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Celebrating Michigan Women and their Contributions to Business and Energy

March 7, 2024

For decades, women in the workforce have spanned many sectors.

They are business owners, scientists, physicians, attorneys, accountants, nurses, computer programmers, artists, sales representatives, teachers, assistants, welders, managers, service providers, engineers—and construction workers.

Consider these numbers:
  • Of the 33.2 million small businesses in the United States, nearly 13 million of them are women-owned.
  • Women-owned businesses saw a notable increase from 29.6% in 2002 to 35.5% in 2021, highlighting substantial growth in female ownership.

Women-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than ever before, and Michigan is no exception. Women are helping to drive innovation and help Michigan maintain its reputation as a leader in manufacturing and entrepreneurship.

Michigan’s small business engine drives innovation across businesses of all sizes, creating wealth, supporting livelihoods and providing economic security.

Behind it all is access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy, which is crucial to the strength of manufacturing and countless other sectors, enabling women to capitalize on opportunities and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

From designing and engineering to production and management, women are making their mark in every aspect of Michigan’s manufacturing process. They bring unique perspectives and skills to the table, and their contributions are essential to the success and growth of Michigan’s economy.

In Michigan and throughout the region, demand for energy, in all its forms, is forecast to rise, and the 31% of women that make up Enbridge’s workforce are ensuring we continue to meet that demand and keep Michigan’s small business engine humming.

Homegrown talent abounds

Kate Houchard, CMRP, is the area manager for Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. Having joined Enbridge in 2022, this seasoned oil-and-gas professional is a certified maintenance and reliability professional.

“Supporting women in business and construction comes naturally to Enbridge, which is a proud advocate for women in the trades, professional services and vendor supply chains. We believe that diverse minds and backgrounds are the keys to North America’s energy future and that women are integral to fueling the energy transition.”

Rachel Wellman, Houchard’s colleague and an Enbridge emergency response specialist, is integral to Enbridge’s plans to keep Line 5 operating safely, particularly in the Straits of Mackinac.

A former commissioned officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, Wellman has travelled extensively. She returned home to a job at Enbridge, where she can continue to protect the environment she treasures. In her role, Wellman coordinates Enbridge training and response exercises involving multiple agencies.

“Enbridge is a well-operated company,” said Wellman.

“It focuses on preparedness designed to protect our communities and the environment. Portraying and working through simulated situations strengthens our ability to respond to actual situations if they occur. It is a proactive approach at the heart of our ongoing operations.”

Connecting with community

Another Michigan native, Lauren Brown, is an Enbridge community engagement advisor. The St. Ignace resident and member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is as passionate about sharing plans for Michigan’s energy future as she is about Michigan’s natural resources.

“Enbridge is building today the foundation for our region’s energy future,” Brown said.

“I am proud to work for a company committed to meeting net-zero emissions by 2050, and I appreciate the opportunity to share that commitment with hundreds of residents, community organizations, public officials and others.”

Celebrating and marking important contributions

The diverse backgrounds of Houchard, Wellman and Brown bolster their common goals of commitment to community, the environment and providing safely the energy on which the region depends.

“Their dedication to safety and environmental stewardship serves as inspiration to each of us,” said Mike Moeller, the director of Enbridge’s Great Lakes Region.

“We honor them and extend our appreciation to the thousands of women working at Enbridge companywide who keep energy flowing safely every day.”


Sponsored Content, courtesy of Enbridge.

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