Rosie D’Antonio had mostly worked retail when she saw a newspaper ad and applied for a position in Duro Dyne’s assembly department in 1979.
“You know, when you’re young and you need work, you take what you can get,” D’Antonio casually says about the job jump. Not knowing what to expect from the male-dominated manufacturing workforce, D’Antonio was pleasantly surprised to find that women at the Long Island, New York-based company were treated as equals.
“At Duro Dyne, the whole assembly area for hardware was all women (then),” D’Antonio remembers. In 1984, she was promoted to supervisor of the hardware assembly area. “So I was supervising, like I said, it was a whole group of women.” Then in 2000, she was promoted to managing all facets of the company’s production.
Now, as vice president of planning and procurement and one of the longest serving women in the company at 40 years, D’Antonio represents how much women have and continue to play an integral role in Duro Dyne’s success.
“You know, I never thought of myself as being groundbreaking or making strides because at Duro Dyne I never met any resistance to being a leader. So, I was very lucky in that respect,” she says. “The company itself is family-oriented. They make you feel part of what’s going on in the company. It wasn’t like where we were working for a corporation. It was more family.”
Attracting women to the trades doesn’t have to be complicated, says D’Antonio. “They just have to be treated fairly. There is no discrimination between men and women, what they are capable of doing. If you treat them fairly, they will certainly apply and certainly stay.” D’Antonio is proof of that.