Engineering an Outstanding Career
Jacobs Celebrates Achievements on International Women in Engineering Day
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) takes place on 23 June annually. Schools, colleges, universities, industry bodies and individual engineers are uniting to focus attention on the careers in engineering and technical roles for girls, and to celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers. INWED aims to reach a wider, global audience, and this year’s subtheme of Men as Allies focuses on achieving real diversity and equality, so that both men and women are able to pursue a career in engineering.
“An inclusive environment enriches the workplace for all of us. We are more innovative, provide better solutions, and attract the right people,” said Jacobs President Bob Pragada. “This year, on International Women in Engineering Day, let’s all celebrate the diversity women bring to Jacobs by committing to do one thing that can positively impact our workplace – take time to talk with a young person looking for career advice, sponsor a lunch for women and men to share ideas about supporting women in engineering, science, and technology, or send a note to a colleague who’s made a difference in your career. Let’s make sure we are known for our diverse work environment as well as the amazing projects we deliver.”
Building connections with Jacobs Women’s Network
Jacobs Women’s Network is an employee network with a mission to promote individual and business growth, and provide a sustainable and progressive platform for women and men to develop talent, broaden access to opportunities and drive career growth.
“Engineering, science and technology are the foundation of so many advances in our world, and at Jacobs we have the privilege to witness amazing engineers make a difference every day,” said Camilla Arnold, Chair of the Jacobs Women’s Network Board. “To engineer a better society we will need to close the gender-gap in these professions. A diversity of ideas will be key to solve tomorrow’s problems. Congratulations to all the amazing women engineers around the globe for all your contributions, for breaking stereotypes and for being role models for future generations!”
Technical, leadership and project management skills
Lisa Chaplin, Jacobs senior equipment engineer, has worked on the client side and with several Jacobs operations in the U.S. on both mega projects and small greenfield projects.
“I decided to switch my major from mathematics education to engineering at North Carolina State University, and I joined the college’s cooperative education program. I did get some conflicting advice about whether this was the right field for me. But the technical mentoring I received early in my career from Jacobs professionals proved it was the right path. My early decision to gain both plant and design engineering experience has led to my career growth.
“Currently, I’m enjoying workshare with colleagues in our New Delhi, India office. This opportunity excites me! Workshare demands real team work and constant communication.
“What’s helped me the most in my career is to set priorities. The dynamics of our jobs, as well as dealing with constant changes in project schedules and scope, can be challenging. Set your priorities both as daily ‘to-do’ lists and as long-term goals. This helps to focus your energy and keep your career path clear,” added Chaplin.
Now a Jacobs project engineer, Anna Huffman, has used her electrical engineering experience to evolve her role at the company. She continues to learn to expand her leadership and project management skills. What sustains Huffman is the essential nature of the work and the quality of her colleagues.
“Every day is a day to learn something new, and every day challenges me to try to do my work better. I really enjoy working in teams that are extraordinarily smart, talented and equally passionate about their work. In the end, I’m humbled by the opportunity to help our clients bring life-changing, and often life-saving, therapies to their patients.”
Jacobs divisional director and head of air quality in the U.K., Hazel Peace, specializes in air pollution and aviation, and is currently leading a project to consider a clean air zone for Greater Manchester, as well as projects looking at the emission and air quality impacts of airports and roads. Peace was recently invited to chair the U.S. Transportation Research Board’s International Aviation Committee.
“I’ve had an unusual route from engineering into air quality modelling; my first degree was communication and control engineering, but I was also very interested in the environmental side and felt that engineering seemed divorced from its environmental impacts at the time. Towards the end of my degree I decided that I needed to use my engineering and mathematical skills in an environmental context, this led to me undertaking a Ph.D. applying control theory to air pollution modelling (artificial neural networks).
“Now I apply my skills to modelling air pollution as well as understanding how it disperses in the real-world (as opposed to a model) and also looking at ways that we can mitigate emissions. I find that the applied mathematics is especially helpful as are visualization techniques.”
Investing in the future
Jacobs recruits staff at all levels and is developing the next generation of talent through its opportunities for graduate development, internships, apprenticeships and other training and development opportunities. Jacobs’ thriving network of STEM ambassadors also runs activities and initiatives with local schools and other education bodies.
Jacobs apprentice Chloe Pascoe, recently named one of four Industrial Cadet finalists in the Inaugural U.K. Industrial Cadets Awards, took part in Jacobs’ Workplace Experience program in the U.K. in 2015. Pascoe is now completing her technical certificate for her project controls apprenticeship with the company and is enjoying the role of work experience coordinator in Jacobs’ Westlakes office, West Cumbria.
“Jacobs offers many different apprenticeships in the U.K., and the U.K. Industrial Cadets’ accredited work experience really helps students assess the career path they would like to take,” said Pascoe. “The placement gave me a great understanding for what Jacobs does on a day-to-day basis, and different disciplines involved in delivering a project.”
Project manager Giuliana Marshall joined Jacobs’ graduate program in Australia in 2005 after gaining her electrical engineering degree. Giuliana went on to build her experience in defense managing several projects with Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation before starting a family and her own software development company. “Running my own business was a great adventure but after five years I missed the buzz of big defense projects, so I re-joined Jacobs two years ago as transition and integration manager for a major defense program,” explained Marshall.
Marshall’s career advice: "Be authentic and remember change is iterative and failure is part of success. Always reach. By this I mean expect small steps and enjoy the wins on the journey, be prepared to push yourself and be ok with not everything going to plan. These experiences make you better if you choose to learn from them."
Camilla Arnold, Chair of the Jacobs Women’s Network Board