The New Face of Manufacturing: Q&A with Molycorp's Stephanie Lentz

Q: Why did you choose a job/career in manufacturing?
A: I wanted to work in an environment that would allow me to work directly on a product, and particularly in a cutting-edge, advanced manufacturing facility. I have been able to advance in our company by working to optimize our new facility, and improve the quality of the advanced rare earth materials we make.

Q: Why did you choose a job/career in manufacturing?

A: I wanted to work in an environment that would allow me to work directly on a product, and particularly in a cutting-edge, advanced manufacturing facility.  I have been able to advance in our company by working to optimize our new facility, and improve the quality of the advanced rare earth materials we make.

Q: Tell us about your position with Molycorp—what’s your official title and basic responsibilities?

A: I work as a process development scientist for Molycorp, the only producer in the Western Hemisphere of rare earth oxides. Our materials are used across a wide variety of manufacturing sectors such as electronics, communications, clean energy, transportation, aerospace, defense systems and many others. I am based at our new rare earth production facility in Mountain Pass, Calif., and I help manage some of the new, state-of-the-art processing technologies that we have developed here. My work includes such things as mass balance accountability, operations staff support, and optimizing production throughput by testing and implementing innovative concepts.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job and/or working in manufacturing?

A: I have a passion for transitioning things from a lab concept to implementation on the production line. I get to see ideas turn into lab tests, lab tests move to plant tests, and then—when it makes sense—those new ideas implemented into process operations. To observe the effect a new idea can have on increasing or optimizing production is very satisfying.

Q: What would you say to someone in high school today to recruit them to a manufacturing career?

A: Producing a product that improves people’s lives, like our products do, is extremely rewarding. Getting there is a direct result of hard work and understanding both the product and its markets.  If you want a job that is challenging and rewarding, manufacturing is the way to go!

Q: What’s your best advice for those seeking jobs in manufacturing?

A: Work hard and keep the end goal in mind.  Have trust that your ideas can change things for the better.

    February 28, 2014

    Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.

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