Trecia Campbell-Sharpe – An Engineering Powerhouse – All Woman
WHEN Trecia Campbell first produced electricity using a circuit in her high school physics class, something sparked in her mind as well. She realized that she absolutely enjoyed the process of turning an idea into a real, tangible solution to improve life. So, with excellent grades in physics and mathematics, limited knowledge of careers in the field, and a strong determination to excel, she graduated from Immaculate Conception High School and embarked on a career as an engineer.
“It was mind-blowing,” said Campbell-Sharpe, an engineer with Red Stripe for 18 years. All the women on the occasion of the International Day of Women in Engineering last Wednesday. “I fell in love with electricity, so I said if I had to do any form of engineering, the best option for me would have been electricity.”
It also contributed to the fact that despite the generally lower enrollment rate of women in post-secondary engineering programs, other female students also seemed to prefer this field.
“It was one of the engineering departments where I felt more comfortable as a woman, because I had more female colleagues in electrical engineering,” she explained. “While male students still dominated in most areas, it could easily have been a 50:50 ratio in electives in electricity. I felt more at home and it was easier to navigate.
After graduating from the University of South Florida (USF) in 2002, the young woman had high hopes of finding her place in a large engineering firm in the United States. It proved extremely difficult for her as an international student, however, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“They weren’t really hiring a lot of engineering non-nationals, so I worked wherever we hired – Target, Express – just to make ends meet,” she recalls. “I even moved from Florida to Washington, DC, to see if I could find better opportunities in another state.”
The opportunity that presented itself – to come home and take an engineering internship program at Red Stripe – was not the one she had been looking forward to at the time, but it was back to the wall. With her student visa about to expire, she booked her one-way flight to Jamaica and decided that she would rather think about her future at home than stay too long in America.
“When the internship ended after a few months, I was offered a permanent position as a junior electrical engineer,” she recalls with a smile. “A few years later, I became a reliability engineer, then I became a special projects coordinator. “
While the practical worker was initially reluctant to venture into the field of project management, she soon realized that she liked it very much, as she now had the power to help all the small projects in her life. engineering to come together. Her manager encouraged her to become a certified project manager, and she did. She has been a Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2011. Today, she is a CAPEX (Capital Expenditure) Project Engineer and one of the two women engineers at Red Stripe.
“The heart of my job is making sure that when my speaker has an idea, by the time I finish the project, the idea should have come to life,” she explained.
In order to achieve these business-enhancing deliverables, however, Campbell-Sharpe had to learn to deliver ideas, instructions, and reports in such a way that they didn’t get lost in translation.
“Given the nature of my job, my stakeholders are men and my subcontractors tend to be men, so it often happens that I am the only woman at a project meeting,” she said. declared. “Being the one with the highest pitch voice in the room, I had to learn to make sure that what I said was not heard – not to try to yell or talk to someone else, but to speak with confidence and embody the role of being a leader on a project.
Being in such a practical field means Campbell-Sharpe doesn’t just have to talk; she must also walk the promenade.
“I find that I also have to walk around with a certain level of confidence, because when I show up on a construction site, as a woman, unless people already know me, no one will assume that I am responsible,” he said. she declared. “And when I’m in a position where I need to challenge these men, I have to be able to challenge them from a position of knowledge, so I do my homework and surround myself with capable people to support me on projects that don’t. are not mine. niche area.
It can be a challenge at times, especially when she also has to consider the needs of her 11-year-old daughter and her husband, but the new challenges are exactly what keeps Campbell-Sharpe interested in her job.
“One of the reasons I’m still at Red Stripe is that our business is still growing. There are so many opportunities to bring things to life, and it’s hard to get bored when every project is different, ”she beamed. “It’s a win-win situation – the business wants to grow and I like to be part of the process. I’m still excited to see what we’re going to do next.
She is also anxious to see the rest of her life. She firmly believes in Jeremiah 29:11, which speaks of God’s plan for her life.
“Every three years I make sure my project management certification is up to date, so that’s good, but I also plan to go back to my first love of the roots of electrical engineering in the next few years, just to have that solid foundation with project management, as well as the technical parts of it as a combination of my offering in Jamaica, ”she shared.