In the U.S., March is a time to celebrate the incredible lives and contributions of women as part of Women’s History Month. Although we feel that women should be celebrated every calendar day of the year, we are happy to join in on this month-long celebration as we celebrate our very own team member, Marsha McDowell.
Impacting the STEM World and More
You might find her horseback riding during the weekends, or camping in the big outdoors surrounded by mountains and lakes. She might even sprint past you if you were to ever race her in a 5K since she’s won plenty of races in her age group. Her high energy, dedication, competitive nature, and a love for problem solving meant Marsha easily found a home in the world of STEM.
Marsha pursued a B.S. in chemistry from University of Wisconsin, River Falls where she quickly rose up the ranks — she made it to the Dean’s list and was a member in the National Honor Society. But for this avid learner, and scientist at heart, a B.S. was certainly not enough — the STEM world is a big one to explore after-all. Marsha ended up pursuing a graduate degree in Materials Science at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee where she learned corrosion engineering and more.
Marsha graduated 1988, and with a diploma in hand and the love of science in her heart, her career took off — she was able to put her knowledge and skills to the test as a chemist at Serigraph. The years flew by, and before you know it, Marsha celebrated 18 years at Serigraph before embarking on something new.
A Promising Start at Marabu
Marsha has had many years of industry experience up her sleeves by now and she sought new opportunities — Marabu caught her eye. “I knew from working with Marabu inks that they were high quality. I knew they had a decent presence in the US but there was room to grow and the product areas they wanted to expand, I had a lot of experience in like automotive and IMD,” said Marsha.
Given Marsha’s breadth of skills and credentials, it comes as no surprise that she was given a job offer from Marabu — and it was an exciting day when she found out. However, there was one obstacle in the way. Marsha lived in Wisconsin which is several states away from South Carolina and which is where Marabu is headquartered.
It’s a big decision to relocate to another state and takes quite a bit of courage. So, would Marsha make the move? “I really didn’t want to move initially but once I considered over Thanksgiving, I decided there wasn’t really any reason why I couldn’t make a move. My kids were in college, and I have nothing tying me to Wisconsin.”
It was in the middle of summer and fall of 2018 when Marsha arrived in Charleston, South Carolina to strengthen the U.S. team. The timing was almost perfect. Starting a new job aligned with the start of a new season. Tim Tesmer, Marabu VP of Sales and Marketing, welcomed her and they became good friends and strong co-workers over the years. “Tim started shortly after I started here. The current VP of sales quit almost as soon as I started. Tim and I have a good relationship, we’re from the same area of the country. I respect his wisdom and advice and I think he respects my technical and chemistry knowledge,” said Marsha.
As Marsha transitioned to this new job, she had taken on the role of technical director and quality representative — a responsibility that requires one to wear many hats.
Positioning Marabu for Success
One of her responsibilities became maintaining Marabu’s ISO certification — one that would have a tremendous impact not only on Marabu, but also its customers. With Marsha’s help, Marabu has been able to consistently meet the rigorous requirements set by a third-party body so that our products can meet global standards.
To this day, Marsha can be faced with many scientific and creative challenges. Much of her role relies on heavy-duty testing, especially when it comes to in-mold decorating. “The film needs to pass certain specifications. The ink has to be a very robust ink. Also, the ink has to adhere to the molding resin. If I was to pick this (IMD) part, this part needs to have a certain peel strength.” said Marsha.
When she’s not in the lab, you’ll find Marsha connecting with Marabu’s team in Germany, where our inks are manufactured. This is where we see Marsha’s talent in teamwork shine. “When it comes to concern over a product, she’ll go back to Marabu Germany to say, ‘Hey this is what we’re seeing’ and she’ll be able to go back to the lab and verify the product itself and be very thorough in getting to the answer. It takes detail, looking at the step-by-step process, so that you don’t miss something,” said Tim.
As you can tell, many of these roles require expertise in problem-solving which is probably the reason why Marsha excels in them so well. “I love problem-solving, especially when it deals with chemistry. (whether) it’s process or application, that’s what I love. Because it’s like the challenge of solving a hundred problems. … I like solving problems, and helping customers, and seeing their reaction when we truly get a problem solved for them,” said Marsha.
Success Outside of Marabu
After five years at Marabu, her teammates have gotten to know her strengths, talents, and skills that set her apart. “Marsha is very dedicated,” said Tim. The power duo, Marsha and Tim, continue to have a thriving working relationship since their first meeting five years ago. “We work well together because I think we each have different areas of strength. He knows how to sell ink and handle customers. I know the technical aspects,” said Marsha.
And her dedication is impacting the next generation of STEM women too. “Marsha has two grown daughters and one is a civil engineer. She’s doing exceptionally well and graduated from school a couple years ago. Her other daughter is still in school and going for her second Master’s. Her daughters are following in mom’s footsteps. They are highly educated, smart women,” said Tim.
Thank you Marsha for your amazing contribution to the printing industry and representing women in STEM. Women’s History Month officially comes to an end March 31, but let’s not wait until next year to celebrate these incredible women who are shaping our modern world and the printing industry in exciting ways. Want to know more about Marabu and what we do? You can start here by checking out our news. You can also check out our industry news here.