Regional Sales Manager – WAGO Corporation
Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering
Minor in Business Management
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Michelle realized early on that the time studies and ergonomics of Industrial Engineering wasn’t going to be fulfilling enough for her – too much alone time and she is more social than that. So she entered the work force from college as an applications engineer for drives / motor control products, where she held various positions. Then she moved to WAGO , where she was a product manager for over 10 years, and now in outside sales for coming up on 5 years.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
WAGO offers opportunity for growth in so many areas for our employees. We’ve had customer service move to product management, product support move to training manager, and my personal story of moving to an outside sales manager position. It is definitely an inclusive atmosphere with low turn-over. We also offer a flexible work environment so that you can have a family and a career.
Describe a recent company project (in which you were involved) that went particularly well. How did you and your team go about ensuring success?
A recent project I worked on was with our Custom Engineering team to save my customer wiring time, and create a harness terminal block assembly to remote I/O connector. They were having trouble getting help in the plant, so this solution saved them so much valuable assembly time. One of our in-house engineers, assisted with the project, and after a Teams meeting with our customer she was able to make some significant time-saving suggestions.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
I actually selected engineering as college major from a high-school career assessment test. Although, I discovered early that the Industrial Engineering field was not for me, one of my college professors convinced me to continue on. She informed me that many employers want a 4-yr technical degree, so they know the employee is technically minded and trainable. I quickly transitioned into more of an electrical field, but have enjoyed it ever since.
Describe your biggest career challenge. How did you solve it — or what was the outcome or lesson learned?
About 5 years ago, I felt like I was becoming complacent in my job. I could handle the responsibilities in less than 40 hours/week, as I had been in the role for over 10 years. I was making good money and good at my job, but wanted more. Initially, I didn’t see a clear path for advancement within the company, and struggled with what was next for me. I discussed a sales position with our VP of Sales as I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be a good fit. He helped me overcome my concerns, and really convinced me to go for it. I am loving the new challenges and experiences of this sales role.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to keep working hard, pushing forward, and believing in yourself. But also be patient! At times with a young family, traveling, motivated to grow and climb the ladder, but yet still trying to balance it all I was super overwhelmed. However, it all worked out and sometimes the timing is just meant to be.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering