What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?
When I was in high school, my dad walked me through a construction site and showed me how to read blueprints and "as-builts" for a job. It was like a backstage pass for a concert. I loved being behind the scenes and seeing how the systems worked.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in the skilled trades?
Seeing something I imagined or designed being built and operating in front of me is exceptionally rewarding.
Describe the proudest moment in your career.
Actually, every time I see a solution that makes someone else’s work possible, or safer, or easier — that’s what makes me the proudest.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?
In engineering school, there were three women in my entire program. As an engineering professional or the owner of an engineering company, it has been through industry groups, like ACG, EMA, and Cirque du Sophia, that I have seen acceptance of diversity and met other female science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) leaders. I think having representation in the field encourages women to dive in.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
Listening, imagining, troubleshooting, and creating solutions and then adjusting the solutions to better fit my customer’s needs.
What drives/motivates you every day?
Engineering is interactive. Being part of a team and imagineering drives me. It’s creative and exciting. People need us to help create usable environments every day.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?
Initially, COVID-19 drove me into telework, which was an unfamiliar workspace for a hands-on engineer. After a couple of weeks, I formed a few relationships to develop safer ways for working in shared spaces with common-use equipment. COVID conditions have provided another opportunity to create processes for people to work safely. When I think of COVID like that, it is a very familiar engineering challenge.
What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?
I am really happy where I am at. I love what I do and enjoy going to work every day. Over three decades in engineering, I have had more opportunities than I could have imagined.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
I discovered engineering as a career after I completed my first degree. I got a job at an engineering firm, and, after a month, I knew that this is what I wanted to do.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe exactly how they’ve shaped your success.
That list is so long! One person who comes to mind often, though, is my mom; one word that she never allowed us to say growing up was “can’t.” I often credit that lesson when I accomplish surprising things.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?
Don’t let can’t be an option — really focus on your interests and the opportunities. Imagine, create, and continuously expand your ideas, options, and your world. And have fun doing it.
And get involved. Pursuing certifications provided the opportunity for me to obtain engineering skills that I would not have learned on my own; it also opened the door for me to become the first female vice president of EMA’s board.