2021 Women in Welding Virtual Conference

Women Welding Engineers

August 19, 2021

Virtual Conference

ESABBohler WeldingFluor
OTC Daihen Inc.Welding Engineering Alumni SocietyIPG Photonics LightWeld
Abicor BinzelLincoln ElectricHypertherm



AWS Contact
Sarai Claveria


Women in Welding: Welding Engineers

Our March Women in Welding Virtual Conference was a huge success. After listening to your feedback, AWS is hosting another Women in Welding conference, delivering more of what you loved along with new content focusing on engineering professionals.

Please join us for this ½ day mini-conference, featuring three prominent women welding engineers at retired, mid-career, and early career levels. Our panelists will discuss both technical and non-technical subject matters in the engineering field. In addition, we will be featuring a Keynote Speaker focusing on Imposter Syndrome, which many women face in every aspect of their lives.

Register to attend today to further connect to the women in our industry and come away with a stronger sense of community.


meet the WIW speakers

Pierrette Gorman
Pierrette Gorman

Retired Welding Engineer

Sandia National Laboratories

Read Bio

Coming Soon

Karen Gilgenbach
Karen Gilgenbach

Vice President – North Zone


Read Bio

Karen Gilgenbach currently serves as Vice Chair of the D16 committee on robotic welding, and is a former Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary and Membership Chair of the AWS Milwaukee Section, and a former board member of the Los Angeles / Inland Empire section. She co-chaired the National Robotic Arc Welding Conference from 2007 to 2017 and was one of the founders of the John F. Hinrichs Memorial Endowment scholarship, which currently provides over $20,000 annually to students pursuing weld and welding engineering degrees.

Karen holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering Mechanics from Michigan State, a Master’s of Science in Weld Engineering from Ohio State and will complete her MBA through Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business at the beginning of 2022. She has been a Certified Welding Inspector since 2006 and is a Certified Welding Supervisor as well as a Certified Robotic Arc Welder- Technician.

Professionally, Karen is a Zone Vice President for Matheson Gas, a distributor of gas, welding supplies, safety supplies, welding equipment, automation solutions and related products. Karen is responsible for nine states in this role, and enjoys helping her team utilize technical knowledge and automation to support their customer base and provide leading edge solutions in manufacturing and metal fabrication.


Andrea Orr
Andrea Orr

Research Engineer

Ford Motor Company

Read Bio

Andrea Orr believes hands-on experience is a key resource of knowledge development within the welding and joining field. She currently serves as a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company focusing on welding solutions for new body structure and powertrain applications. Before her current position, Andrea was a Ford College Graduate where she was able to rotate throughout the company to gain perspective on different roles and responsibilities. She tailored her rotational experience around the welding and joining field and spent time in research, product development, safety, and manufacturing. Andrea was able to be a key contributor in the development of resistance welding practices and the use of simulation to enable the utilization of new advanced high strength steel (AHSS) materials in automotive body applications.

From 2017 to 2020, Andrea served as a project leader through the Auto/Steel Partnership collaborating with industry representatives on the development of 3rd Generation AHSS and overcoming the challenges of liquid metal embrittlement (LME). Along with her extensive knowledge on steel resistance welding, Andrea has also spent time working with aluminum arc welding processes, non-destructive techniques for assessing weld quality, and laser welding of copper components. She serves on the AWS D8 committee for Automotive Welding and was selected as a 2021 AWS Future Leader. Andrea holds a Bachelors and Masters of Science in Welding Engineering from Ohio State University. In her free time she enjoys hiking and participating in water sports.

Bettina Bair
Bettina Bair

Keynote Speaker

Read Bio

Bettina has been teaching full-time at Ohio State University since 1998. During that time, she has had the opportunity to develop and deliver course work for computer science topics at all levels. Prior to that, she was an adjunct lecturer for smaller programs in Denver, Colorado and Central Ohio. She has taught and developed curriculum for business and computer science degree programs.

