Two women in leadership roles at Naval Support Activity Crane say the massive southwest central Indiana employer has a long history of employing women in traditionally male-dominated roles. In part three of a special feature that goes behind the scenes at Crane, Inside INdiana Business talked about women in business and technical positions with Crane Army Ammunition Activity Pyrotechnics Commodity Manager Lara Zilafro and Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Deputy Technical Director Janna Foxx. Crane opened in the World War II era and the global conflict opened up opportunities at the time for women as men headed into battle overseas.
Zilafro described her jobs and the wide range of skills it draws on. "I’m a liaison between the technical folks who are executing the mission and my customer who has provided the funding for us to execute that mission," she said. "My technical background helps in that I can speak to my technical folks. I’m not the one that’s actually solving the problems, but I need to understand the problems well enough that I can act as that liaison and provide the resources necessary to execute the mission and increase the warfighter readiness."
Foxx says when she was hired more than 30 years ago, she worked with only one other engineer who was a woman, "so, (Karen Worrell) kind of led the way for us (female) engineers." Foxx adds her position provides excitement by contributing to technological advancements in electronic, strategic and expeditionary warfare "and watch our folks become national leaders to solve the world’s hardest technological problems."
Some 5,500 — mostly civilians — are employed at NSA Crane.