Amanda Beaton, U.S. Program Manager, Siemens Cooperates with Education
Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Tech
MBA, Georgia State University
Amanda Beaton has been with Siemens since 2003. As the U.S. Program Manager for Siemens Cooperates with Education (SCE), she is responsible for connecting academia to industry by facilitating the use of Siemens Factory Automation products in schools. In previous roles, she also created an apprentice program for field service technicians and managed a leadership development program for Siemens engineers and employees. Amanda started her career with Siemens in the Operations Leadership Development program and worked in manufacturing in Mexico and the U.S. She also served as a Project Manager and a Product Manager for Low Voltage and Energy Management product lines. She holds a Bachelor of Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Georgia State University. Amanda sits on several industry advisory boards at colleges and universities across the US. She is also a frequent STEM volunteer at her daughters’ elementary and middle schools.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
Over the past 18 years, I am happy to say that I have noticed a tangible change in the Siemens culture. While we are still a global powerhouse in engineering, there are so many more women in leadership roles. Early on, the culture was obviously very masculine and technically focused. Today, we have so many opportunities to participate in groups focused on diversity and inclusion, and it isn’t just for show. These groups, our projects, and our roles make a real impact on the company and how we work. I can feel the shift in promoting better work-life balance and a much more diverse work force across all the roles and levels and it makes me very proud to work here.
Describe a recent company project (in which you were involved) that went particularly well. How did you and your team go about ensuring success?
I helped a team of students from a large university complete a year-long project during covid to build a digital twin of a mechatronics line. The students not only became proficient in our software, but also did the wiring and physical construction to create the digital and physical models of a manufacturing line. Several delays and the inability to travel made things more difficult, but the end result was a successful working digital twin and a wonderful presentation from the students on their accomplishments.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
I knew when I was young that I really enjoyed math, science, and technical subjects. I like making things and understanding how things work. I only applied to one college and knew that engineering was for me from an early age. Once I got the opportunity to intern in a manufacturing plant, I was drawn to the life and energy in the facility and sought out manufacturing. I didn’t know exactly what part of manufacturing or engineering I wanted to settle into, so a rotational program focused on operations was perfect for spending time across several manufacturing plants and functional areas to get a feel for the entire supply chain. With Siemens, I was able to transition into product marketing and management roles across different business units and product areas and experience several parts of the business and functional areas. As the child of two teachers, this has been my favorite role yet because I get to hear from so many educators and students and see the positive impact of placing technology into the classroom.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
I struggled personally and professionally in one of my first jobs to close a manufacturing plant and lay off hundreds of people. It was a very stressful role and I struggled to stay positive and hit the project goals. We successfully met the project timelines but more importantly, we were able to work with employees to connect them with incentives to get advanced training and even go back to college for free as part of labor and workforce grants. So many people transitioned to jobs in healthcare and other specialized fields that they wanted to be in long term. I heard from many employees about the positive impact the incentives had on their life. It was a very challenging time with the personal aspects of the role, but I learned a lot about listening, patience, and empathy that I will never forget.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
Enjoy the experiences. I actually got this advice from a stranger on a plane early on that saw me pounding away on a PowerPoint presentation. Instead of talking and enjoying the airplane views, I was frantically finishing work and oblivious to the people, cities, and culture around the world I was getting the opportunity to see courtesy of Siemens. Travel and work, in general, can be stressful, but the experiences along the way can be rewarding as well.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering