local Emergency Planning Committee and served Habitat for Humanity as a site leader. Her passion for care and service to others—and the impact of her work—is evident in all that she does.