ON DECEMBER 11, 2014
Elaine Thomas, Director of
Metallurgy for Bradken’s Energy Business, became the
first woman to ever receive the Steel Founders Society
of America’s (SFSA*) Charles W. Briggs Memorial
Technical & Operating Medal for her career
contributions in the field of metallurgy.
Elaine was presented with the accolade at the SFSA
68th Annual National Technical and Operating
Conference in Chicago, Illinois where she was
recognised as a world class expert in steel casting
technology who throughout her Bradken career has
and continues to developed procedures and
processes to make the most technically complex large
steel and high alloy castings.
The Technical & Operating Medal was established by
the SFSA in 1944 to recognise outstanding scientific
or engineering contributions towards the technical or
operational advancement of the steel foundry industry.
Requiring a unanimous vote by the SFSA Board of
Directors, the medal has been awarded only 59 times
in its 70 year history. In 1969 the medal was renamed
the Charles W. Briggs Memorial Technical &
Operating Medal in recognition of the activities of its
new namesake.
Elaine began her career at Bradken’s Tacoma facility
(formerly Atlas Foundry) in 1977 where she has spent
almost four decades working and managing operations
in the melt shop, weld engineering, heat treatment,
chemistry and mechanical testing labs. Considered
one of the Country’s utmost experts in metallurgy,
Elaine currently serves on multiple committees,
including the SFSA Specifications Committee (current
Chairman), SFSA High Alloy and Heavy Section
Research Committee, ASTM A01.18 Subcommittee for
Cast Steel, and the Washington State University MME
Industrial Advisory Board.
Along with a bronze medal and certificate, Elaine’s
award also included a scholarship in her name to be
presented to the school of her choice. Elaine chose to
give her scholarship to her alma mater, Washington
State University (WSU), where in 1976 she became
the first women to graduate with a degree in Metallurgy.
When asked about the accolade Elaine commented,
“The best part of the award is the scholarship that I’m
giving to WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and
Architecture. It’s important to me to help other people.
It’s paying it forward, which I love. I’m very pleased with
what I’ve been able to do.”
Elaine Thomas
has become
the first ever female to be awarded
the Steel Founders Society of America’s
Charles W. Briggs Memorial Technical
& Operating Medal.
*The Steel Foundry Society of America was founded in 1902 as a
trade association representing the steel foundry industry.
Elaine Thomas
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