Tanya Kiefer
Tanya Kiefer
Engineering and Design Solutions Engineer, Associated
St. Charles, IL

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  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    Currently, I work at the Headquarters for OfficeMax as an Industrial Engineer. I design, equip and manage the Construction of warehouses for our Contract division. I manage projects that can range from $10,000 to over $20 million. Each project that I work on requires technical ability, which I rely upon my Engineering background to find solutions.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    My father is a Mechanical Engineer. I was always fascinated with his career when I was growing up. I decided in 5th grade that I would like to be an Engineer, so I worked hard at Math and Science in school. I never changed my mind once to pursue a different degree. In high school, I would visit my dad on job sites over my breaks to learn and loved what he did and knew I was making the right choice for myself in my career path.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I started College at University of Milwaukee for Pre-Engineering. Once I choose Industrial Engineering as my focus, I transferred to Northern Illinois University (Go Huskies!). I have a degree in B.S., Industrial Engineering.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    I typically manage people that work for various companies to perform work for OfficeMax. Most of the projects that I manage involve companies that will build and/or install equipment for us. My job requires that I travel to our various locations in the United States.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    I love the constant challenge that my job brings me. I work on something different everyday, which keeps things very exciting. Also, people rely on me to make decisions based on my knowledge as an Engineer.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    I worked on a Lawsuit that took over 4 years to settle for my Company. I was instrumental in working with Lawyers and experts and helping my Company get the money we were entitled to. I was able to spend the money fixing a large issue in one of our main buildings to make the building safer for our work force.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    College was a long road and could be difficult at times. I worked very hard and there were times I thought I would never finish. It definitely takes dedication, but it was worth every minute.
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I have two beautiful daughters ages 8 and 10 years old. They are love of my life and they keep us very busy. They are both very athletic, so we are always on the go to watch an event. We are a very tight knit family and they have both expressed an interest in being an Engineer. Their father is an Industrial Engineer as well, so they see it from both sides.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    My short term goal is to grow into a position with Leadership responsibility and have people work directly for me. My long term goal is to develop my Leadership into a Senior or Executive level position in a large company where I have a staff of over 30 people.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    I would say my mother and father. My father gave me the gift of the love of Math. He inspired me to be an Engineer. My mother gave me the gift of English and helped me be a better writer, reader and speaker. You need to be a well rounded person to be successful in the business world. She inspires me to be all I can be.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    My advice to young women would be to work hard and stay focused. There is nothing that can hold women back, so apply yourself and the rewards will come. You need to establish a strong work ethic early on in your education to make it a habit. Also, you need to start to focus on school early on to build a strong foundation for learning.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    I am very excited to see this site and I am so glad that young women have resources available. I am a strong believer in surrounding yourself with positive people that will help mentor you along your journey.
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    I like to run races competitively. I run 5k’s and obstacles races, so I have to train hard in running and weight training to be strong. I like to lead by example for my girls, so I stay fit to keep up with them and hope to inspire them to try hard and succeed.
Volunteer Opportunities
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
Latest Questions
  • Xiomara, Lynchburg, Va asked Tanya Kiefer, Associated

    Added Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at 12:17 PM

    Hi Kiefer, I read your interview and was inspired. Recently, I started my Engineering transfer degree hoping to go into a 4 year college. Possibly get my B.S in Industrial or Mechanical Engineering. I have been struggling with school and been close to dropping out. My English and Math skills are not the greatest but I am willing to learn in order to succeed. Engineering is something I want to do but for some reason I keep changing my mind and wanting to give up. I want a career were I can ...
    Related to Choosing a Degree, Difficult Classes, Industrial, Mechanical, Opportunities/Challenges for Women
    Answers 0
  • Virginia P., Miami asked Tanya Kiefer, Associated

    Added Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 5:40 PM

    Dear Mrs. Tanya K, I've decided that I want to become an engineer due to the fact that I love math and science and it would be amazing to have these two elements included in my career. I am still very confused whether to do industrial or civil engineering. I still don't fully understand the concept of industrial engineering, however I know that it gives you way more job opportunities than civil engineering does. It would be great help and guidance if you could answer my question. Thank you so ...
    Related to Choosing a Degree, Civil, Industrial, Preparation for College
    Answers 0
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