Young Leaders: Blazing New Trails

Today I’m happy to be able to blog about the third honoree of three who were honored at the recent Annual Meeting of the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA).
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Stacey Bales, president of Bales Metal Surface Solutions, accepts the TMA Young Leaders Award from Michael Magliano, chairman of the Young Leaders Committee.

Today I’m happy to be able to blog about the third honoree of three who were honored at the recent Annual Meeting of the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA). She, like her co-honorees, is someone I’ve known for many years, and I’m frankly very proud of the woman she has become – especially where leading a manufacturing company is concerned. Her name is Stacy Bales, and she is president of Bales Metal Surface Solutions.

Stacey was presented with the TMA’s first annual Young Leaders Award, which was created to recognize employees of TMA member companies who have gone above and beyond to make a difference. Honorees demonstrate initiative, collaboration, innovation and leadership skills which made a difference within their companies as well. 

“Stacy Bales, our first recipient, has exemplified what a Young Leader can achieve by overcoming a tragic family situation within their business during the downturn. Stacey utilized the association’s resources to develop strong leadership skills, a strong network/support group and she earned a nomination to the board. From these experiences within TMA she was able to stabilize Bales Metal Surface Solutions and turn it into the growing successful company it is today,” Michael Magliano, chairman of the TMA’s Young Leaders Committee.

I first met Stacey when she was a teenager working in the office of her dad’s company, which was called Bales Mold Service at the time. Her dad, Steve Bales, and his brother Mike founded the company in 1978. Tragically, Steve passed away suddenly while visiting his company’s Harlingen, Texas, facility. For Stacey and her sister Sara Bales Mortensen, it felt like the bottom fell out from underneath them. But they didn’t sink. With lots of love and support from family and legal and accounting advice, the girls began to rally and draw strength from their father’s legacy and their own will to carry it forward. I believe Steve left them enough clues about where he was taking the company to be a little helpful, but more than that, he instilled in his girls a good work ethic that has blossomed.

As Michael Magliano points out, Stacey took the initiative to become more involved with the TMA and utilize resources that she found could help elevate her company’s operations and success. She was also a founding member of the organization’s Young Leaders committee, contributing a lot of time to building the group, organizing events and activities and more.

“I love being a part of an association that provides so many services and that has a membership rich with experience," Stacey says. “It is easy to participate and I believe you always get back more than you put in. For my peers to recognize the hard work I've accomplished just gives me the motivation to keep moving forward; and when the road gets bumpy, I know where I can turn.”

Stacey was recognized as a Rising Star in the industry by Plastics News in 2015, and that honor motivated her to suggest that the TMA should be recognizing enterprising young leaders within its community, and she proposed the idea to the TMA Board of Directors. Little did she know that the TMA would not only honor her with the first award, but that it would become her namesake: The Stacey Bales Young Leader Award.

For me, this award marks Stacey’s efforts to blaze new trails in the manufacturing industry. She has grown so much as a woman and as a business owner, as has her sister, Sara, and I congratulate them. Stacey has now officially been given the opportunity to be a mentor in the industry and when I asked her what advice she would offer others coming up in the industry, she did not hesitate to provide some sound direction.

"Luckily in our industry there are a lot of people who are more than willing to share their knowledge. You just have to be present and ask questions," Stacey says. "I would encourage young leaders to ask their employers about the associations they are members of and ask to attend events and training. If their company is not a member somewhere, usually you can join as an individual. Do some research online or through LinkedIn and find networking events for young professionals or the manufacturing industry. Once you find something you like to attend, there are always more ways to get involved, such as joining committees and boards."

I couldn't agree more.