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Engineering a New Career
It takes courage – and curiosity – to venture down a completely new career path. That may explain why some of our engineers are flourishing in non-engineering positions. Their analytical, solution-oriented skills are helping them design their own success. During National Engineers Week, we salute them for conquering new professional territories.
Growth Through Critical Thinking
Mary DeCuir, manager, resource planning, always enjoyed puzzles and understanding how things work. That’s why studying electrical engineering at University of Tulsa was a natural fit. Her engineering career was typical. She tested telecommunications network elements, analyzed network growth patterns and forecasted growth plans. DeCuir took a hiatus from the workforce and when she decided to return in 2008, she was looking for a new challenge. A job at Entergy caught her attention.
“I did not have previous experience working for a utility, but I could see myself in the job” she explained.
DeCuir started as an analyst and proved to be versatile. She worked on generation planning and models, project and performance management, and Entergy Mississippi Resource Planning teams.
“Those experiences provided me with opportunities to learn about the utility business,” she said. “I gained experience through decision support analyses and exposure to reporting mechanisms and regulatory processes that help to support business decisions.”
“My analytical, problem-solving and organizational skillsets have helped me grow professionally,” she said. “Those traits enabled me to become a valuable contributing resource to my team. They also help me as I expanded my knowledge of other business groups and operations.”
Boldly Going Where No Engineer Has Gone Before
Problem-solving helped steer Rock Ingram, a senior regulatory analyst, toward engineering, too. His inspiration came from watching the popular sci-fi television show, “Star Trek”. Ingram’s hero was the chief engineer, Scotty, because he got the ship out of trouble. After earning a degree in electrical engineering from Mississippi State University, he worked as an engineering consultant. Then, he joined Entergy and served in distribution engineer and field engineer roles. He designed solutions for customers, like new utility pole installations. Ingram knew his engineering skills could also serve customers in different ways.
“To solve problems for our customers, I had to be adaptable, have a big picture perspective and continuously seek improvement,” he said. “I also see those skills as ingredients for professional success. I’m so grateful my engineering background has prepared me for this moment where I am today. Being a problem-solver, a communicator and my years of utility work experience enables me to deliver each day in my current regulatory role.”
When customers ask what he does at the company, Ingram says he keeps it simple. “I tell them ‘it’s my privilege to work behind the scenes to keep your power affordable and reliable. That’s what I do.’”
Putting Skills into Practice
The applied aspects of engineering sparked Tinisha McMillion’s interest in the field. She joined Entergy in 2005 and since then has worked in several departments, including meter reading operations and the distribution operations center. Through those experiences, McMillion realized she wanted to apply engineering concepts in her work. So, she earned a degree in industrial engineering technology from Southeastern Louisiana University. Learning that hands-on approach has helped her in her current role as a safety specialist.
“I wanted to use engineering systems instead of designing them,” she said. “My engineering background and focus on hands-on implementation are a great combination of skills. I’m able to quickly comprehend processes, identify gaps and apply engineering solutions. That perspective helps me with one of the most important parts of my job – ensuring safety for our employees.”
Queen Elizabeth II once said engineering is a noble profession because it uses science to find creative, practical solutions. We’re proud engineering-minded employees are using those valuable skills at Entergy.