Interviewed by Bert Barnes, Scientist, O’Brien & Gere
Title: Associate Engineer
Q: What brought you to Philadelphia and how did you first get involved with Young Professional Network?
A: I grew up in Delaware County so I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area since I was young. I got my Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Penn and ended up staying on campus an additional year to earn my master’s degree in Materials Science. After that, Philadelphia seemed like a natural choice and I was thrilled with the opportunity to work for PECO.
I serve as the president of PECO’s Developing Young Professionals Employee Resource Group and I first became involved with YPN through PECO. Our company shares a strong connection with the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce as Denis O’Brien, CEO of Exelon Utilities, serves as Chairman. Exelon is the parent company of PECO.
Q: How did you decide to become an engineer?
A: Growing up, I played with a lot of Legos and K’NEX, which fostered my interest in tinkering and problem solving. I pursued as many math and science courses as I could in high school, which increased my interest in the principles underlying engineering. I also was a part of my high school’s FIRST robotics team, which exposed me to engineering as a discipline and encouraged me to think about its applications. Once I was at Penn, I kind of fell into materials science; it was intriguing to me because it spans every field, from biology to electrical engineering. I enjoy materials science the most because it offers a broad understanding of science and engineering but still allows you to specialize in a single or multidisciplinary subfield.
Q: What does your day-to-day look like and what is the most unique aspect of your position?
A: There isn’t really a day-to-day in my job. I’m a subject matter expert in aerial electrical equipment, meaning PECO’s equipment atop our poles, so my typical responsibilities include testing new products, investigating reliability issues, troubleshooting, and addressing any issues that arise. I have the opportunity to work with PECO’s field crews often, which is great because I get to learn a great amount from them. The most unique aspect of my job is the widespread impact my activities have on our customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. I think that’s pretty cool.
Q:What’s one piece of advice you would give a young professional looking to transition into your line of work?
A: My best advice to students and young professionals is to talk to people in different fields, ask questions, and explore things you’re curious about. That’s been huge help to me.
Q: What are the next steps you’re taking to advance your career?
A: I’m constantly trying to network through my company and my industry. Two ways I do this is by volunteering with other employees and working with mentors in PECO from different fields.
Q: How has being involved in YPN benefited you thus far?
A: I went on the Russia trip with some other Chamber members last year, which was an awesome experience. On the trip, I got to experience a different culture not only from my own perspective, but from the perspectives of the other people in my group. I’ve also enjoyed the diversity of events available to YPN members. One of my favorites was our conversation with Mayor Nutter.
Q: What’s your favorite part of living in the Philadelphia area?
A: Philadelphia has a unique blend of the historic, modern, and futuristic. I love the culture, sports teams and food, especially the number of craft breweries in the area. It’s a hub for cool new technologies and ventures, and the city integrates the identities of all the different organizations and people within it.