Education: BS Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY
Achievements/Awards: Infrastructure Masons 2022 IM100 Award Recipient
What led you to a career in technology?
I was the child that would take apart my toys and put them back together. In high school, I discovered a love of physics and found a path in engineering. I started my career at a data center company and found a fit in the fast-paced innovation of the market.
What motivates you to go above and beyond in your current position?
Aside from the many industry, innovation, and team motivations, my largest motivation is my company. I was hired by Trane when I was 7 months pregnant for a position that, at the time, did not exist. Feeling support and being valued is fantastic motivation.
What role does sustainability play in your life both personally and professionally?
Sustainability plays a large role in data center equipment and project design. Decarbonization and sustainability measures make a giant impact when implemented over countless megawatts of power and it is always a topic of conversation with customers. Personally, I try to implement sustainable methods as much as possible. My daughter is 20 months old, and I would love for her to be part of a generation where sustainability is not a goal but is naturally integrated into daily life.
What is the most fascinating lesson you have learned while working with technology?
No matter how technical or knowledgeable you are, you are not immune to user error or inopportune computer issues.
What is unique about you personally?
I have a broad range of interests and a general love of knowledge so I can discuss many topics people would not anticipate.
What is unique about you professionally?
As an engineer, I operate in an organized and logistical way. However, I have always approached challenges in a creative and innovative way. I find this helps me add a different perspective and can assist in problem solving. As an added benefit, it also ensures most of my deliverables are aesthetically pleasing.
What is your most admirable quality?
This was difficult for me to answer so I asked close friends and family. “Altruistic” was the most common response.
Why is diversity, equality, and inclusion necessary for this industry?
There is data regarding the direct correlation between women in management roles and company success, in some cases by multiple percentages points in share price. I am a member of the Trane Price ERG and Trane Women’s Employee Network steering committees and I feel it is also important to discuss workplace balance and comfort. It is very important for people to feel valued and supported for them to stay in their role, recommend the organization to others and to strive to do their best. When a company creates an accepting environment and provides everyone with an equal voice, teams can communicate better, more ideas can be presented, and employees will have more potential to succeed. Diversity, equality, and inclusion enable a company to exceed goals and reach new areas of innovation.
What aspect of the industry has the most potential for growth, and how can we accelerate that? Materials. I think there is opportunity to integrate more repurposed and sustainable materials including metals, plastic, fluids, fuels, etc. Suppliers need to analyze materials’ sources and question whether there is a more sustainable material or a more sustainable way to get that materials. Additionally, customers need to set material targets as part of their sustainability goals.
Where does the industry need the most improvement, and what can we learn from the current shortcomings?
Redundancy. Data centers are notoriously redundant, but suppliers have not been. With the supply chain limitations over the last several years, it became apparent that companies were sole sourcing components. Many have begun self-sourcing, validating alternative replacements, and reengineering products to create less bottlenecks. Companies have made significant progress mitigating the supply issue but should plan for multiple suppliers moving forward.
When you imagine the future technology, what does it look like?
Sustainable and accessible. I imagine that future technologies will succeed in negating the climate change created by past and present generations. I visualize future technology giving everyone some level of accessibility to the things they need by finding ways to provide clean water, sufficient food, medical care, and shelter globally.
What advice do you have for women and other minorities who are currently working in the industry but don’t necessarily feel like they belong?
Build your support network. Utilize employee resource groups, social media platforms, and industry organizations to network and find people like you. Continue to connect, ask advice, and information share with those people to create a support structure. If you have a good support structure but still feel like you don’t belong, I suggest analyzing why you feel that way. Is it an individual, your place of work, your geographic location? Try to identify what is affecting you and determine how best to address it.
What advice do you have for young girls who may be interested in a future career in technology?
Accept criticism, but ignore blatant discouragement. For young women, it is unfortunately common that there will be someone that will try to discourage you along the way. Some of these people you will prove wrong with hard work and mastering your field, and some may never change their mind. It is best to find people who will coach you, support your work, and celebrate your accomplishments. I highly suggest finding a mentor program at your school or in your community. I’m excited to see what these young women will accomplish.