Name: April Guymon
Title: Director of Monitoring-Based Commissioning, ETC Group
Educational Experience: Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah
Professional Credentials/Accreditations: Professional Engineer (P.E.)
Organizational Affiliations/Achievements/Awards: Member of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) and American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE)
What caused you to/when did you fall in love with engineering?
I really didn’t have a good handle on what engineering meant in high school. I had a vague image of people who designed vehicles and bridges. I always loved math and took a physics class my senior year that blew my mind, but it wasn’t until I started my first year of college and met engineering students that I abandoned my biology major and jumped into mechanical engineering. Those first-year classes fed my brain in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working in the skilled trades?
Building relationships with so many great people. My best projects always end in friendships.
Describe the proudest moment in your career.
I was proud to gain my P.E. licensure. When I began my career, I wasn’t sure if I would stay in engineering, and when I got my P.E., it hit me that I can stay challenged and interested in my engineering work for a lifetime.
What challenges do women face in this profession? Can you give a personal example? Why aren’t there more women in engineering? How can we increase the number of women in engineering?
Some engineering disciplines have succeeded in attracting women, but mechanical engineering remains one of the slowest to do so. While everyone is driven by different things, women are often driven by doing good in society. I think mechanical engineering and other engineering disciplines have tremendous potential to improve lives, but it’s sometimes challenging to show that. The more engineering can demonstrate the positive impact, the more women will be attracted to it. We have to get past viewing mechanical engineering as a place for men to design cars!
Also, the more women are in visible positions, in schools and professional spaces, the more young people will see role models.
Not all women will or want to become mothers, but workplaces that accommodate flexibility in work schedules will allow all parents, both men, and women, to continue in careers. I work for a company that was willing to give me the flexibility while raising young kids to continue working and growing.
What does your day-to-day job entail?
I am a director, focusing on strategizing on how to continue developing our engineering services and tools to drive maximum energy savings for our clients. I spend a lot of time working directly with clients to develop plans and scopes of work to achieve their energy reduction goals.
What drives/motivates you every day?
Climate change is exceptionally important. I have spent my career with a total focus on energy efficiency, which is a very important component of the current predicament the world finds itself in. Energy efficiency is something we can enact now and at relatively low cost.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted you personally and professionally?
I’m lucky to be the director of a department that focuses on using remote software to analyze energy-consuming systems with teammates spread across three states. Professionally, it was a simple transition to work from home. However, like every other pandemic parent, having my two kids at home all day, every day, was quite an adjustment. After the first few months, I was feeling quite burned out. Then, my oldest child commented that he felt lucky we could spend so much time together, which made everything better. I’ve tried to keep the wisdom of my 10 year old at the forefront of our pandemic experience.
What remains on your engineering bucket list — what do you aspire to do that you haven’t accomplished yet?
I am really interested in seeing the built environments transition to full electrification. There are a lot of hurdles to cross to get us there, but I am ready to bring my talents to the table to help lead the way.
What’s one thing no one knows about you?
I think people who know me well know this, but my favorite activity is to play an intense game of catch.
List any mentors who’ve helped you succeed and describe exactly how they’ve shaped your success.
Patti Case, one of the founders of my firm, taught me that work is about so much more than financial gain or recognition. She taught me to be conscious of what work means to me and to shape it in ways that keep it meaningful. My current work values are centered on growing a business that protects the environment, takes care of my amazing co-workers and their families, and allows me to tackle challenging engineering problems.
Jane Guyer, a principal engineer at my firm, taught me to always be myself. Being genuine is the best way to create trust in relationships and move work forward.
Glen Anderson, who is also a principal engineer at my firm, taught me to be deeply technical and that humor is the best way to get through challenging situations.
What advice do you have for prospective female engineers considering entering the field?
The engineering field needs the talent and skills of everyone! There are amazing women who have always been drivers in this field, whether they were visible or not. And women will continue to drive us to new heights.
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