Rosie the Riveter Inspires Toolmaker

Cathy DeNardo Sitek, owner of United Manufacturing Network, in Warren, Michigan, was inspired by Rosie the Riveter to take over her father’s tool shop.

Cathy tells us her story (excerpts from her letter):

It felt great standing in the middle of all the Rosies to set a Guinness World Record! It inspired me to share how the “We can do it!” slogan (from the famous Rosie the Riveter Poster hung on her wall) encouraged me to pursue a non-traditional career.

When I was 16, I started working in my father’s precision grinding tool shop. I enjoyed the work and told my father that I wanted to own a company just like his. He advised me to learn how to run every machine in the shop, because it would be difficult for me (as a female) to actually run a shop or find work in this (male-dominated) field. That’s when it hit me: I had to be the best toolmaker ever so I could be a respected member of this ‘boys club’ like my dad.

Cathy DeNardo Sitek at her precision grinding tool shop, United Manufacturing Network, Warren, MI

Forty years later, I’ve mastered all the tools in my trade and now own a precision grinding company in Warren that is known for executing especially technically challenging work. I’m still inspired by the Rosie the Riveter “We Can Do It!” poster on my shop wall. And, I would be thrilled if my story can inspire women to become toolmakers just as Rosie’s story inspired me.

Later, Cathy wrote in to tell us that her daughter was inspired.

After I sent in my letter (above), I sent a copy of the letter and a Rosie World Record Event news article to my nineteen-year-old daughter, Cadie. For over three years, I had been encouraging her to come to the shop and learn the trade but she showed no interest. However, after reading the news article about Rosie and her Willow Run Bomber Plant, Cadie actually asked me if she could come to work with me to learn how to run a tool company!

Cadie’s first day on the job at the shop.

Cadie is now my full time employee and is running all the machines in the shop. Rosie’s story will not be forgotten because our daughters and future generations will be able to say “We are doing it!” thanks to Rosie and the brave women before us.

Thank you for inspiring and encouraging our children!

Cathy DeNardo Sitek
CEO / President Operations
United Manufacturing Network, Inc.
A certified woman-owned business