We here at the NCSPA are thrilled to announce our new Women of Steel series. Once a month we will be highlighting a member of our Steel Family and their accomplishments. This month we are honored to be able to shine the spotlight on Mrs. Margie Doeden, President of J & J Drainage and Daily Operations Manager at the Hutchinson, Kansas plant.
Margie grew up in Southern Central Kansas and spent some time at Kansas State University in the 1980s. After college, Margie returned to her hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas where she began her job search. During this transitional period, her father, who was a plant manager at J & J Drainage Products Co., offered her a temporary data entry job to help get the new computer system operational. Over the next several months, Margie began to learn more and more about the steel pipe industry and the plant itself. She started to see how things were made, how the equipment worked, how to overcome the everyday challenges and how to really focus on the needs of the customer.
In 1992, Margie’s parents were presented with the opportunity to purchase the company from the J & J Group and, upon the purchase, J & J Drainage Products Co. officially became locally owned and operated. With the transition of ownership, Margie’s journey within the company began. Once the data entry was completed, Margie was offered a role within the sales department. After mastering sales, she decided to move on to Inventory Control then Personnel and finally Shipping & Safety. Margie excelled in all departments and was named company President in 2001.
Life in the steel industry has not always been the easiest for Mrs. Doeden. When asked about the most difficult moment she has faced, Margie replied with an answer that we can all relate to right now:
“We are dealing with some hard moments right now. The first being COVID-19 which has been devastating to many industries throughout the world. Everyone has been affected by this pandemic in some way. At J & J, we continue to take every precaution to keep our employees and customers safe. The second hardship we’re currently faced with is the record high price of steel and extended lead times for this essential raw material. Both of these hardships continue to create challenging times in our industry. “
While COVID has affected so many, Mrs. Doeden has been busy keeping J & J Drainage alive and well throughout the tough times. Her leadership has continued to allow J & J to grow and thrive with customers throughout the United States & Canada.
To all the young ladies who are thinking about a career in the steel industry, Mrs. Doeden offers the following advice:
“The steel industry is a great industry full of hardworking, friendly people. It’s an exciting career that is always changing and where you can learn something new every day. Most importantly, whatever career you choose give it 100%. Be confident in yourself and be kind.”
Outside of work Margie enjoys travelling with her husband Mark, gardening, attending sporting events and spending time with her children & grandchildren.