Jona Smith, vice president of IT applications services with Smithfield Foods Inc., received a 2021 STEP Ahead Honoree award from The Manufacturing Institute.

The institute, which is the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers, seeks to build and inspire the next generation of female leaders in manufacturing—from the factory floor to the C-suite—through its STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards. The program annually recognizes outstanding accomplishments of women who are making significant contributions to the manufacturing industry and are demonstrating leadership in their companies and communities.

"It's an honor to be recognized by an initiative that is doing such impactful work to empower women in our industry," said Smith. "I'm proud to represent Smithfield and to advocate for women in technology. I can't name another industry with the amount of opportunity manufacturing has; it has limitless possibilities and a place for everyone."

Smith leads Smithfield's Information and Technology Application Systems & Services and was honored for her commitment to helping women in technology succeed in the agricultural and manufacturing professions. She recently celebrated 40 years with the company in June. 

The Manufacturing Institute honored Smith and other honorees at a gala in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4.