6 Engineers on How Community Fuels Their Careers

    Engineers discuss how community involvement, mentorship and development opportunities inspire them to make an impact.

    Why pursue a career in engineering?

    For Iris Alvarado Santiago, an engineering project manager, one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is the level of collaboration.

    "My job requires me to mentor, coach and help my teams navigate constraints that are inhibiting progress," Iris said.

    For National Engineers Week, we caught up with engineers like Iris to hear not only about what they do every day, but also how mentorship, engineering organizations and communities at Honeywell and beyond inspire them to grow professionally and personally.

    Sarah Sepulveda - Systems Engineer

    What do you do?

    My day-to-day can range from being in an office to working in the field. My job requires me to communicate and coordinate with different engineering disciplines as clearly as possible in order to ensure we bring the project in on time and under budget. Working with many disciplines can be challenging at times, since different teams’ priorities may not align on the same path forward. As a system engineer, it’s important for me to have a broad understanding of all technical aspects of the project to identify a path forward that allows all of the teams to advance in sync. 

    How does community play a role in your career?

    Community also means family. I’ve been very lucky to have been guided by several individuals in my career who were not women and were also not engineers. This gave me a different perspective on my career path and also influenced me because these individuals dedicated their own personal time to help me grow with no expectation of anything in return, except to see me succeed. This wonderful, supportive community has also inspired me to help other individuals and join organizations like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

    Akeem McKoy - Electrical Engineer

    What do you do? 

    I lead teams of electrical engineers who convert conceptual electrical system design into a fully functioning material handling system that provides automation for distribution centers. I design electrical layouts, network drawings and schematics, as well as travel to job sites and commission the system. 

    What role does community play in your career?

    Community plays an integral role. I take great pride in participating in the hiring process on behalf of Honeywell at various minority conferences in the US, as I was hired at the National Society of Black Engineers Annual Conference in 2019.

    Iris Alvarado Santiago - Program Lead

    What do you do?

    I manage engineering projects, from studies all the way to engineering packages for a single unit or a complex. This is my dream job. I am results-driven, but my teams are equally important.  I build my teams, set expectations and ensure that we meet deliverables as I control and monitor progress. I value teamwork and ensure that my team is part of the decision-making that is often part of project execution, while shielding them from the noise so they can focus on what is important. 

    What role does community play in your career?

    My family and community are engraved in me. I come from Aibonito, Puerto Rico, a town in the middle of the island, or like most say, “a jibarita de la montaña." I am a first-generation college graduate paving the way for the rest of the family. My family is big — I have over 60 first cousins — and I am still the only engineer and one of the first to go and graduate from college.

    My community provided a sense of belonging, but most of all, it provided the foundation for the service work that I currently do in my personal and professional life.

    Growing up, I did not have all the opportunities offered nowadays, but my parents always emphasized higher education. The road was and has been challenging, but it had taught me hard work, perseverance and resilience.

    In my professional life, I am part of the Honeywell UOP Technical Community Organization as a core member, and I help drive initiaves like Bring Your Child to Work Day and a STEM education program. I also mentor colleagues, participate in different employee networks, and in the last two years, I have started to be an active member of La Familia through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

    Caldwell McFadden - Process Engineer

    What do you do?

    My role is to develop, qualify and support the production of components for the engineering project I work on. I leverage extensive expertise in welding processes and metallography while working with our partners to refine definitions, optimize processes, and deliver projects on time.

    What role does community play for you in your career?

    Community has played a very important role in my career by providing me opportunities to build a relationship between a more experienced professional and a neo that allows for knowledge transfer. Community also provides networking, engagement, and learning opportunities which helps me to familiarize myself with my colleagues and the company’s values so that I can maximize my productivity.   

    George Chaney Jr. - Engineering Team Lead

    What do you do?

    I develop and lead cross-functional teams through complex engineering projects for ultra-high reliability, electro-mechanical applications. 

    What role does community play in your career?

    As Honeywell’s lead program manager for our strategic partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), I drive Honeywell’s contributions to the professional organization and its members to develop the pipeline. I lead NSBE recruitment efforts and foster development opportunities for our employees along the way.

    I have found great value in the relationships I’ve developed through community volunteer events, the Honeywell Black Employee Network, the National Society of Black Engineers, Honeywell Early Career Employee Network, and Honeywell Experienced Professionals. Through these communities, I have managed to expand my network across the company. This has allowed me to learn about the company from a variety of perspectives and ultimately better serve the business.

    Aisling Neilan - Advanced Aerospace Project Engineer

    What do you do?

    As a project engineer for a defense program, I lead the design and development activity for specific modules of the project. My scope as the single point leader for my modules includes regular communication with various departments (such as engineering, integrated supply chain, and program management), technical reporting and reviews, risk management, hardware and supplier coordination, and test plan preparation. I also manage technical requirements of the project and oversee a budget and program schedule. 

    What role does community play in your career?

    The URDP (University Relations Development Program) community at Honeywell has played the biggest role in my career. I was recruited as an intern through URDP, then joined the 18-month rotation program after graduating from Virginia Tech University. I then served as a mentor and leader in the community post-rotations. This program not only allowed me to see multiple facets of the aerospace business before settling into my role as a project engineer, but it also helped me grow my professional and social networks.