SNJS’s Courtney Lilly Steps Up to the Plate--And Makes Sure It’s to Standard

Photo by Greg Folkins

Courtney Lilly learned to trust her intuition and maximize her resources from a young age. And at the Southern New Jersey Steel fabrication shop, where Lilly, 28, heads the quality assurance and quality control division, it pays to be intuitive--and knowing your stuff doesn’t hurt either.

Although she spends most days ensuring layouts and fit-ups are up to standard and making sure no beam goes unfabricated, Lilly, a certified welder, always keeps a face shield and gloves at the ready.

“I’ll jump in and help the guys weld if we’re tight on a deadline,” Lilly says. 

Before she came to SNJS, Lilly worked at RCC Fabricators for eight years. She started as an intern at age 17 and decided to make a career out of steel fabrication when she got pregnant in college.

“I knew I needed a full-time job then, because I had a child, and I got really interested in the work,” Lilly says. “I started helping the project managers out and actually going on the shop floor, working side-by-side with the crew to get a better understanding of what they do. I enjoyed what I was doing--it wasn’t like I felt stuck. I wanted to work with my hands, be on the floor, and really see things come together.”

Lilly made the move to SNJS two years ago to help the company earn AISC certification. She developed their quality control manual by herself and got her welding certification in the process.

Now a mother of two young girls, Lilly is passing down her knowledge and the curiosity she first felt for the steel industry as a teenager. 

“One of my daughters is eight now, and she’s actually in engineering courses in second grade,” Lilly says. “She loves it, too.”

This story is part of Visions in Steel: The People Who Bring Designs to Life, exhibiting through April 19 at the Center for DesignPhiladelphia. Visions in Steel shines a light on the fitters, welders, machine operators, and other professionals the steel industry relies on every day to bring designs from concept to reality. Interested in bringing Visions in Steel to your city or your fabrication shop? Reach out to Hope Hrabowy at