For the first time in Valmont Industries' 66-year history, the company has appointed a woman to its board of directors.
The Valley-based producer of communication and utility equipment, center-pivot irrigation systems and highway safety equipment this week added Catherine J. Paglia to its board.
The move marks another Omaha-based Fortune 500 or Fortune 1000 company employing at least one woman on its board. In addition to Valmont, the other local companies with female board members are Berkshire Hathaway (2), ConAgra Foods (2), Mutual of Omaha (1), Union Pacific (1) and TD Ameritrade (1).
Three companies remain with all-male boards: Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., Werner Enterprises and West Corp.
According to the Omaha Women's Fund, women held just 14 percent of board positions at for-profit organizations in 2011.
A Valmont spokesman maintained that gender played no role in adding Paglia to the company's board. "The members are picked for what they bring to the board," said Jeff Laudin, the company spokesman.
But this isn't the first time Paglia, a Wall Street veteran, has been the first woman to break into a corporation's ring of influence. During her eight years with Morgan Stanley & Co. she became the first woman to serve as a managing director in the company's 53-year history.
Paglia said she has always been a "huge believer" in women serving in leadership positions.
"I'm happy to be able to represent women in whatever way I can," she said.
Paglia said she was excited to serve on the board of a Nebraska-based company because both of her parents were born in the Cornhusker State. Her mother was raised in Omaha.
Paglia has spent most of her career in corporate finance with experience in mergers and acquisitions and investments, Valmont's chief executive and board chairman, Mogens Bay, said in a press release. She currently is a director of Enterprise Asset Management, a privately-held real estate company in New York City. She also serves on the boards for Columbia Funds, Carleton College and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
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