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AB&I recently concluded its celebration of women in the industry. To support this celebration, PHCPPros highlighted some of AB&I’s own strong women. Following is our last strong woman interview in this series with Denise Joe, a project engineer in the Engineering Group at AB&I Foundry.
PHCPPros: Why did you decide to enter a career in manufacturing plumbing products?
Joe: My entire career has been in manufacturing in various industries. Plumbing manufacturing intrigued me since it was something completely out of my previous experiences and I could see the potential for improvements in many aspects.
PHCPPros: How did your path lead you to a manufacturer of plumbing products?
Joe: My previous experience in semiconductor and automotive manufacturing, coincidently brought me to the Bay Area. When I was looking for a change, this job piqued my interest because it was a completely different industry. An industry I knew nothing about yet produced a product that is vital to the infrastructure of this country. I knew I had to check it out and it has been quite an accelerated learning experience with plenty of personal and professional growth opportunities.
PHCPPros: Can you explain duties with AB&I Foundry?
Joe: I have been working at AB&I for over two years in the engineering group. Our group handles a variety of projects that are improvements or are necessary for the foundry. For example, within recent years the OSHA requirement for permissible exposure levels for Silica got more stringent. Some previous and new areas tested high and I was tasked with developing a plan to address the high exposure areas. Many corrective actions were set in place and several of them have been completed with a noticeable difference to date. Testing will be conducted to measure the effectiveness of our corrective actions and the additional measures we will have to take to continue to address Silica exposure levels.
PHCPPros: Have you had any women in the PHCP industry mentor you along the way?
Joe: I have had many mentors throughout my career because of the importance and the insight gained. Mentorship was ingrained in me when I started my career at IBM and it has been very valuable for my personal and professional growth. I have had several women as mentors, especially those who have been in industry longer than me. They have guided me in many ways and through various career decisions. I am a strong supporter of mentorship and encourage multiple mentors, so you can get insight from several perspectives.
PHCPPros: Have you ever mentored other women in industry?
Joe: Yes, I have had several mentees throughout my career, and I find it to be a rewarding experience. It is an opportunity to collaborate and discuss challenges or provide encouragement. Throughout our careers, we are often faced with decisions that can change the course of our careers and sometimes we need that nudge or vote of confidence to step up to challenging roles or decisions.
PHCPPros: What words of wisdom do you have for other women in the industry or those who are considering a career in PHCP?
Joe: Your career is what you make it and it should be a journey of constant growth and learning. Do not be afraid of change or exploring the abundance of opportunity that is available. Stay true to your personal and professional integrity. Have fun because your career path can take you many places and introduce you to many people along the way. Make a personal goal to get involved in outreach programs that promote science and engineering to aspiring minorities and young women.