Haleyanne Freedman is a Global 3D Printing Market Manager and Engineering Consultant for M. Holland Company, a plastic resin distributor and supplier in Milwaukee. When she’s not at work, she does a lot of 3D printing for personal use and spends weekends at the beach and on walks with her boyfriend and two teacup chihuahuas.
Haleyanne is a 3D Printing Expert, but Her Moxie for Manufacturing is Multi-Dimensional
Haleyanne Freedman of Milwaukee is a native of Sacramento. She works as a Global 3D Printing Market Manager and Engineering Consultant for a plastic resin company, M. Holland, where she consults with businesses on the practicality and cost-efficiency of creating products with 3D printers. She also educates and trains clients to correctly use this technology. She’s been in the field for about two years and is already considered one of the top experts in the country in 3D printing.
From lip balm containers to Tupperware to vehicle frameworks, Haleyanne helps her clients determine if they should produce their products with 3D printing rather than injection molding. In some cases, particularly with low-volume applications such as electric vehicles or Invisalign®invisible braces, 3D printing can save a lot of money and maintain or increase functionality. In addition, the lightweight property of 3D printing items can benefit many industries. Commercial airliners gain substantial fuel savings if they can safely and strategically lose weight.
Her favorite part of the job is educating others and Haleyanne can often be found speaking at various industry conferences. She recently gave a presentation in Detroit at the 2019 Rapid TCT, a major 3D printing conference known worldwide as the most influential additive manufacturing event in North America.
A journey from fine arts to the science of manufacturing
One of Haleyanne’s greatest frustrations is that as she grew up, no one told her that manufacturing and engineering were viable fields for a woman. She was sent to a high school for performing arts and set out to study opera in college. She left home at 17 and worked three jobs to support herself in college. All the while a little voice in her head warned Haleyanne that opera was not the career for her. She was a mechanically inclined woman, who had the itch to build things. Haleyanne was also frustrated by the traditional way of classroom learning because as a scrappy do-it-yourselfer, she retained more information when she could teach herself.
When Haleyanne originally moved to the Midwest to follow her former boyfriend and experience a new city, she wasn’t initially certain about her employment goals. Her boyfriend, who’s currently a project engineering manager for Kone Cranes, suggested her to pursue a job in manufacturing because of her skill set and personality. She interviewed with a machine tool importer who had recently purchased 3D printers but didn’t have the time to learn how to operate them. He told Haleyanne that if she could figure out how to use them, the job is hers. She was up to the challenge at hand and was hired on the spot.
Building her credibility in a male-dominated industry
When she walks into a room of men in the manufacturing industry who don’t already know her, Haleyanne sometimes feels that they don’t have much confidence in her because she’s a woman. However, by the end of each meeting, she certainly proves herself. Haleyanne maintains that it’s incredibly beneficial to be the woman in the room because she contributes a unique point of view. After men realize that she’s knowledgeable, they open up for meaningful and productive conversations.
“I don’t view being a female in the STEM fields as a disadvantage; it’s an advantage, especially when others don’t take you seriously and you prove them wrong. They don’t see it coming,” says Haleyanne.
It hasn’t always been easy to establish her credibility, but she stands firm in her convictions. Once, a male coworker yelled at Haleyanne. He habitually had angry outbursts because he was threatened by her knowledge and position. She did not react and looked to her boss, who was sitting nearby, for help. He intervened, attributing this behavior to “passion” and instead called Haleyanne “emotional”. After thinking about this for a few days, she approached her boss and asked if he was familiar with unintentional sexism. Haleyanne wanted to educate him in a non-accusing way, so she explained how accusatory tone can negatively impact their working relationship and output. He was defensive at first, but eventually became receptive to feedback and their relationship improved substantially because of the productive discussion.
“He’s a nice guy and I don’t think he did it maliciously,” Haleyanne explains. “He just hadn’t managed conflicts with women before.”
Constructing a path to manufacturing success for young girls
Because of her frustration with a lack of proper mentorship when she was younger, Haleyanne wants to do something about it. She volunteers as the vice-chair of Women in Manufacturing in Wisconsin and is establishing an official program that will speak directly to young women in high schools to encourage them to pursue careers in manufacturing.
“I want to show young girls that manufacturing is cool; it’s not just about being covered in oil with safety glasses on.”
Haleyanne is also chair of the Great Lakes chapter of Women in 3D Printing. She and other members of the group help girls build resumes and learn how to acquire and develop special skills that will help them secure lucrative jobs in the field.
Women in 3D printing are also working on a partnership with Maker Girl, an organization that inspires girls from elementary through high school to become active in STEM fields, this organization teaches 3D printing and accompanies girls on field trips to manufacturing to show them what it would be like to work in that field.
“I absolutely think all young women should be willing to take an internship at a manufacturing company or do some shadowing. If we can get them to ask questions and see what it’s like, it will be easier to participate when they get older,” Haleyanne asserts.
Mechanically minded even outside the plant
Haleyanne considers herself a “full-fledged 3D printing nerd”. She has seven 3D printers at her home and uses them to make common household items more functional. Living in a small house, she values efficiency. One of her latest projects was a make-up vanity that she 3D printed with various shelving components and compartments that held more items and took up less space.
She printed a custom insole for her Xena boots!
Steel toes and cute to boot!
Haleyanne’s opinion of Xena work boots?
“They’re comfortable, functional, and safe, plus they’re great looking. I’m so excited that I finally found cute shoes to wear to work at the plant. It’s important to cater to the needs of women in order to encourage them to get involved in STEM.”
We hope our shoes can help Haleyanne do just that.