November 14, 2016Her job: President and CEO, Technically Speaking, Inc.
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
I provide consulting services to the electric utility industry. My areas of expertise are in generation planning and fuels. I oversee analysis that is conducted, write reports and testimony, and serve as an expert witness.
Why did you choose engineering?
I really liked math and I wanted to apply my skills to solve problems.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
University of Virginia, B.S. Applied Mathematics, minor - electrical engineering
University of North Carolina at Charlotte - M.B.A.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
In the early years, I ran two types of simulation models - production costing and capacity expansion. Production costing models simulate the operation of the existing fleet of generation units. Capacity expansion models look into the future and project the types of generation units that will optimally serve customer needs over the planning horizon (typically 20 years).
What do you like best about being an engineer?
I love to solve problems. I like to know that my work is making a difference. At the very foundation, my job is simple - I help keep the lights on.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
I helped several utilities get the certificates of public convenience and necessity that they need to build power plants to serve customer needs. I was involved as an expert witness in that process.
I am also a writer and an advocate for women. I am very proud of my best-selling and award winning book - Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
Life and work rarely goes as one predicts. I have overcome bad bosses, employment cultural fits that did not work for me, and work environments that did not suit me.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I am married and we have two cats.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
To change the perception of women around the world. I am now an advocate for women.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
My parents. The Society of Women Engineers and the outreach program - A Great Women in Engineering and Science essay contest. That led to my nominations of many women for national awards and most of my books.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
YOU CAN DO IT!! The keys are passion, determination, and persistence. Don't let anyone tell you that women don't or you can't. You can.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
I still play singles tennis and really enjoy it. I also love to do needlework, particularly counted cross stitch and needlepoint.