Women of Cimetrics: How We Got Here and Where We’re Going
Cimetrics is a 30-year world leader and innovator in the field of physical world analytics and is a supplier of cybersecurity and networking technology for automation systems in buildings and facilities. Cimetrics’ building analytics solution, Analytika, is a cloud-based platform that identifies opportunities to reduce energy consumption, improve tenant health and comfort, manage asset lifecycle, and address corporate compliance.
Cimetrics has been a pioneer in attracting women to this industry. It was one of the rare companies in this field with a woman COO and one of the first companies to offer a flexible work arrangement for new mothers. It is not surprising that these women have worked for Cimetrics for an average of 12 years!
Women comprised almost half of the total US labor force in 2019 and have earned more than half of all professional degrees for several years. This is quite a change from a few decades ago. In 1950, just over 30 percent of women aged 16 to 64 worked outside the home, while over 80 percent of men in the same age group did. While the percent of women in the workforce is equalizing, there remains a disparity in the job distribution. As of 2015, less than 10% of mechanical engineers identified as female. Similarly, at the management level, only 10% of engineering managers identified as female.
This Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8th), Cimetrics celebrates the women working for the company: Hadas Webb, Managing Director of Analytics; Julianne Rhoads, Senior Analyst & Brand Ambassador; and Svetlana Lyons, PMP, Project/Product Manager.
Let’s meet some of the amazing women of Cimetrics and learn what they do for the company, their experiences as women in technology, how they got to where they are, and what advice they have.
Hadas Webb, CEM, Managing Director of Analytics
As Managing Director of Analytics, I have both client-facing and team management responsibilities. As a team leader, one of my most important tasks is to empower my team to succeed. This includes exploring creative solutions, delegating, and instilling confidence to resolve conflict and dive into unfamiliar territory, all while being mindful of the company’s strategic vision and available resources.
I work with our account executives and senior analysts to ensure we successfully meet client goals such energy efficiency & resilience, reliability, wellness, occupant comfort, and customer satisfaction. I collaborate with the software development team to plan and integrate new Analytika products and analyst tools, with a focus on market demand, cost and quality improvements, and alignment with corporate vision. I liaise with utility providers and government organizations to promote initiatives and incentive programs that support new and existing clients secure funding for energy efficiency projects.
Svetlana, Julianne and I work together on our Analytika marketing efforts to develop and distribute content through industry publications, partner organizations, and social media, to submit nominations on behalf of Cimetrics and its clients for industry awards, and to promote and deliver conference and webinar presentations.
I am a leader because another woman leader saw a leader in me before I did and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. As it turned out, I have enjoyed every moment, learned new skills, and contributed in new and rewarding ways to the growth of the company. It also taught me the importance of building a network of strong women. Now that I am in a leadership position, I hope to inspire other women to see the talent that lies within them. I’m a chapter Lead for the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL), a division of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) that supports the role of women in the energy and environmental industries. I’m a member of Women in Climate Tech, which aims to empower and amplify the voices of women and non-binary individuals in the field. Through the New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE), I participated in a mentorship program with a senior leader, which provided me with tools and inspiration to continue to improve.
I’m an engineer at heart so I’m passionate about bringing concepts and ideas to fruition. In my days as a mechanical engineer, that meant building and improving tangible items. As a manager, it means launching and evaluating programs, improving processes and workflows, and taking an analytical approach to guide operational decisions and project assessment.
Bonus question: What advice do you have about raising the next generation of engineers and leaders?
As a parent of two boys, I believe strongly that we need to teach boys the value of qualities that were traditionally considered female traits, such as empathy and communication, just as much as we need to teach girls the skills that were traditional considered male. Combining technical prowess with moving messaging is a powerful path for engaging clients and building passionate teams.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all that there are times in life when we will need to make difficult decisions for ourselves and our families when there is no right answer. This underscores the importance of surrounding yourself with people that are kind and supportive, and keeping an open line of communication with both yourself and your tribe about your values and priorities. I haven’t read a book in almost a year, but I’ve come close to mastering origami animals with my son, and did more professional public speaking (from the comfort of my home office!) than in any other time in my life.
Finally, we should encourage the next generation of engineers and leaders to speak with their own voices, embrace their unique backgrounds, and use their experiences to their advantage. For example, I grew up in NYC and haven’t managed to entirely shake my accent. While I’m no Jimmy Durante, I’ve been told that my voice is instantly recognizable.
See if you can detect Hadas’s Queens NY dialect in these recordings:
Julianne Rhoads, CEM, Senior Analyst & Brand Ambassador
As a data analyst I interpret data from building automation systems by utilizing remote continuous building monitoring and analysis software. A remote continuous building monitoring service gathers information from thousands of points (sensors, actuators and valves) throughout the HVAC system in a facility and provides expert analysis and prioritized recommendations for reducing building energy consumption and improving equipment operations without having to step foot in a mechanical room. I interpret and present these findings on an ongoing basis to help facilities reduce energy, improve equipment reliability, and better manage resources. I am responsible for energy analysis and reporting on over 5 million square feet of facilities in the higher education, healthcare, and pharmaceutical research sectors throughout the world.
