Nexus IE is getting involved in the celebration of International Women in Engineering Day #INWED17 on June 23rd. We couldn’t think of a better way to support the message of encouraging young people and women into a male dominated industry than by introducing you to some inspiring females who are doing just that. Having already met the individual members of all girl robotics team, Girls of Steel and engineering graduate, Laura we are now going to find out a bit more about Julie Dean, MD of Nexus IE. Originally from Derby, Julie shares a bit more about herself outside of her Nexus IE role

First up a little bit about you Julie, if you don’t mind sharing!
I am married with a son and now a grandson. My husband and I moved into our current house two years ago and are busy decorating and gardening; both of which I enjoy very much. Like most people I enjoy going on holiday and seeing new places, this feeds another passion for scuba diving.

Our first interviewee Laura also mentioned she enjoys scuba diving! Must be something in the water… (no?) So can you tell us a bit more about your role in the realms of engineering?
Although I am not an Engineer, I worked for many years in the automotive sector and have been with The Innomech Group for ten years. I am always fascinated when customers come to talk to us about their new projects; they are all specialists in their fields, very knowledgeable about their areas of expertise. I learn so much about things that you don’t ever necessarily come across in normal daily life.

My role within our organisation is largely to do with planning and organising workload and resources. I am always forward thinking with a busy schedule and lots of customers to manage. This ranges from planning a production schedule, concerned as to whether we have enough people, space, tools etc, to responding to customer requests for maintenance visits and breakdowns. I am supported by a great team who provide first line responses to customer requests and issues. Our customers are spread around the world in Europe, America and Asia, so we are always mindful of time zones and trying to give a timely response to questions. I once had a conference call very early one morning because there were participants in West Coast USA and Japan – glad it wasn’t a video call.

I bet you were! Well that is great customer service for you right there. Hope you managed a cup of coffee before hand. So what keeps you motivated?
What motivates me is a job well done and happy customers. We sometimes face very challenging situations and pressured timelines.

That can be tough but the Nexus IE team have got that covered! We’d like to ask you, do you think that engineering is recognised as a male dominated field and do you think engineering has an image problem?
Yes, engineering is male dominated, but that is slowly changing. I think that over our recent history gender stereotyping of children is largely responsible for the types of work that men and women were positioned for; in my early working career, you very rarely saw male nurses or women bus drivers for instance. When I was in the automotive world and even now at some events there would be just a handful of women in a sea of men. The good thing was they are the only times I haven’t had to queue for the toilet.

That being the case even though during the second world war women did all the jobs that men did whilst they were away fighting, including working in foundries and farming. The technological advancements seen in the last 30 years have revolutionised much of the engineering landscape and although the maths & physics do not change, the skills required now for programming for instance are equally as appealing to both sexes. Seeing a machine operated by software code using sensors and cameras, waiting for signals is a fascinating thing.

What does International Women in Engineering Day mean to you?
I think it gives the sector the opportunity to appeal to the next generation and women already working to make a career change. There are some amazing role models and many more than you may think.

Why do you think it is important to encourage woman into engineering roles?
I don’t necessarily think women should be encouraged into engineering, they should just be opened up to the opportunities and to know that it can provide a rewarding and interesting career.

Do you have any advice for women looking to follow a career in engineering?
Just do it. I am a not an advocate of making women a special case. I think that having specific women’s groups or quotas is not the way forward.

In my working career, I have mainly worked in male dominated environments, I have never let the fact that I am a woman stop me from doing anything. On the contrary, it has made me a bit more determined and work a little bit harder. I have also been lucky enough to work for some inspiring leaders who gave me the opportunity to progress, they were men by the way.

You have raised some very interesting points Julie. Thanks for taking the time to share some of your thoughts for International Women in Engineering Day.

Well that’s a wrap for our #INWED17 mini interview series. You can look back at the the interviews here right here.

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