We interviewed Jessica, our HVAC Project Engineer, to find out more about her career as an engineer and life as a working mom of two.

Q: Hi Jessica! Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

A: Sure! I am a wife and mom of two children (a two year old and a three year old). I am pretty outdoorsy and enjoy yard work, fishing, boating, sporting clays and camping. We try to do a lot of these activities with our kids…so that definitely keeps these hobbies interesting!

Q: When you aren’t doing family activities, what do you like to do for fun?

A: I love to bake.  Although baking while the kids are around means I typically end up either overcooking or under cooking just about everything these days. I also love crafts, sewing, and woodwork. Our family does a big charity auction every year and I paint some items for that as well.

Q: Sounds like you wear a lot of different hats. What does a typical day look like for you?

A: Well, I get up at 5 am every morning to get ready. Then my kids are up by 6 am and then it’s packing every one up to get to daycare and starting laundry before I leave. Then it’s work until lunch when I head home to let the dog out and switch the laundry over. Then back to work again before evening comes and it’s picking up the kids, dinner, baths, and a little bit of time with the hubs before bed.

Q: Wow! How are you able to balance everything at home with everything for your career?

A:  One thing I love about Bassett is that it really is a family-feel across the board.  We have really great supportive managers, teams, and people here.  It is a great environment to be able to balance both and I am really proud I’m able to be a working mom and yet somehow pull it all together at the end of the day.

Q: It sounds like you are passionate about your role as a mom and also your career as an engineer. How long have you worked at Bassett?

A:  I’ve been with Bassett for about 10 ½ months in the HVAC Project Engineering role which means I engineer projects including heating, ventilating, air conditioning, industrial vent, chilled water systems, boiler systems etc.

Q: When did you know you had a passion for engineering?

A: Not until my second year of college. I wanted to be an architect so I went to Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) for architectural engineering. With that program they teach you architecture, structure, electrical, HVAC and plumbing.  Junior year it was very clear that I loved HVAC and plumbing and proceeded with that as my specialty.

Q: Did you have any engineering influences as you were growing up?

A: My dad is a building inspector and we flipped homes when I was a kid. That “drive” came from my experiences with those kinds of projects as a child. We were always on a construction site fixing something and problem solving. We even built a house when I was in 5th grade. Every night was a trip to Menards.

I am proud to be a working mom and glad to work for a company who knows my need to balance both.

Q: Did you encounter any challenges on your journey to becoming an engineer?

A: School was not easy, I had to work really hard and apply myself. On the day I graduated college my parents were so proud of me. They saw how hard I worked to get to graduation. I found the right professors in college who worked with me and that really helped too. MSOE has a great degree that is so specific that you can get out of school and straight into a job with little training. But I did have to spend a few years proving myself and showing others that I wasn’t just the “newbie” on the job site.

Q: If you could go back and do it all over again, would you choose Engineering?

A: I definitely would. I love what I do.  I have gotten to travel around the country and see so many things I would never have been able to see.  Have you seen how they make rolled plastics? Or toilet paper? It is fascinating! Because of this role I have been in foundries, plastic facilities, paper mills, healthcare, office buildings- I get to see every bit of how things work. These are priceless experiences that I would have never been able to witness otherwise.  I am proud of the accomplishments that I make and things I create. At the end of a project it’s nice to stand back and say “wow, I did that”!

A: It is one of those careers that no one thinks of. You have a thermostat, but do you ever think of where the heat comes from? This is a very rewarding career because you are not only able to help people with their HVAC problems but also keep production running or keep people comfortable. I love problem solving, researching, digging through old equations and new equations or working on a solution with a coworker. Every day is something new and you feel like I’m growing on a daily basis.

Q: What makes your role different from other jobs?

A: If we engineer something improperly- it could be incredibly dangerous or hazardous. Our job is serious. You come up against challenges that could potentially cause harm and we need to absolutely do things the correct way to make sure our customers and their people are safe. We play a very important role behind the scenes.

Q: What makes your career at Bassett different from others?

A: We have a phenomenal team. I love the experience and background that everyone has. Our manager is a huge asset as well and helps provide for a collaborative team approach to solving our customer’s problems. We can sit down with everyone’s different expertise, work together, and support each other to find a solution. We combine all of our backgrounds to take care of the customer as best we can. Even coworkers outside our team are always willing to jump in and help problem solve.

Q: At the end of the day, how do you feel about the balance you have achieved both personally and professionally?

A: As much as you want more time with your kids, having a great career makes you value the time you have with them all the more. I am proud to be a working mom and glad to work for a company who knows my need to balance both. I wouldn’t have it any other way!