Rebooting and Locking Down Company Culture with Karen Norheim


Today on the WAM podcast, Frances Brunelle welcomes guest Karen Norheim, who is the President of American Crane, an Equipment Corporation, with three locations in Pennsylvania, totaling over a quarter of a million square feet. She is a second-generation leader in the company and, during her tenure, she has sought to solidify the founder’s legacy, while also putting her own stamp on the company culture. Karen also sits on a number of boards for industry-leading organizations. In this episode, you hear from her who American Crane is, and she shares her opinion on the importance of solidifying company culture, why you need to put emphasis on having a happy and empowered workforce, and how that has changed over time. She also talks about how she is working towards changing the narrative around a career in manufacturing, the importance of marketing and social media, and so much more. Make sure you tune in today!

Meet Our Guest, Karen Norheim

Karen Norheim is passionate about all things manufacturing. As the 2nd generation coming into the leadership role for her family’s company, American Crane & Equipment Corporation, Karen has sought to solidify the “Founder’s Legacy” while putting her own stamp on the company culture. Karen’s company’s journey to their new mantra – Grit Matters: Perseverance, Heart & Integrity is the reboot of their vision, mission and values.

Her role, as she puts it, is that of the gardener as she leads the successful day-to-day operations of American Crane, a 180-person manufacturing facility headquartered in Douglassville, Pennsylvania, into the future. American Crane is recognized as a leader in the design and manufacture of cranes, hoists and other material handling equipment. Karen received a dual Bachelor of Science degree in both Marketing & International Business and International Studies from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a Master’s degree in Information Science and an MBA.

The work that Karen has accomplished by mentoring others and promoting the industry has made her a leader in the manufacturing industry in Berks County and beyond. She is a true spokesperson for the great jobs and quality of life that the industry can provide, and she is also a dynamic force when it comes to the immense technology and innovation occurring in manufacturing at a rapid rate. Karen is an advocate for encouraging young people to consider a career in manufacturing – particularly women. She is a frequent speaker at local schools and professional organizations. In addition to her many roles within the company, Karen also sits on the boards of many industry leading organizations.

Karen plays a pivotal role in the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance’s Next-Gen Advanced Manufacturing Industry Partnership. Her leadership within this group as an appointed “Champion” has strongly supported the identification of common areas for regional growth, talent development, and workforce pipeline solutions that can be addressed with one voice. Karen is Vice-President of Crane Manufacturers Association of America, Inc. (CMAA) and also serves as Chairperson for the National Board of Women in Manufacturing (WiM).

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