Emerging Leaders

Emerging Leader Nate Ruhenkamp is Devoted to the Development of American Manufacturing

“Nate’s passion for the growth and development of American manufacturing and the machining industry is refreshing and infectious.”


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

During his junior year in college, Nate Ruhenkamp worked as a sales intern at Ashley Ward Inc. He distinctly remembers the smell of cutting oil as he walked through the door for his interview, and he was immediately hooked. But before stepping foot in Ashley Ward, he viewed manufacturing as an unattractive field financially with no desired career path. “I was expecting to earn a business degree and land a job in a plush corporate setting,” he says.  

Nate was hired by Ashley Ward after he graduated and has been there ever since--for seven years—and has worked his way up, earning his current title as director of sales and marketing. Having no formal engineering or technical training, he has learned about manufacturing through mentoring and industry engagement. These activities have provided him with a deep understanding of metalworking machines, processes and operations.

“Nate not only possesses a passion for learning, but he also has a drive to pass on this learning by getting more young people into the industry,” his nominator says. “He is a strong advocate for his company, customers and for American manufacturing.” This is exemplified through his activities and engagement in the PMPA as well as other industry initiatives, such as program development at Ashley Ward for National MFG Day.

“Now that I have discovered my true calling, I am looking to move further into operations management with the goal of someday leading a machining company, while helping to educate other young people about my journey and why they should consider manufacturing as a career,” Nate says.   

“Nate’s passion for the growth and development of American manufacturing and the machining industry is refreshing and infectious,” his nominator says.

To nominate an Emerging Leader for our 2019 awards, visit productionmachining.com/forms/emergingleaders.

To learn more about the 2018 Emerging Leader winners, click here.


  • Meet Production Machining's 2019 Emerging Leaders

    Production Machining has discovered a lot of young talent in the industry, and we want to share the stories of 20 of these young leaders with you.

  • Developing the Next Machinists

    To further develop the young crop of machining talent in the area, this high school has retooled its precision machining lab in time for the start of the new school year. The grand re-opening and ribbon cutting took place this week.

  • Production Machining 2018 Emerging Leaders

    Young professionals are a vital asset to the precision machined parts industry, and it is important to acknowledge those who are making strides toward shaping the industry’s future. Production Machining is recognizing our industry’s young talent who were nominated by their peers through our new Emerging Leaders program.