Cyndi Zoldy, Executive Director of the Smaller Manufacturers Association of Connecticut (SMA), has an office in the new Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) of Naugatuck Valley Community College. Her position there enables her to mentor aspiring manufacturing students, especially the women for whom her own career in manufacturing inspires mentorship. Zoldy has a daily presence in the AMTC where she frequently meets students. Her experience and outgoing personality support the leadership role she takes to extend mentorship opportunities to students; it can start with a simple invitation to lunch. In her role as executive director, Zoldy is keenly aware of the skills, and relationships that go with a career in manufacturing. She is also deeply involved in the community in many volunteer capacities: she is a board member of the Naugatuck Community College Foundation, and the Mattatuck Museum, she supports community activities of the Smaller Manufacturers Association of Connecticut, contributes to the planning and organization of the Saint Mary's Gala, Chase Collegiate School, Highlander Theater Company, the Sports Booster Club, and the Watertown Soccer Booster Club.
As 1992 graduate of Mattatuck Community College, she has a long-standing connection to NVCC. Her understanding of the community college experience and her connections in manufacturing make a powerful combination for the students whom she helps. Zoldy reported meeting her husband when they were both in College at Mattatuck. Today they both have strong connections to the College through their careers in manufacturing.
Manufacturing is a family business for Zoldy, whose husband John is one of two entrepreneurs who invested to purchase the H.D. Bronson Company, a 177-year-old manufacturing company in Thomaston, CT. The company, founded in Waterbury in 1839, moved to Winsted in 1986 and recently to Thomaston, has a storied history that evokes the region's history as a manufacturing center, as well as some of its present challenges.
Recently she attended the 6th Annual Women in Manufacturing Summit in Nashville TN, a three-day event bringing 300+ women in the field of manufacturing together, 15 of whom were from Connecticut. They toured manufacturing facilities, met local political figures and attended lectures and hands on round table discussions on all things manufacturing, including 3D printing and the minute mentoring process.
When asked about her work in manufacturing and the women that she mentors, Zoldy assured us that it is one of the “most rewarding” parts of her job. She sent us a collection of "action" photos from the summit and SMA meetings/events to prove it.
Her position as executive director of the SMA affords an abundance of opportunities to meet women involved in manufacturing careers. Zoldy has a proclivity for mentoring; she learns from the students and in turn, teaches from the SMA podium to large audiences of women to considering careers in manufacturing including machining, quality control, engineering, office support and management.
The SMA has just entered a collaboration with the national organization, Women in Manufacturing, which encourages and supports women in that field. The national summit was held September 19-21 in Nashville. By her attendance, Zoldy was able to bring back great programs such as Minute Mentoring, STEM career programs and connections across the county to share with the SMA membership and the Advanced Manufacturing Technology students at NVCC.