Prior to her career in academia, Bettina worked in industry for nearly 20 years. This real-world experience, somewhat unusual at a research institution, has given her a unique and valuable perspective on the practical aspects of the material taught.
Bettina is consistently one of the top-rated instructors in her department, and very engaged with students at the undergraduate level. She received recognition for Teaching Excellence at the CSE Awards Banquet in 2020. She has received many awards for her work encouraging the recruitment and retention of women and underrepresented minorities in computer science.

Bettina is also an active member of the ACM-W (ACM’s Women in Computing) Executive Committee as Communications Chair. In 2005, Bettina organized the first Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing (OCWiC), a well-attended statewide conference that was reported in the Chronicle for Higher Education as well as in the computing media. OCWiC is now one of the longest running and best attended regional celebrations of women in computing, delivering events and providing support and advocacy for women in computing. In 2008, Bettina and a small group of women students chartered an ACM-W Student Chapter at Ohio State, which is today the oldest continuously active student chapter. In 2018, Bettina founded the first ACM-W Professional Chapter in the United States.

Bettina has created computer science content for TED-ED, and authored several research papers and articles highlighting the gender imbalance in computing.



Nancy Porter, EWI
Nancy Porter, PMP

EWI Navy ManTech Program Manager


Read Bio

A 36-year member of the American Welding Society (AWS), Nancy Porter was the first female (and youngest person) to be named an AWS Counselor in 2005. At EWI, Ms. Porter manages a wide-ranging portfolio of R&D programs for several Navy ManTech Centers of Excellence operated by the Office of Naval Research. Nancy has a B.S. in Welding Engineering from The Ohio State University, is a graduate of the Pratt & Whitney Manufacturing Engineering Development Program, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

organizing committee

Monica Pfarr

Executive Director

AWS Foundation

Nancy Porter

Navy ManTech Program Manager


*Conference Schedule Subject to Change



1:00pm – 5:00pm Half Day (4 Hours)
1:00 – 1:15pm Welcome & Introductions
Monica Pfarr
1:15 – 1:45pm Pierrette Gorman
(recently retired)
1:45 – 2:15pm Karen Gilgenbach
2:15 – 2:45pm Andrea Orr
(early career)

2:45 – 3:00pm Break
3:00 – 3:30pm Discussion Panel with Speakers
Nancy Porter (Moderator)
3:30 – 4:15pm Keynote Speaker – Bettina Bair
Introduced by Monica Pfarr
4:15pm Wrap-up / Final Thoughts
Monica Pfarr

post event sessions
network with presenters & attendees

Take advantage of the opportunity to have some additional time with panelists and peers in a more intimate environment after the main conference event.

Don’t forget to sign up when you register as space is limited to 15ppl

Women in Welding Conference Post Event Sessions

Sponsor a Session
Sarai Claveria

Karen Gilgenbach4:30 – 4:50pm
One on One
with Karen Gilgenbach

Hosted by:
Matheson The Gas Professionals


Andrea Orr4:30 – 4:50pm

One on One
with Andrea Orr

Hosted by:


Post Event Sessions are an additional $10 and will be billed during the registration process. Attendees will receive Zoom link invitations for each post event session prior to the day’s schedule.



*Sponsorships Subject to Change

WIW Logo Sponsorship
$ —

Benefits Include:

  • One Complimentary Registration for Company Representative
  • Company Logo and Link to their Website on WIW Landing Page
  • Company Logo placements during Virtual Event break

Host Post-Event Session
$ —

Benefits Include:

  • Host with Speaker or Keynote
  • Three Complimentary Registrations for Main Event & Sponsored Session
  • Company Logo and Link to their Website on WIW Landing Page
  • Company Logo Displayed during Virtual Conference Break

• Limited to 4 (3 speakers & keynote)
• Must purchase by Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

Video or Ad
$ —

Benefits Include:

  • Company Video (2 mins) or Ad highlighted during the Conference
  • Company Logo and Link to their Website on WIW Landing Page
  • Company Logo Displayed during Virtual Conference Break

For More Info on Sponsorships
Sarai Claveria


American Welding Society Learning