Diversity, equality, and inclusion is more than just a goal for the technology world — it’s a necessity. That’s why Mission Critical hosts the annual Women in Technology contest. As the demands for data generation, consumption, sharing, storage, processing, and more continue to grow and cybercriminals become increasingly more threatening, it’s clear that the industry needs more people to collaborative on innovative solutions to consumer needs, sustainable connectivity, and cyber safe infrastructure.
Women from all over the world in a wide range of technology sectors, including data centers, health care, and food processing, were nominated for their admirable contributions to the industry and the people who rely on it.
As Rebecca Ellis, president of Questions & Solutions Engineering Inc. and one of this year’s winners, so matter-of-factly put it, “If technology is to benefit all people, then all people need to be represented in the development and application of that technology.”
And, with that, Mission Critical is excited to introduce you to the 2022 Top 25 Women in Technology.
Company: R and J Corporation DBA’s: OCS Process Systems, Haynes Mfg. Co.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in business ethics from Capital University, Master of Business Administration from Ohio University
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: ISO 21469 Technical Committee for Food-Grade Lubricant Standards Development, British Standards Institute — London UK
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in technology?
I began my career in the field of nursing and ended up in the food industry. The food industry is similar to nursing in that it depends on science. At R and J Corp., we help bring food to the world through human nutrition via systems for automation and manufacturing processes. Automation and process engineering is what we do for dairy, beverage, food, and pharma companies. Technology will benefit the industry by giving plants the capability to produce and monitor processes from their phone or computer. This will not eliminate human interaction but will help to monitor and record processes 24/7 to ensure temperatures and recipes are maintained, therefore, maintaining food safety.
What inspires you to do what you do?
Our importance to the industry as a critical supply chain company. We help companies with processing systems and the automation of those systems for essentials, such as pasteurization, clean-in-place (CIP), and other critical processes. We were identified as an “essential business” to our customers throughout COVID and everyone here was very proud of that designation. To make it fun, we gave everyone sweatshirts that said, “Essential Employee,” on the front, and the back said, “Keep Your Distance,” as a reminder to social distance to everyone working in the same space. It was a huge responsibility to go into plants without the potential to spread COVID, and our employees upheld that honorably.
What role does sustainability play in your life?
In our own facility, we strive to reduce our carbon footprint through use of energy and water and, in our industry, we help our customers improve sustainability in their processes with automation.
What is the most fascinating thing you have learned while working in this industry?
How amazing the people within the industry are. People working together with common goals and values.
What’s something unique about your personally?
My laugh, known for within the industry.
What’s something unique about you professionally?
My passion is to be a champion of people development and lifelong learning.
What’s your most admirable quality?
As a leader I prefer to orchestrate as opposed to micromanaging. I love to see people achieve their goals — it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion important to you?
Because we are all different and we all bring something of value to the table. We work in a global environment and need to understand and relate to people with different experiences and cultures. Our industry is dependent on the cultural appreciation for food, beverages and medicine.
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 potential for growth is automation for companies that lack automated processes, and, on the flipside, automation would add a great improvement to the industry and help to update existing systems.
When you imagine the future of the technology industry, what does it look like?
For our industry, automation. Robotics does play a part in some packaging and storage of finished goods in our industry, especially in larger companies. The next big revolution would be increased automation and virtual operations in small to medium-size companies in our industry.