Sarah Tommelein

2020 STEP Ahead Emerging Leader

Manager, Operations 
Whirlpool Corporation

I am passionate about working in Manufacturing because it gives me the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of people and use cutting edge technology to solve problems. The shop floor is where we create products that make an everyday difference in people’s lives.

Since she joined Whirlpool Corporation’s Amana operations as an industrial engineer in 2018, Sarah’s influential leadership has been far-reaching. As a professional maintenance specialist, she made a significant impact on reducing machine breakdowns, creating a preventive maintenance plan, and improving inter-team cooperation. After her move to Workplace Organization, that area became a benchmark for the facility, in no small part due to Sarah’s efforts. Recently, Sarah was moved again to Focused Improvement, where she’s helped reduce production losses, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve quality results. Projects Sarah has led and/or supported have saved Amana more than $1.3M.

Amana is currently implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM) globally, and Sarah is a champion of its tools and methodology and coaching female engineers and co-ops in their application. In training sessions, she uses a combination of techniques to match differing learning styles. Sarah’s exceptional ability to prepare models and curricula have both educated and engaged her colleagues.

Through her involvement in National Manufacturing Day and year-round activities, Sarah is a champion for careers in manufacturing. She has given safety presentations at area schools, created hands-on activities for students visiting Amana and served on a career panel to encourage and attract area students to jobs in manufacturing.

Sarah also donates her free time to other causes. Each year, she helps arrange a Whirlpool golf tournament in support of both the Ronald McDonald House and the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. She also recently participated in an Amana Habitat for Humanity build, where she was one of the first to volunteer and spent a long hot day hauling lumber and hammering in nails. Sarah’s strong work ethic and her deep desire to give back to the community clearly motivated her colleagues that day- just as she inspires and motivates them every day at Amana.