The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce development and education affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, announced that Denise Johnson, Caterpillar Group President of Resource Industries, will serve as chair of the 2024 Women MAKE Awards. 

The Women MAKE Awards honor women at all levels of the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite, who have demonstrated excellence and leadership in their careers. Each year, 100 Honorees and 30 Emerging Leaders—women under the age of 30 who have achieved unique accomplishments at the start of their careers—are peer-selected based on their contributions to their companies and communities and to developing the next generation of talent. To date, the program has honored more than 1,400 women.

“The Women MAKE Awards showcase the vibrant, diverse and rewarding careers in the industry and how women have excelled as manufacturing leaders, paying it forward to inspire and uplift the next generation to pursue opportunities in modern manufacturing,” said Johnson. “After a year of working as vice chair, together with outgoing Chair Rose Lee, I am excited to step into this role and continue the work to close the gender gap and elevate women in our industry.”

Johnson brings extensive leadership in manufacturing experience to her role as chair. With Caterpillar since 2011, Johnson rose through various leadership positions and has served as group president of Resource Industries (RI) since 2016. As group president of Caterpillar, she is responsible for Caterpillar’s Integrated Components and Solutions Division, RI Operations and Products Division, Strategic Procurement & Planning Division, and the RI Sales, Services and Technology Division.

Prior to joining Caterpillar, Johnson worked at General Motors, where she built deep expertise in operations and product management. She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the NAM Board of Directors. Johnson is also a member of numerous outside boards, including the National Mining Association, ABB, MIT Leaders for Global Operations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“We are honored to have Denise, who is an incredible advocate for women in manufacturing, serve as chair of this year’s Women MAKE Awards,” said MI President and Executive Director Carolyn Lee. “She has been an asset to our organization as vice chair and a valued supporter of our mission. We look forward to her continued leadership, which will help bring more women into manufacturing now and for generations to come.”

The Women MAKE Awards are part of the larger Women MAKE America initiative. Women MAKE America’s 35×30 Campaign aims to close the gender gap in manufacturing by increasing women’s representation to 35% by 2030. This industry-wide effort features a best-in-class female-to-female mentoring program, employer resources, tools and case studies as well as expanded personal and professional development programming for women in the industry, students and others considering a career path in manufacturing.

For more information, visit