For early career excellence demonstrating outstanding leadership potential; and for deep dedication to SWE and STEM outreach, both at work and in her community.
Katelyn Lichte is a senior production supervisor for Cargill in Hammond, Indiana. She is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Mill and Utilities departments, and has been integral in leading capacity-increase projects and quality initiatives. She is also responsible for utilities, corn receiving, front-end milling, fiber processing, gluten drying, germ drying, starch separations, and co-products. Lichte also coached and developed a team of 30 union operators and was integral in increasing team engagement and retention.
Since taking on this role, Lichte has led her team to increase the mill’s production output of ground corn by 20% while simultaneously improving quality adherence. She has also focused on developing the next generation of operators and spends hours each week helping new operators with their troubleshooting skills. So far, these efforts have saved hundreds of thousands of bushels of corn, equivalent to millions of dollars’ worth of finished product.
While in this role, Lichte was selected to attend Cargill’s management academy in recognition of her potential for future leadership roles. She was also nominated for Cargill Starches, Sweeteners, and Texturizers Business Unit’s Great Leader Award for FY23.
Previously, Lichte worked for Corteva Agriscience as a production engineer and unit leader, driving improvement projects focused on increasing efficiency and decreasing environmental emissions. She led the Women’s Inclusion Network for her site of 400 people and was instrumental in training leaders to recognize biases women face in the workplace.
An active member of the Society of Women Engineers, Lichte is the FY23 government relations and public policy coordinator. She is enthusiastic about the intersection of science, education, and policy, and focuses on getting others involved. She has also served as the FY21 outreach chair and in numerous other positions at the Society and collegiate levels.
Lichte is also active in her community. She has volunteered extensively since her time at Corteva for IGNITE Worldwide, an organization that focuses on getting underrepresented groups interested in STEM, and continues to build a legacy of empowering girls. Through Pathful, she also visits classrooms to talk about her career, and has interacted with thousands of students to date.
In 2020, Lichte received the WE Local New ELiTE Award. She was also named one of Seed World magazine’s Top 20 Under 30 Future Influencers in the Seed Industry in 2019. Additionally, she was awarded the President’s Gold Volunteer Service Award in 2019 and received an IGNITE Worldwide Sheroes award in 2020.
Lichte graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. She is currently pursuing an MBA at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In her spare time, Lichte is an avid softball player and hockey fan. She enjoys spending time with her partner; golden retriever, Puck; German shepherd, Amara; and cat, Ciri.