Kristen Copeland Moore
igus Territory Sales Manager
Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics and Master’s in business administration with a specialization in sales, University of Alabama
Kristen started her collegiate career at The University of Alabama majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics. She was also a participant in the STEM program which meant that while she was working towards her bachelor’s degree, she was simultaneously pursuing a master’s in business administration. Every summer of college she had various mechanical engineering internships with companies such as Project Design Group, Austal USA and Airbus Americas Engineering. Throughout her internships, her responsibilities and roles progressed. She started with creating AutoCAD drawings with PDG and then she went on to performing walk down inspections on Navy Littoral Combat Ships and Joint High-Speed Vessels at Austal USA to assisting with designs and testing with the Auxiliary Parts and Flooring Team at Airbus.
While she thoroughly enjoyed her internships, it was these experiences that made her realize her passion is helping people solve problems on a day-to-day basis. This is what attracted her to the field of engineering sales and ultimately led her to choosing sales as her specialization while obtaining her MBA. Since graduating college, she has worked as an outside technical sales representative and a territory sales manager for igus for the last four years. This position has allowed her to combine her love of engineering with her passion of helping customers find solutions and design innovative equipment using our products.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
igus has a very welcoming culture and they are not afraid to take a risk on atypical employees. At the time I was hired, I was the first female outside technical sales representative for our energy chain and cable management division. When I interviewed for the role, our upper management made me aware that I would be the first female in this position, but they informed me that if I was up for the job, they thought I would be a great fit. In a male dominated field, I am grateful that igus was prepared to step outside of the box when offering me the job and they have continued to support me every step of the way.
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 recently had a customer that was using our cable management system for a plasma table. Our product was originally designed in many years ago by a third-party engineering company and it was not designed per our specifications. This led to frequent failures of our product that was causing the customer expensive downtime. Through various meetings with myself, my regional manager, and our industry manager, we were able to demonstrate to the customer how our newly proposed solution would differ from their current cable management system. It took several different meetings and proposals to ultimately regain the customer’s trust in not only our products but our capabilities as well. We were even able to take things one step above from just offering them products and provided the customer with a turnkey installed system. Since we installed our system two years ago, the customer has seen no downtime which has also restored their confidence in our products and our company as a whole.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
From a young age, I always had a passion for mathematics and problem-solving. In high school, I doubled up in math classes each year so I could take every math class that my high school had to offer. I knew I wanted to do something in the engineering field and when I learned about how broad the degree of mechanical engineering was and how it offered me the most opportunities, I knew that was the field that I wanted to major in. My engineering degree has helped me to relate to my customers as an engineering sales representative and to gain their confidence when discussing proposed projects and solutions.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
My overall biggest career challenge has been gaining the respect of maintenance managers and engineers who have been doing their jobs longer than I have been alive. Some customers are sometimes reluctant to take constructive criticism from me and would sometimes push back on my recommendations. Ultimately this taught me to enter meetings with even more confidence than I normally would and not to back down from my recommendations. I must trust that I am the product expert in my field and that I have something positive to offer my customers. What originally began as a challenge in my career now has transformed me into a more confident sales engineer.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
The best advice that I would give to my younger self is to enter the workforce with more confidence and to trust that I am better equipped than I realize. Doubting your capabilities and your worth in any position ultimately only does you more harm than good. Letting people doubt you should only add more fuel to the fire in a desire to prove them wrong instead of letting their doubts hold of you back.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering