Name: Pam Dingman
How long have you been a SWE member? 24 years
Current Title and Company: Entrepreneur, Founder at Engineering Design Consultants
HQ: What prompted you to join SWE?
PD: I really needed to find a mentor and wanted to network with other women engineers.
HQ: How has SWE helped to shape your career?
PD: SWE has given me the ability to seek advice and support from other women engineers.
HQ: What prompted you to open up your own engineering business?
PD: I was tired of hearing that I was not ready or not qualified for the next level. I knew that I could do it.
HQ: What first got you interested in engineering?
PD: I grew up at the bottom of a hill, I always enjoyed watching the water rise during storms.
HQ: What is your experience as an engineer?
PD: I have worked in manufacturing, consulting, and in government. All areas have been different but great experiences. I think it is important as engineers that we do not get boxed in to one area.
I really enjoy my current role as an elected county engineer. This role has given me the ability to work with a wide range of people from farmers to high level elected officials. County roads and bridges are important to some many people this role has given me the opportunity to interact daily with the people who use the roads and bridges. This is a great way to show people what engineering is all about.
HQ: What are the challenges and triumphs you’ve experienced, faced and overcome as a female engineer?
PD: When I became county engineer I was often mistaken for an administrative person. Once a gentleman from the public even asked me if it was a joke when I introduced myself as the county engineer.
HQ: How do you personally advocate for women engineers?
PD: I invest a lot of time with youth groups doing tours of our facilities, I think it is important for girls to see women in engineering and leadership. However, I believe it is equally important for boys to see women being engineers and leaders because advocacy needs to have 360 degree view. I also spend a lot of time in the community talking about the importance of gender diversity and representation.
HQ: What is your current and/or previous roles and responsibilities with SWE?
PD: Current – Special Senator, Past – Section President, Treasurer, and a lot of committees.
HQ: And what was your favorite role and why?
PD: My favorite was Section President it gave me the opportunity to work with a group of local women on a number of very important projects such as a regional conference, youth based engineering events and several local meetings. What I did not realize at the time was how much my leadership grew during my term as President. I learned a lot about working with people and the core of leading people. I have been able to draw on these experiences when leading, even today.
HQ: What are you most excited about for your 2016 career as an engineer?
PD: I am excited to continue my role as an elected engineer, it has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of diversity in engineering.
HQ: What are you most looking forward to at WE16?
PD: I am so excited for the next generation of engineers; they will have greater opportunities to change the world than any other generation. It is so great to get to interact with so many of them.
HQ: If you could give yourself one piece of advice to yourself when you first started your career, what would it be? PD: When I first started, I was terrified of failing; and I let that fear really stress me out. I would tell myself not to worry so much. Everybody fails and gets knocked to the ground once in a while; and the failure doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you get back off the ground and try again. (By the way I am still terrified of failing.)