Erin Gately

Current Position: Green Electronics Council at EPEAT Conformity Assurance Manager
Erin Gately
Highlight Erin was part of a team at Hewlett-Packard that investigated using biodegradable corn-based material to manufacture the shell of a printer.
September 8, 2007Her job: Green Electronics Council, EPEAT Registry Services Manager
Describe what you do in your current work situation? The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is an online tool that helps people select and compare computers based on their environmental performance.  In my job as the EPEAT Registry Services Manager, I manage EPEAT’s Quality Assurance programs, including designing and managing the execution of EPEAT’s regular Verification Investigations. These investigations of the product registry, carried out by independent contractors, include multiple levels and types of inquiry, from reviews of documentation, to investigation of supply chain controls, down to the physical disassembly and testing of products bought on the open market.
Why did you choose engineering? I chose engineering because I really like using my brain. I was drawn to solving problems and fixing things.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have? I have a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami; Miami, Florida and I have an M.B.A. in Sustainable Business Practices, Bainbridge Graduate Institute; Bainbridge Island, Washington.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work? Reviewing EPEAT declarations to assure that manufacturers are accurately representing how green their products are.  Communicating with a team investigating the accuracy of manufacturer's declarations.  Researching new and existing EPEAT criteria.
What do you like best about being an engineer? Getting your engineering degree teaches you to fully use your brain. My background is in industrial engineering, but my analytical-thinking skills are applicable to my whole life. I have used my skills in manufacturing engineering jobs and marketing jobs, and also in my current job as EPEAT Registry Services Manager.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of? Being chosen as an Earth Innovator by the Sierra Club. My work on the HP Deskjet 6540 printer which is highly recyclable and won many awards.
Please tell us a little about your family. I am married and have three small children - a daughter and twin boys. We also have a cat and four chickens.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals? I want my work in sustainable design to be part of a larger sustainable design revolution.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices? My brother got his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering so I got to see what being an engineer was like. The Northwest Earth Institute courses that I have taken have guided me toward environmental work.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering? Go for it! Being an engineer doesn't mean you can't have a life. You can be an engineer and have a social life and a family too. My engineering degree has allowed me to be whatever I have dreamed of being.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book. My favorite author is Charles de Lint. He writes both young adult and adult fiction. His work is extremely inspiring to me. His writing takes me away and brings me back feeling happy and ready to create. I recommend his books highly. I started playing bass guitar a few years ago and I am working on writing a rock opera about mermaids.