A woman had never led in the role of general foreman at Amtrack’s Chicago-based locomotive repair facility, yet there was Sabrina L. Butcher – leading. It was 2009 and Butcher had just become the first female supervisor of the all-male team; a significant milestone in the railroading industry, but just another day in the field for this blue-collar darling from rural Indiana.
Butcher’s engineering roots run deep. She was swinging wrenches at an early age, helping out in her father’s garage as a girl in the mid-80s, and later becoming one of the first women to graduate with an automotive technology degree. Butcher went on to earn a B.S. in Mathematics, a Masters in Engineering, and then worked in the male-dominated automotive, railroading and manufacturing fields for 13 years in roles like mechanic, technical writer and mechanical foreman. After her 2009 promotion, she served in leadership roles for General Motors and then Norfolk Southern where she launched a lean program across their 22-state transportation network. Oh … she welds, too.
Then in 2017, the engineer turned entrepreneur and launched her own company, LUCYdoes. Today, Butcher consults more than a dozen clients from her office in the INCubator on change management and lean principles. She says the mission of the company is to develop a business community of brave leaders who use techniques and awareness to break ineffective and non-value added cycles of leadership behavior.
“I started this company to solve a common problem within industry that I see regularly, which is disengaged workers who want to utilize their talents to improve their work, but don't have the solid foundation to execute changes,” Butcher says. “I am focused on aiding companies in learning the ‘people side’ of lean, not just process efficiency. An encouraged workforce is the true driver of process improvement.”
Butcher admits it wasn’t always easy being the lone female leader in her roles as coach, trainer and advisor. “There were definitely some challenging times, and even semi-hostile environments along the way,” she says. She acknowledges that she never sought to be the first of anything because of her gender, but she’s glad she can use her experience to help others.
“I enjoy my work and I’m good at it; and if being a woman in this field means it becomes more diverse, well that’s icing on the cake for me.”
LUCYdoes hosts two upcoming events. Both will be held at the INCubator at the Hamilton County Business Development Center, located at 100 Cherokee Blvd. in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
LUCYdoes Open House
Monday, April 30
4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
Come see what LUCYdoes! This open house event will give guests an opportunity to meet the founder and CEO, Sabrina Butcher, and learn about the change management consulting and training services LUCYdoes offers. Guests will enjoy light refreshments and maybe even a visit from a special guest or two. Other local engineering and technology companies will attend and educate guests about their services as well.
Learning Lean Tools: An Overview
Wednesday, May 2
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The hands on workshop will demonstrate how to use popular lean tools that will aid companies and teams in becoming more efficient and engaged. Butcher will facilitate the workshop, teaching the basics of lean to participants before they jump into Six Sigma or other complex problem-solving methods. Participants will leave the training with an understanding of what it takes to drive culture change and improve customer satisfaction. Registration is open here. The cost is $399 per person or $1,499 for a team of five from the same company.