Our Industry Person of the Week is Lena Yazbak, Project Engineer at Revere Control Systems.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Lena: When I first started college, I was going into pre-med to be a doctor. Sometime after my first year in college I felt like I wanted to go into something more challenging and interesting to me. I had felt extremely interested in computer and software engineering for quite some time. Luckily, the university I graduated from offers an electrical engineering degree that covers all electrical and computer engineering subsets. After taking the intro engineering classes, I fell in love with electrical engineering and realized how much I loved programming, math, and problem-solving. It just felt right. It became clear to me three years ago that automation and controls was blowing up quickly and decided to find a job in the field. I started working at Revere Control Systems around 2020 as an electrical technician and graduated college May 2021 and became an engineer at the company.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Lena: I work in the industrial department so I am always doing something different. I love learning something new everyday and frequently solving problems. The best and most unexplainable feeling in the world is looking at a panel, retrofit design, or program that I worked on and going out to the field, starting it up, and watching how the process works. There’s something satisfying about looking at something you designed or programmed and watching it work at a plant and being like, “Hey. I did that!”.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Lena: For any new engineer: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, ask questions, and learn as much as you can from senior engineers. Now is the time to soak up as much information as you can and learn from your mistakes.
For any new or pursuing female engineer: It’ll take a while to build your confidence up but don’t give up. I’ve found that constantly learning and being curious gives me something that reminds me of why I love electrical engineering, even if I’m not surrounded by many women or any at all.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Lena: My most recent project was doing a Bottling Tank upgrade for Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN. Their existing system they used for their bottling process used an existing PLC-5. We did a PLC-5 to ControlLogix Upgrade for this panel. This involved converting an old RSLogix5 program to Studio 5000 v33, providing them with updated drawings including a new network diagram for updated Ethernet communications to the processor and DH/RIO communication to remote SLC racks. I also updated their existing HMI programs after this conversion was complete. There was about a two-week long start-up for this project just last month (December 2022). It was pretty cool to watch operators test the process out by trying to fill up several tanks with whiskey and learning the controls and process portion at a whiskey distillery.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Lena: For the few years, I’ve dealt with being the only female in engineering classes full of maybe thirty guys and was the only woman in my graduating class. This carried on to my career, as I was also the only female engineer at my company (Not including another location) for quite some time until my engineering group manager joined our group. There’s an overall shortage of female engineers in general, but specifically in EE for some reason. Luckily, it’s getting much better lately. It goes both ways… For female engineers: Empower your fellow female engineer colleagues and your male colleagues. For male engineers: Don’t forget to give credit to a fellow female engineer/student where it’s due. You never know when they might need to hear it.
Connect with Lena on LinkedIn.