Lisa Auffrey, Power Systems Sales Engineer, Sager Electronics
Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering/Management Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Master of Arts Degree, Business Management, Harvard University
Lisa is an engineering professional with more than 30 years of industry experience. After graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she started her career as a Quality Assurance Engineer with BAE Systems in Nashua, NH where she spent three years in a manufacturing environment before moving to an applications role. From there, she made the switch into sales in the power magnetics industry before beginning a 20-year run with Norris & Associates, a Manufacturer’s Associate in the Northeast working with some of the leading power, thermal, and sensor manufacturers in the industry. She continued her career at Warner Power, establishing a Manufacturers Rep network for the company. She spent three years at Warner before moving back into the electronics industry with a sales engineer position at Omron Electronic Components. In April of 2017, she joined Sager Electronics as a Power Systems Engineer in the company’s specialized group, Sager Power Systems, where she focuses on solving power, thermal, and battery issues at OEMs. In addition to her Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, she possesses a Masters in Management from Harvard University. She has three children and resides outside of Boston where in her spare time she enjoys gardening, golf, wine tastings, and social events with friends.
Talk about the culture at your company. What makes it inclusive or supportive of women in engineering and automation?
When I entered the industry there were few women in roles like mine. Thanks to efforts encouraging young women to enter STEM over the last decade or so, there are now many more of us. Women in Electronics and other organizations that have arisen as a result have ensured this trend will continue.
Sager and the TTI Family of Specialists (FOS) promote women’s advancement evident by the numbers of women in key management, director-level, and senior executive roles. The FOS is the first global sponsor of Women in Electronics, a community dedicated to the professional and personal development of women in the electronics industry, and is an active supporter of the industry associations, ECIA and ERA, and their various development, training, and educational programs including Spark. Additionally, the FOS sponsors both STEM programs and FIRST Robotics at different levels across the educational spectrum.
In my role as a Power Systems Sales Engineer (PSE), I work closely with customers in the design and selection of either a standard or custom solution, while also exercising my organizational, project management and negotiation skills. As a woman in my chosen profession, I also have the opportunity to influence not only my colleagues at Sager, but those outside of the organization. I’d like to think I am doing my small part to advance women in engineering roles.
Describe a recent company project (in which you were involved) that went particularly well. How did you and your team go about ensuring success?
The Sager marketing, sales, and Power Systems teams work in tandem to ensure we are supporting our customers. The recent extension of lead times for electronic components has added complexity to providing newly designed products to our customers. We were working with a customer on a design opportunity that involved a product newly introduced to the market. This was a customized solution requiring design creativity and resourcefulness in order to meet the customer’s prototype schedule. The team worked together, concentrating in their areas of expertise to secure raw materials for the build, and successfully deliver the prototype on schedule and to specification. It is quite satisfying to come together as a team, meet a customer’s requirement and develop a solution that helps bring a new application to the marketplace.
What first drew you to engineering and this industry?
My father was a structural engineer, exposing me to engineering from a young age. My strengths were in math and science (STEM as it’s called in today’s world); therefore, an engineering degree seemed logical. Originally I started out as a Civil Engineering major, but realized I could not see in the third dimension; so designing bridges was probably not a good idea and I refocused my education on electrical and management engineering.
Working as a Power Systems Engineer is a great use of my skills, experience, and education. I have the opportunity to utilize my technical background, my education, and work experience, and combine it with my interpersonal skills. I frequently apply my negotiation techniques while still taking into account the specific requirements of my customers. Many of the engineers at my key accounts view me as their trusted advisor, knowing and trusting I have the best solutions in mind for their applications.
What career advice would you give to your younger self?
To my younger self as well as younger female engineering students, I would encourage them to explore all of their options. The opportunity for women in the engineering field is limitless. An engineering degree certainly opens many doors for employment, but it is up to you to take full advantage of what a company has to offer. Pursuit of a graduate degree is essential, and I would recommend finishing earlier than I did! If possible, complete your technical master’s program, as this will move you head and shoulders above your co-workers. As a young engineer at BAE, I had started my MSEE, but did not get very far. In retrospect, I wished I had completed this course of study, and then pursued my Master’s in Management.
Filed Under: Women in Engineering