Maria Lupo     

Title: Automation Studio Leader

Company: Environmental Systems Design

Education: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Credentials: LEED AP

Organizational Affiliations: FIRST Robotics, ASHRAE

Achievements/Awards: 40 Under 40, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, 2017

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
As a child, my passion for art and helping the environment grew and evolved as I entered high school. These interests led me to expressing my creativity by choosing an elective AutoCAD class for two years. This gave me some insight into designing buildings using simple 3D modeling. From there, I became intrigued by how I could use my artistic and creative interests along with technology. When it came time to select a university and degree program, the ISE department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offered the perfect degree program for me to develop my technical knowledge and learn more about the diverse career paths I could pursue in technology.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Collaborative, encouraging, and insightful.

What is your personal mantra?
This is the moment to begin.

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 too).
I have encountered hurdles and growth opportunities all throughout my career so far, and each of these have led to a high point in personal and professional growth. It is difficult to rank any one point in my career above the rest because they have all helped my development. If I had to highlight one area that has been most rewarding, it's working with an amazing team at ESD and growing with our automation team over the years. I continue to learn and be inspired every day from my colleagues, clients, and mentors.

What is your most admirable quality?
I'm respectful of others.

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?
I'm trying not to be too biased, but I do see a big potential for growth in the area of automation. There are a lot of opportunities to drive innovation and with that comes a need to improve on the acceptance of change. While the technology industry has changed and evolved, the ability to accept this change and evolve at the same pace can be a challenge that needs a concerted effort to improve upon.

When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
I see the technology industry becoming more impactful to all other industries and continuing to drive the need for innovation. Particularly in the building automation sector, it has become clear that quickly adapting and proactively evolving to meet the needs of facilities, operations, and occupants is paramount to achieving full-circle success.

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
Listen before speaking — no matter the scenario, I have found it extremely important to not make assumptions or jump to conclusions without first trying to obtain all of the information and viewpoints posible from all individuals. This has been a valuable lesson that has helped me work through difficult discussions and situations. It has helped me take a broader view by listening and understanding the situation to make sure I am contributing and adding value to the discussion.

What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Intriguing, diverse, and impactful.