Engineering a Future for Women

Photo of Ashley, Supervisor of Distribution and DesignWomen have made inroads into many male-dominated professions in recent years. As recently as the 1980s, only 5.8 percent of U.S. engineers were women. Today, that percentage stands closer to 14 percent, according to a Congressional Joint Economic Committee report. As the number of women pursuing careers in the engineering field continues to grow, Great Lakes Energy is proud to have a woman engineer among our ranks.

Growing up, Ashley, Supervisor of Distribution and Design, recalls that she loved playing with Legos, doing math, and taking industrial arts and architecture classes. She knew since ninth grade that she wanted to be an engineer. She remembers that her parents backed her ambition. Her father, who worked in the power industry, told her, “We build lines, we don’t stand in them.”

With that kind of support and encouragement, Ashley started her journey toward becoming an engineer. She began by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. She then went on to a double major, adding electrical engineering to diversify job opportunities available and to honor her family background in the power industry.

Ashley, who holds a master’s degree in business administration, attained her coveted Professional Engineer (PE) license while juggling a full-time career at GLE and a family.

“It challenged me,” she admits. And it’s no wonder. The eight-hour exam to become a PE takes place after earning a four-year college degree in engineering. The exam is then followed by four years of progressive engineering experience under a certified PE.

Ultimately, she says, she chose the profession after realizing she “wanted a job doing things that required a visual design aspect.”

Today, she uses her engineering skills to look out for GLE members with the best in design standards for GLE’s distribution system.

During National Engineers Week Feb. 17-23, we honor Ashley and the rest of our highly-qualified engineering team. Their skills and all they bring to excellence in design, construction and performance of GLE’s lines and equipment bring you the best in system integrity and reliability every day.