Women in Fasteners: Mallory Cravens Nichols, Advance Components

Mallory Cravens Nichols, Vice President of Business Development at Advance Components, board member of WIFI and current President of the Young Fastener Professionals discusses her evolving career as she takes part in the latest Women in Fasteners feature with Torque…

How did you get into the industry?
My grandfather started Advance Components 50 years ago, so in a way, I have always been around the industry. When I was growing up, I spent many summers working in the warehouse and bagging parts. After college, I took a job in software sales and then about four years ago, I decided to come over to Advance Components full time.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in the industry and company since you started?
I’ve noticed an increased effort to represent and include minorities that have historically been underserved. Also, less resistance to the adoption of new technology. Lastly, there’s a trend of small companies being purchased and consolidated under larger ones. I consider myself an advocate for change and growth, so I’m excited to see where everything leads.

Can you share some of your career highlights and milestones so far?
I started at Advance Components as a Regional Sales Manager and have recently taken on a new role as VP of Business Development. I am also very involved in industry associations. I have sat on the YFP Board for three years and am serving as the president for 2022-2023. I am part of the WIFI Board as well and help with events and social media.

As President of the Young Fastener Professionals, can you tell us what you have planned?
Happily! We have three new board members that are adding a lot of energy and fresh perspective. In addition, we have a couple of board members who have put in a lot of work building the YFP foundation over the last few years. It’s been a really exciting year so far and we are in the process of launching both our regional coordinator program and the mentorship program.

The goal of our regional coordinator model is to create a network of young professionals across the country that act as an advocate and resource on a local level. Through these coordinators, we hope to support attendance at regional industry events and extend our reach to more young industry professionals.

Our mentorship program will focus on creating opportunities for growth and professional development for our young members, while also creating industry synergy and an opportunity to pass on knowledge.

What is your favourite thing about the fastener industry?
The fastener industry is very unique compared with any other industry I’ve been a part of. It’s very close and almost feels like a big family.

Why did you get involved in Women in the Fastener Industry (WIFI)?
Another unique thing about the fastener industry is the amount of associations. There are a lot of people out there that want to give back to make the industry better as a whole. That’s something I love and want to be a part of. I decided to get involved with WIFI specifically because I believe in what they’re doing to support the women of our industry – women supporting women is a powerful thing!

What do you think needs to be done to encourage more women to get involved in the fastener industry?
The way to get more women involved in our industry starts with hiring and internships. It’s important for companies to actively hire women and not limit their opportunities. Women should be equally considered for every job, especially ones that have been historically or are majorly held by men.