Patricia Matwijec

Title: Product Line Manager, Distributed Power Infrastructure

Company: Eaton

Education: Bachelor's degree in business and engineering from Drexel University, Master's degree from University of Pittsburgh

Organizational Affiliations: Member of the Society of Women Engineers, The Channel Company Women of the Channel (WOTC) Leadership Network, and Triangle Women Leaders

What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
Growing up and in my early school years, I developed a love of math, which led me to enter college as a computer science major. I later changed to commerce and engineering, which I didn’t know existed before I got to school, but it was certainly the right fit for me and my career aspirations. My co-op experiences at Drexel University allowed me to get a taste of work in a technical field, and I enjoyed the challenge, so that also set me on the path toward a career in the electrical industry.

What three adjectives would you use to describe your journey in the industry so far?
Dynamic, varied, and fulfilling.

What is your personal mantra?
Question everything!

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).
I think the biggest challenge I faced in my career was first finishing my graduate degree. I had started my MBA while I was production manager at one of our plants, then I ended up relocating for work one year into my schooling. In my new role, I was traveling 50 to 60% of the time. During that period, I put the pursuit of my MBA on hold and, when my job responsibilities changed, I went back to complete my degree. In my third semester of classes at Pitt, I encountered another period of transition: I learned I was expecting my son! The different aspects of working a demanding job, going to school on the evenings and weekends, being pregnant, and becoming a new mother was probably the most I had to juggle at one time. When graduation finally came, it was especially sweet!

What is your most admirable quality?
My empathy for others. One of my managers used to say, “Until I’ve walked a mile in his/her moccasins,” to stop himself from making assumptions about others. That phrase stuck with me as a reminder to put myself in others’ shoes and feel what it’s like to be them.

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 am most excited about the potential and progress we are already seeing in AI/ML. The realization of edge computing, and the disruption that is taking place with the reduced cost of lithium-ion batteries and applications for energy storage are among the most promising areas for growth. For improvement, we still have much work to do to expand the inclusion of women and minorities in technology and technical fields.

When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
A diverse collective of curious people developing solutions for the good of our world. I am especially hopeful about future advances in technology and how they will be used to help the older members of our society, those with special needs, and our planet.

What is the most valuable life lesson you have learned so far and how has it helped you in your career?
Be aware of false choices, especially when it comes to managing your career and personal responsibilities. Seek the middle ground. Ask for what you need — usually you will get it or find a compromise that works better for you.

What three adjectives come to mind when you think about your future path?
Challenging, growing, and leading.