Throughout March, we’ll be posting a series of interviews with NYPA’s female engineers in honor of Women’s History Month. Today’s entry features a Q&A session with NYPA Account Executive Tabitha Robinson.
1. How did you enter the engineering field? How did you decide on your specialty? I really loved math throughout school, it was like another language to me. There really was no question in my mind that I was going to study engineering as an undergraduate. It was a field where math was applicable, I was passionate about what I was learning, and there were jobs for everyone upon graduation. In deciding my specialty, I chose Industrial Engineering because it was very business oriented, and I really enjoyed using numerical methods to solve problems. I also naturally seek out efficiencies in everything I do, which is the core of Industrial Engineering. It was a really good fit for me.
2. Did you have a female engineer as a mentor? I didn’t actually, but I had very good mentors. My dad was an electrical engineer and I grew up doing odd jobs with his business and going to Georgia Tech (an engineering-heavy college) football games. In college, I had a professor that opened many doors to me on the energy side of the business working with the Department of Energy and studying energy abroad in South America.
3. What makes you proud to work at NYPA? How long have you worked here? I’ve been here over 3 years now. NYPA has an incredible culture and has so many opportunities for its staff to learn about all sides of the business, from operations, to marketing and policy.
4. How many positions have you held at NYPA? I’ve held three positions now. The first was with what was Business Development, then with Business Power Allocations and Compliance (BPAC) and now I’m in Key Accounts working with the government customers.
5. What things do you love most about engineering? Studying and practicing engineering really taught me problem solving techniques and how to learn on my own, which gives me the confidence that I can learn anything I set my mind to. With the training I’ve been able to tackle projects in my career spanning operations, marketing, and strategic planning, among other areas.
6. What are the most difficult aspects of your job? What parts do you enjoy the most? My current job involves a lot of relationship management in a more technical space. The challenge inherent to relationship management is constantly balancing the needs of the customer with the needs of the organization. With that said, the reward is that I really enjoy all the people I get to work with in this role, internally and externally.
7. What project that you have worked on are you most proud of? Working with everyone in Economic Development to launch ReCharge New York was one of the most intense projects I’ve worked on in my career. It was very rewarding to be able to apply knowledge from my engineering days to build evaluation and modeling methodologies that will remain in place for years to come. It was a project where so many of us came together to successfully launch one of the NYS’s premier economic development programs. It’s so rewarding to be part of something like that.
8. What advice would you offer young women considering engineering as a profession?
- Seek work that you are passionate about and take on obstacles as opportunities.
- It’s OK to change your career path. I love the analogy that careers are often more like jungle gyms than ladders.
- Focus on your strengths and talents. We all have weaknesses, but it’s our strengths and talents that set each of us apart.