I am also the Brand Ambassador for Cimetrics, and in this role I promote products & services and implement marketing campaigns to raise brand awareness and increase sales. I have presented on the topics of data analytics & fault detection and predictive maintenance at conferences held by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) as well as at the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).
Want to learn how to see into the future? Find out how I turn data into a crystal ball in the following recording:
I began my career as an energy engineer in the building automation and HVAC field, where I audited large facilities with complex systems and thousands of pieces of equipment. The vast amount of data available from Building Automation Systems, weather and utility data, and audit and data logger data presented an opportunity for me to transition from energy engineering to data analytics and utilize real-time analytics performed by powerful Automatic Fault Detection and Diagnostics (AFDD) software. I felt the need to adjust my career path toward data analytics and become familiar with this emerging field.
The projects I took part in while attending college also opened my eyes to the world of data. Several projects inspired me to work in data and predictive analytics, including analyzing pedagogical statistical data as part of my research assistantship, modeling a solar-powered house for the U.S. DOE Solar Decathlon, or even designing a tiny passive solar house in Huanchay, Peru. Opportunities for optimization, weather and building modeling were everywhere.
Read about my recent VR trip to Peru in the following article:
I like that I will never get bored in this field, and there will always be plenty more to learn! There are constant changes in BAS security, utilizing machine-learning in data science and predictive analytics, the standardization of semantic data models to streamline working with devices from the IoT, etc. that excite and challenge me every day to learn from peers and at conferences, to take online courses, and to never settle for the status quo.
As an analyst I enjoy the technical aspects of my job, but also engaging with my customers and providing a lens through which data findings can be interpreted and acted upon, to make facilities personnel’s jobs easier, tenants more comfortable and safe, and save real electricity and natural gas. When I took my fundamentals of engineering exam in the state of Massachusetts, I went into the test thinking I eventually wanted my Professional Engineer license to prove myself to my colleagues and customers as a badge of honor. Before the test began, we were all asked to write a statement, the Engineer’s creed, and sign our name. I remember getting emotional and the hairs standing up on my arms when I read and wrote the statement vowing “to place service before profit, the honor and standing of the profession before personal advantage, and the public welfare above all other considerations.” As I read this, I realized the responsibility and accountability I had as an engineer. What truly motivates me now in my job is my commitment to environmental stewardship, and the public welfare of my customers and the tenants that breath the air every day that I help monitor.
Bonus question: What do you wish you would have known when you were a young professional?
These are my 5 favorite pieces of advice to my “younger self” that my mom and I presented at Wheaton College’s Summit on Women in STEM in Norton, Massachusetts:
Svetlana Lyons, PMP, Project/Product Manager
As a Project Manager at Cimetrics I wear many hats - I work for both the product and Analytika side of the business.
On the product side, I manage a team of engineers ensuring the projects stay on task, utilize agile practices, helping team members achieve their goals which align with the strategic business objectives. This role includes product marketing, documentation writing and digital marketing.
On the Analytika team, I’m responsible for finding an optimal solution for each project to read data out of the customers’ systems. Additionally, I manage social media channels, websites and their content for the whole company.
Working with people and technology is the major factor for me. I started as a high-school English teacher after obtaining a master’s degree in Social Science. But after moving to the USA to one of the most technological cities – Seattle – it was hard not to catch the technology bug. My friend from Microsoft - first person to become a BACnet Testing Laboratory tester inspired me to pursue studies in networking. After completing networking certification and internship in Quality Assurance under his lead in the BACnet Testing Laboratory in Boston I was hired by Cimetrics. Starting as an Interoperability Lab Manager I realized that being in the lab all day long is not my cup of tea and gradually moved into a more people-oriented Product Management role and then started doing digital marketing, content management for my company, opened social media channels. So, I found the profession that encompasses soft and hard skills, and as a bonus, I enjoy reinventing myself.
It is dynamic and never boring. I love my job because it is never the same and it is a combination of technical and people skills. I constantly learn new things and have to educate myself on different subjects. For example, right now I am working on implementing the Secure Software Development process for our SecuredByCimetrics products. I am learning about an industry new initiative Managed BACnet - vendor-neutral solution to the cybersecurity challenge.
Bonus question: How does a non-technical person survive in a technical field?
In my company where everyone is an engineer, computer scientist or has a PHD in Physics it is hard not to feel intimidated. But what I found out is that if you spend time on learning the concept and details about the business that you are working in, it would be much easier to understand what is required and how you can help.
Original interview was published in AutomatedBuildings.com
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