Rae Anne Rushing

Rae Anne Rushing

Rushing Company
Seattle, WA, United States
Rae Anne Rushing
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…I am many things; a natural leader, an engineer, an entrepreneur and a visionary.

With this toolbox of traits, starting Rushing Company was the obvious next step to continuing my vision of strong, creative, sustainable engineering. The way I see it, there is no creativity without diversity; more than one way of thinking is critical in the development of a successful solution. It is my passion for this that led to the evolution of Rushing Company into a diverse, multi-disciplinary firm, constantly seeking new innovative approaches to engineering and sustainability.

In 1982 the choice of becoming an engineer was about two things: 1) I was naturally strong in math and science; and 2) it was the highest paid profession with a four year degree right out of school.

Money was very important as I was a teen parent with one small child with only a GED equivalency high school diploma. I was brought into the University of Washington system through the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP), specifically the Economically Disadvantaged Student Division (EDSD). As I went through the process of applying to the UW, I knew that my admission was my only way out of generations of poverty, alcoholism, child abuse, etc.; and I would have the opportunity to become the first person in my family to gain a college education and break the cycle of poverty and abuse for my child.

Today I have three children, all adults: 28, 24, and 18. They are all college graduates or on their way to becoming college graduates! My Engineering career made this all possible.

During college I received many accolades and scholarships recognizing my hard work, many of which were as a result of nominations from my professors. I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in 1988.

Today, I have the privilege and joy to manage Rushing Company which I founded with my partner Scott five years ago.  It is a role that fits me like a glove. We currently employ 25 professionals in the mechanical and electrical engineering fields. We design High Performance Commercial Buildings in the Pacific Northwest and around the world. I recently was asked by the Governor of Washington State to serve as a delegate on a business trade mission to Asia and I am a current member of the Clinton Global Initiative serving on committees to find solutions to our world's biggest problems. I serve on many community boards such as the Washington State Workforce Development Council and volunteer my time as a Peer Board Member of the YWCA.

When I am not working, I like to spend my time practicing yoga, skiing, and walking with my dog named Russell Q. Tip.

Engineering has definitely changed my life, impacted my children's lives, and enabled all of us to be independent and free to become everything that we could be. I am proud to promote engineering as a career for women.

Answers by Ms Rae Anne Rushing

Thank you very much for the note! My children are all grown up now with careers of their own so I can appreciate what you are going through trying to decide what is next for you. As far as a career in Engineering and what HVAC Design is all about in Seattle; I can tell you that 50% of what we do is focused on great communication and social skills coordinating with other consultants on the design and construction project. The other 50% is having good technical skills in your field. As far as using Calculus or Physics, no I do not use these skills on a day-to-day basis but it was good to get an understanding of those concepts so that I could learn about engineering concepts that used calculus and physics ideas to explain those concepts. Any calculations using calculus are completed using computers. We do however, need to learn to have a gut sense of what is a reasonable answer in order to know when we or others have made a mistake. I have never regretted learning those skills in college. It was very hard work but well worth it! Today I am studying for the Electrical Engineering Professional Engineering State Exam so I am having to refresh myself on all my Math and Physics skills as well as learning Electrical Engineering! Lots of hard work but lots of fun too!

Please feel free to correspond with me directly on any questions or concerns you have. Good luck and let me know how you progress with your decision!

The closest Engineering to Manufacturing Engineering is Industrial Engineering or Mechanical Engineering.

Science and math skills are critical for engineering so keep up on these skills in school. Do you like solving problems? This is a critical skillset to have as an engineer. Researching and finding answers to creative practical challenges is what engineering is about. Also, visit construction sites if you can or manufacturing facilities. This will help you understand what kind of engineering you want to study. Join organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), United States Green Building Council (USGBC), or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Join Network groups such as LEAN In. This will allow you to talk to other women engineers working in different fields of engineering.
There are many types of engineers; mechanical, structural, civil, chemical, energy, electrical, etc. Finding out what kind of engineering field you want to specialize in will be the challenge.
Here are a some of websites to explore:
Good Luck.

Even if your GPA is not strong, your degree offers a very desirable skill. I personally did NOT have the opportunity to participate in an internship because I was always working at jobs to maximize my pay in order to put myself through school and not necessarily focused on post college strategies. I believe you can get a good job and I would focus on the following areas:

Technical sales of HVAC equipment

DDC Controls Companies (Johnson, Siemens, Alerton, Honeywell)

Design/Build Mechanical Contractors

If you truly have a passion for planes and mechanical engineering, then I suggest that you continue your path and NOT let your perceived weakness in math and physics hold you back. You should get extra tutoring NOW. This is the time to discover how you learn best in these two subjects. My guess is that you need different kinds of lessons than you are getting from your current curriculum. Do not let this discourage you. As an engineer you will need to learn to solve problems using many different methods so now is a good time to start! Follow your rainbow. I was told by my professors the same thing (more than once), that I should chose a less technical degree. I was told this because I had a child and had to work while I was in college. My grades suffered because of my other commitments. I got tutoring. I worked my butt off. And I got my BSME! Good luck!