Kathryn Childs

2020 STEP Ahead Honoree

Materials Manager III
Welbilt, Inc.

Manufacturing is building something real.  I am proud to be part of a team that produces a product and brand that all of our employees can stand behind, and to see that product in use worldwide. I look forward to every day as a challenge.

Kathryn is described by those at Welbilt as a driving force in modernizing the company’s outdated systems. She came to operations from a start in Welbilt’s Accounting department, where after eight years, she sought a new challenge and requested a transfer. Due to her lack of experience in operations, Kathryn’s career move could have been considered a step backward in her career. However, in just three short years, she became a key leader in the department and has now earned the role of materials manager.

Kathryn has a remarkable educational background that includes a bachelor’s degree in accounting, an MBA, Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and a Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM). This continuous journey of education carries into her contributions with the Frymaster team at Welbilt, where she guides her team in strengthening their leadership and problem-solving skills.

To ensure those in her department develop the skills they need to succeed in their current and future roles, Kathryn continually coaches both direct and indirect reports. She is especially dedicated to providing guidance and inspiration to the next generation of women at Welbilt, preparing them to move into even more rewarding futures within the company.

Because of the positive impact her own rich and diverse educational background has had on her career, Kathryn is devoted to boosting skills for young people in her community so they can also achieve their academic, career and life goals. To this end, she’s been involved for many years in funding Northern Louisiana’s Step Forward program, which encourages children from cradle to career through literacy education and support. Kathryn has also been involved with the North Louisiana Economic Partnership’s annual Manufacturing Week, providing guidance to high school students seeking potential careers in manufacturing.  Kathryn’s dedication to the development of the youth through these programs, which drives student success, productive citizenship and global competitiveness, reflects all she’s achieved in her own career and all she’s helped others achieve.