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In Cagayan de Oro, Michelle Umali Went Beyond the “Pipe Dream”

Michelle Umali, president of MIE Oro Plast Corporation. Photo courtesy of MIE Oro Plast Corporation

In the world of plumbing and water solutions, the president of MIE Oro Plast Corporation is all about breaking stereotypes

One might wonder how plumbing relates to daily life beyond its functional aspect. It’s not just about stopping leaks and clogs; it’s how it silently makes our lives smoother. Imagine how having clean water influences everything—from hydrated skin to fresh-looking clothes. It’s the unsung hero that keeps your personal care and wardrobe on point.

When you think of the nitty-gritty of plumbing and manufacturing its raw materials as a business, one might assume that it is far removed from a woman’s helm. Yet, it is precisely in this unexpected intersection that Michelle Umali thrives, challenging the status quo. In Cagayan de Oro, Umali stands as the figure behind MIE Oro Plast Corporation, a company founded on a family legacy where she’s not just fitting pipes but setting standards for lifestyle quality with every twist and turn.

Legacy to legacy

Before Michelle Umali took the reins, there was Waterworld Industries, founded by her grandparents in the 90s. She watched it evolve from pumps to diverse sectors, now steering it with a blend of family tradition and modern innovation.

“In high school, I took on a summer job with our sales team. Those were the days when every experience felt like a new adventure,” she recalls, highlighting that early on in her exposure to the world of pipes and fittings she will continue this legacy. “Looking back, those summer days weren’t just about work, they were the start of a lifelong adventure. It continues to inspire and drive me forward.”

Photo by Hemz. Photo courtesy of Pexels.

Their roster of products ranges from plastic pipes, gaskets, meter protectors, and butt fusion services. With local governments and water districts from Agusan Del Sur, Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Oriental among their stakeholders. Their strategy? Centering their client’s needs first while providing high-quality, long-lasting, and economically viable products. They also pride themselves on being quick to respond to their customers.

True to the nature of her family’s niche and leading a business in a traditionally male-dominated industry, Umali faces the ebb and flow of challenges head-on. “[As a woman], there is a constant demand for innovation. Excelling in this field requires not only proficiency in technical skills but also the ability to adapt to evolving technologies and meet the ever-changing needs of our customers,” asserts Umali, emphasizing the need for technical skill and adaptability.

Umali also believes that a feminine perspective adds value. “With a woman’s touch, products become more than just functional—they become sustainable, stylish, and tailored to the needs of the community.” Her strategies, focus on growth and self-improvement have not only successfully guided the company through industry complexities but also inspired her brother, Dustin, now the COO, to follow in her footsteps.

Flowing towards the future

Michelle Umali’s journey at the helm of MIE Oro Plast Corporation teaches us valuable lessons about innovation, leadership, and the art of listening. Aspiring business leaders, especially in male-dominated industries, can learn a thing or two from her: “Encourage dialogue, diverse perspectives, and foster creativity within your organization. That’s how you drive meaningful change.”

But Umali has two more essential ingredients to her now 30-year-old pipe and fittings manufacturing empire: hiring the right people and leading beyond delegation. Onwards, the president of MIE Oro Plast Corporation doesn’t just see the limits of her field—she imagines a world where women don’t just join in but stand at the forefront, shaping the future.

Photo courtesy of MIE Oro Plast Corporation

“I believe in the power of collaboration and mutual support among women, encouraging each other to embrace confidence and courage as we navigate the challenges of the business world together,” she declares. From business roots in Cagayan de Oro to expanding nationwide, Umali and her team are on a mission to not just grow their business but also champion gender equality in the workspace.

Michelle Umali’s narrative isn’t just about a business success story; it’s a reminder that even in specialized fields, there’s room for anyone ready to break the mold. Though pipes may not cross your mind daily, her work at MIE Oro Plast Corporation plays a quiet, crucial role in improving your daily routines.

For more information, visit MIE ORO Plast Corporation’s official website. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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