Loudon engineer recognized

Arial Ruble, Tate & Lyle area refinery manager, closes a valve on a plate and frame heat exchanger, which is used to heat syrups during production.

Arial Ruble, area refinery manager for Tate & Lyle in Loudon, has been recognized as one of Putman Media’s Most Influential Women in Manufacturing for 2019.

A Tate & Lyle team member for eight years, Ruble has worn many hats.

Two months after obtaining an engineering degree, Ruble spent three years as a production engineer in the company’s ethanol department. She then did two years as a production engineer in syrup refinery.

Ruble has held a managerial role for almost three years.

She has also been involved in reaching out to students about the opportunities manufacturing and science, technology, engineering and math offer.

“It’s been a great honor,” Ruble said. “... I work with a lot of women and men who do a lot in the community, and to be honored in this group … really meant a lot to me. It’s something that’s very important to me, getting manufacturing opportunities out there in front of young adults, male and female, so being acknowledged for that made me feel like I’m doing something important.”

Ruble emphasized manufacturing jobs are more than just pushing buttons. Critical thinking skills are necessary to get the job done.

“There’s a lot of opportunity in manufacturing, and I feel like it’s not maybe well-covered much, and it’s overdue in these divisions,” she said. “Me, as an engineer, I do a lot of problem-solving, and I don’t think people understand that happens in a factory or a manufacturing-type setting. When I go out in the community, I always really try to convey that. You don’t come to these factories and push buttons and do the day to day. ... We really think critically and need science and engineering to make things better day-in and day-out.”

Ruble has also been a game-changer with the gender dynamic at the Loudon plant.

“When I came in, I was actually one of the first female engineers that had applied and been hired here for a few years,” she said.

Since her career began at the ingredient manufacturing plant, she has noticed a trend of more women being hired at the company.

“At our Tate & Lyle network, we’ve hired just about one or two female engineers every year since then,” Ruble said. “I think more are applying, so that’s part of it, but I think Tate & Lyle has made a push to become more diverse and open their doors to that.”

Beyond female engineers, a surge of female technicians.

“On the technician level as well — folks that don’t have engineering degrees that are coming in and working as technicians. Just in the last few years, I’ve seen more women apply, which is great,” Ruble said. “We’re putting our foot in the door.”

She said the influx of women in manufacturing has been welcomed by Tate & Lyle.

“Tate & Lyle’s executive committee that works with our CEO, they are actually a 50/50 split between men and women,” Ruble said. “I feel like that’s really not a common thing, especially among large companies. For me, at a manufacturing level, seeing that up top really shows that Tate & Lyle has a commitment to a diverse workplace, which is great.”

Fellow Tate & Lyle employees recognize Ruble’s dedication to work as a foundation for winning the award.

“We’re thrilled and proud that Arial has been recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Manufacturing,” Ed Hammann, Tate & Lyle Loudon plant manager, said in a news release about Ruble’s achievements. “She is a well-respected leader in her department, the plant and within our company as a whole, known for championing safe work practices and creative thinking.”