This month, we’re celebrating International Women in Engineering Day. The June 23rd holiday got its start in 2014, 95 years after the Women’s Engineering Society was founded in the United Kingdom. The day was founded to raise international awareness of the achievements made by women engineers.
We sat down with Sierra Space’s Vice President of Engineering, Pat Remias, to learn about her career pathway to her position now, her advice to young women looking to become engineers and what International Women in Engineering Day means to her.
You’re the Vice President Of Engineering at Sierra Space- were you hired for that position or did you work your way up to it?
When I joined Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) in 2010, I was hired to lead the spacecraft product line. We were just starting the integration of the 18-satellite Orbcomm Generation 2 (OG2) constellation, which launched in 2014 and 2015, and also building the business to include near-space missions and more government customers. I managed that team until 2018, when I became the Vice President of Engineering. I’ve loved both my jobs at SNC/Sierra Space!
How did you decide you wanted to be an engineer?
I really enjoyed science and math-related classes in high school, and engineering seemed like a great fit. My dad was an early-phase IT professional, traveling the world installing mainframes in the 70’s, and encouraged me to go into a technical field. I still love the idea of taking great ideas and turning them into reality – which is what engineers do.
Where did you go to school for your engineering degree? Do you think it helped with your success?
I studied engineering at Virginia Tech (VT) – Go Hokies! VT has a terrific aerospace engineering program and offered so many hands-on design/build/fly projects, which was my first experience working in multi-disciplinary teams. I also love Virginia Tech’s motto, which is ‘Ut Prosim’, translated to ‘That I May Serve’ – the idea of service is deeply embedded in VT’s culture.
What is your favorite thing about engineering?
I love seeing teams work together to accomplish amazing things. Sierra Space builds systems that explore our solar system, improve life on earth and pave the way for human space exploration. I am so grateful to be part of this extraordinary engineering community!
What kind of advice do you have for women interested in an engineering career?
Engineering can be an incredibly rewarding career, and many studies have proven that diverse companies are more successful. For anyone interested in an engineering career, I’d offer these thoughts:
- Build a network of teachers, mentors and peers. Sierra Space has a great mentoring program.
- Say yes to opportunities that come your way, even if they feel like a stretch.
- Build on your strengths. If you’re a great designer or analyst, go for those challenges. If you’re a strong communicator, use those skills. We need them all to succeed.
- Give back. Help your next generation learn and grow.
What does International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) mean to you?
INWED is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women engineers, encourage engineering as a career, and promote gender diversity and equality in the workplace. SNC and Sierra Space have some exciting events coming for this community – look for more information soon!
Interested in joining the Sierra Space team? Apply today at /careers.