FY19 SWE President Penny Wirsing on Giving Back to SWE

SWE could not function without the tremendous leadership and generosity of the Board of Directors and we are pleased to feature a few of their personal reasons for giving back to SWE through this short blog series!
FY19 SWE President Penny Wirsing on Giving Back to SWE

In preparing for incoming Leadership teams to step into their various roles and lead the organization into SWE’s FY19 (7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019), we wanted to take a moment to thank the most recent past Board of Directors for their tremendous leadership, volunteer service, and generosity to the organization through their personal stewardship.

In addition to providing the invaluable service of volunteer leadership to SWE, all SWE Board of Directors and Leaders are encouraged to contribute to SWE each year. These donations are both a vote of confidence in SWE’s capacity to fulfill its mission and provide vital support for the organization.

SWE could not function without the tremendous leadership and generosity of the Board of Directors and we are pleased to feature a few of their personal reasons for giving back to SWE through this short blog series!

Name: Penny Wirsing
FY18 Title: President-Elect (FY19 President)

How and why do you donate to SWE?

I’ve served on a number of Boards, and I understand the value in being able to state that allBoard members financially support the organization. I’m fortunate that I have access to an employer program whereby they donate money to non-profits when I volunteer a certain number of hours, but in the past I’ve also donated a portion of my reimbursement toward the Board giving program.

In looking at this past year, can you share one or two of your favorite ways you have seen SWE strive to fulfill its mission?

I’m excited about the changes we’ve made and are continuing to make to streamline things and create more meaningful leadership experiences for our volunteers. It’s also fantastic to see how SWE is being recognized as a leader around the world.

What words of encouragement do you have for the FY19 Board of Directors and SWE Leaders around giving back to SWE?

I’ve learned that it tends to make the leader-organization ties stronger when people are financially ‘invested’. Give as much or as little as you’re comfortable with, but donate something!

About Penny

Penny Wirsing, F.SWE, has had a noteworthy career in environmental regulatory compliance in the oil and gas industry, from Exxon Mobil Corporation, a major integrated oil company, to PBF Energy, a merchant refining company. She is currently an environmental manager for the Torrance Refining Company LLC in Southern California, where she manages a team of environmental engineers responsible for ensuring the refinery’s compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. As a single mother, Wirsing earned her B.S. in civil engineering with honors from Michigan State University, and went on to obtain her MBA from the University of Washington.

An engaged member of SWE since she was a collegian at Michigan State, Wirsing became a life member in 1990. She has held numerous leadership roles at the local, region, and Society levels, leading several task forces and serving as Society treasurer and director of strategic initiatives. She was recognized for her accomplishments by SWE in 2007 when she became a SWE Fellow. In 2015 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan State University College of Civil Engineering.

Wirsing is involved in her community, serving on the board of directors for Pediatric Therapy Network, a nonprofit organization that provides services to children with special needs. She is a member of Soroptimist International, an international volunteer organization of business and professional women whose mission is to improve the lives of women and girls throughout the world. Wirsing lives in Redondo Beach, California, with her husband, Rick, and both are active members of the American Homebrewers Association.

Penny is serving as the FY19 President of the Society of Women Engineers, having finished her term as President-Elect in FY18.