Women Leaders

Jennifer F. Scanlon, USG Corporation

Jennifer F. Scanlon

A Commitment
to Leadership

Editors’ Note

Jennifer Scanlon became USG Corporation’s President and CEO on November 1, 2016. Previous roles at USG included President of the company’s International and L&W Supply divisions, Senior Vice President, CIO, and Director/Vice President SCM and CRM Strategy for USG. Prior to USG, she was a consultant for Bricker & Associates, Inc. and worked in service delivery for IBM. She earned her M.B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and her B.A. in Government and International Relations/Computer Applications from the University of Notre Dame.

Company Brief

USG Corporation (usg.com) is an industry-leading manufacturer of building products and innovative solutions. Headquartered in Chicago, USG serves construction markets around the world through its United States Gypsum Company, USG Interiors, LLC, and international subsidiaries, including its USG Boral Building Products joint venture. USG’s wall, ceiling, flooring, sheathing, and roofing products provide the solutions that enable customers to build the outstanding spaces where people live, work, and play. Its USG Boral Building Products joint venture is a leading plasterboard and ceilings manufacturer across Asia, Australasia, and the Middle East.

What makes USG special and what has been the key to the company’s success?

USG has been an industry-leading manufacturer of building products and innovative solutions for 115 years. We invented Sheetrock® brand wallboard 100 years ago, which was a breakthrough invention for our company and the building industry. We continue to innovate today, helping our customers in the building industry build smarter, better, and faster.

I joined this company because USG was an industry leader and, over the past 14 years, my pride and admiration for our company has only grown. What really struck me as interesting, even before I became an employee, was USG’s commitment to our customers and our strong brands, which are backed up by our core values and our people.

Our number-one core value is safety and we live this every day. Working safely is not just a statement on a poster – it is a value that is addressed every single minute of every single day. For example, at our plants, the first thing that one sees is how many hours it has been since the last lost-time injury. In fact, our Galena Park, Texas, plant just celebrated 10,000 safe workdays – that’s 27 years without a lost-time injury.

We recently received the National Safety Council’s Robert W. Campbell Award for excellence in environmental, health, and safety programs, which is one of the most prestigious safety recognitions in the United States.

I truly feel that because of our focus on safety, our people listen to each other and they look out for each other. This is a crucial part of USG’s culture and reinforces our commitment to the success of our employees and of our customers.

With the company’s long history, how do you remain innovative, especially at your size and scale?

Innovation has made it possible for us to become who we are today. We have driven some of the most significant developments in building materials over the past 100 years: drywall panels, mineral-fiber acoustic ceiling tiles, and light steel studs for framing are just a few examples. Today, we continue to create meaningful solutions to the challenges faced by our industry, such as labor shortages, time constraints, and water scarcity.

We foster an innovation-centric culture that encourages and rewards ideas and improvements. Yet, the main focus driving innovation has been the needs of our customers. Our employees are out in the field, listening to our customers and seeing firsthand how products are being used. This gives us an understanding of what customers really care about. That closeness to our customers makes us responsive and allows USG to be an innovation leader.

We have a Corporate Innovation Center outside of Chicago, which is a state-of-the-art research facility where our scientists focus on improving current products and developing new ones. This continues to be a key differentiator for us and helps us serve our customers’ evolving needs.

In attracting talent, what do you tell them about the opportunities this industry offers?

Manufacturing is a rapidly changing field where a variety of skills are needed. An incredible amount of technology and innovative thinking goes into our products. We need talented employees that are skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math to connect with our diverse employee and customer bases.

We focus on research and development at our innovation center and, in fact, are awarded dozens of patents each year so there is always something fresh and new we are bringing to the market.

What makes it exciting to work at USG is that as we travel around the country or around the world, we can see that our products are part of creating important buildings. For example, we provided the first shaft wall system used in some of the tallest buildings in the U.S. such as the Willis Tower in Chicago and One World Trade Center in New York City. We shipped USG products from the U.S. to Dubai to build the Burj Khalifa. We have been a leader in providing innovative solutions and systems required to create buildings of that scale.

People really identify with that sense of creating something. I think this excitement stems from the fact that our industry contributes to creating the places where people live and work every day. We’re part of it all, and that’s fun.

Women Leaders-EB

USG prides itself on building a world-class workforce, and we make it a priority to have
a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Women Leaders-EB