Melinda Conroy

Title: Associate | Electrical Engineer

Company: HED

Education: Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maine

Credentials: PE

Organizational Affiliations: Member of Women Professional Engineering Group (WPE), and 7x24 Exchange Intl.

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I realized in high school that I wanted to pursue a career in engineering. I loved physics and started to tailor my activities and classes to cater to an engineering career. At the University of Maine, I was drawn to the dynamic nature of engineering and technology — in this field you are rewarded by new challenges and opportunities for ingenuity.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Serendipitous, adaptive, and intentional.

What is your personal mantra?
There are no time or age restrictions on learning; all that is needed is the want and willingness to learn.

Describe the highest point in your career so far and how you got there, including all the hurdles you had to jump (and the ones you tripped over and too).
The highest point in my career has been becoming an engineering project lead and presenting designs directly to the client. At HED, I have an opportunity to lead not only strategy but also fellow engineers as I collaborate with multiple teams to deliver best-in-class designs in a cutting-edge industry.

What is your most admirable quality?

What aspect of the industry do you think has the most potential for growth, and, on the other hand, which aspect do you think needs the most improvement?
The most potential for growth in our industry rests in diversity. We can and must invest in the next generation of engineers from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to ensure design and innovation for future challenges reflect the broadest and most informed thinking that generation has to offer. The other side of that coin is an area that needs more improvement — the industry needs to be more inclusive of engineers from all backgrounds, including BIPOC [black, Indigenous, and people of color] engineers, LGBT+ engineers, first-generation college graduates, and women engineers. This field is such a rewarding one, and we need to ensure it is one in which all engineers can thrive. Our work environments, business models, and leadership structures need to work for and reflect everyone. Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts must be considered critical business segments.

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
You must carefully direct and craft your vision for your own career with intention and always advocate strongly for yourself.

What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Bright, evolving, and limitless.