DENSO engineer wins STEP AHEAD Award for her manufacturing excellence


By Dan Alf

Monique Radersma, a former director of engineering at DENSO’s thermal manufacturing facility in Guelph, Ontario, has won a STEP Ahead Award from The Manufacturing Institute. The annual awards honor women who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers and represent all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.

“It’s an honor to be recognized alongside an exceptional group of women committed to making an impact in their companies and communities,” says Radersma. “I’m proud of what I accomplished in my 35-plus years in the automotive industry, with over 15 of those at DENSO, and I’m excited to use the skills I’ve built in that time to continue to encourage women to pursue technical fields.”

Radersma, who retired at the end of last year, began her career at DENSO in 2005. She soon took roles of increasing responsibility and was later promoted to director of Engineering. In this position, she developed a quality management system that helped secure business with a major North American automaker, generating millions in sales. Radersma also helped pioneer the Women in Engineering business resource group at DENSO’sGuelph location and developed programs to grow female team members’ skills. Outside of work, Radersma advocates for women in STEM, speaking at conferences, mentoring students, and supporting education initiatives that encourage young women to explore the sciences and engineering.

“Monique entered engineering when not many women were in the profession,” says Denise Carlson, vice president of DENSO’s North America Production Innovation Center and executive lead for Diversity & Inclusion(D&I). “Her skills, leadership, and support of others throughout her career have not only inspired colleagues but also young women who will lead our industry in the future.” In 2021, Carlson earned a STEP Ahead Award for her contributions to manufacturing and D&I.

Now entering its 10th year, the STEP Ahead Awards have celebrated and supported the accomplishments of more than 1,000 outstanding women in manufacturing. On April 28, The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, will recognize Radersma along with 130 other women at a gala event in Washington, D.C.

“The 2022 STEP Ahead Honorees and Emerging Leader awardees are excellent representatives of the exciting opportunities available in manufacturing,” says Denise Rutherford, 2022 STEP Ahead chair. “These remarkable women and the leadership they show help inspire the next generation of female leaders to consider careers in manufacturing.”  

DENSO is a global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components for nearly every vehicle make and model on the road today. With manufacturing at its core, DENSO has 200 facilities that produce thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification, and electronic systems. The company’s 168,000+ employees strive to improve lives, eliminate traffic accidents, and preserve the environment. DENSO is globally headquartered in Kariya, Japan. In North America, it is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan and employs 27,000+ engineers, researchers, and skilled workers across 51 sites in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs 17,700+ employees across 14 states (and the District of Columbia) and 41 sites.