International Women in Engineering Day: Celebrating Engineering Excellence

June 22, 2023
IWE Day 2023

On International Women in Engineering Day, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the remarkable women who have made significant contributions in the field of engineering. These inspiring individuals have overcome challenges, broken barriers, and become role models for aspiring engineers. Join us as we highlight their stories.



On International Women in Engineering Day, we shine a spotlight on Sujin Wren, our Hydrogen Technologies lead. Sujin serves as a subject matter expert in hydrogen and has led projects and initiatives centered around this innovative technology. In addition to her project responsibilities, she mentors younger staff, offering technical guidance and helping them navigate the complexities of the engineering industry.


Reflecting on her career journey, she recalls how a chance encounter led her to Hatch. Through a friend's recommendation, she reached out to Bert Wasmund. Little did she know the impact that email would have on her professional path. Today, she recognizes the value of personal connections and the opportunities they provide.


As a successful woman in engineering, Sujin offers valuable advice to engineers just starting their careers. She emphasizes, “I have always been an impatient person and some advice I try to give is that your career is more like a marathon and not a sprint.” She encourages engineers, regardless of their gender, to focus on technical skills and seize opportunities to expand their knowledge within their organizations, and believes that with hard work, a supportive network, and a long-term perspective, anyone can achieve success in their chosen field.


Finding a balance between her demanding career and personal life poses another significant challenge However, with the support of her family and understanding manager, she effectively achieves a healthy work-life balance and cherishes moments spent with her young child. “Even though there is a lot of interest in hydrogen-related projects, I didn't feel pressured to come back early from my maternity leave, which I really valued, and so I felt like I really got an awesome one year with my daughter,” she explains.


Having a support system and mentors play a crucial role in her career growth and professional development. At Hatch, Jim Sarvinis, Kerry McKenna, and Frank Porretta were instrumental role models and offered Sujin guidance throughout her career. This made her recognize the value of mentorship; she aims to pay it forward by being a mentor herself, sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.


LThe achievements of Sujin Wren serve as a powerful reminder of the significant contributions women make in the engineering field, empowering them to pursue their passions and break barriers to excel in any career they choose.


Julia Hiscock

As a project manager and dam safety specialist at Hatch, Julia Hiscock has made significant contributions to the field of engineering by leading multiple projects across Canada. Her current focus is overseeing key projects for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, including an audit dam safety review, safety boom design, ice breakup study, and emergency response plan development.


Throughout her career, Julia's passion for engineering has remained steadfast. Her journey began when she discovered her affinity for math and science during high school. Fascinated by the design and construction of aircraft carriers, she aspired to become an engineer. Although her initial interest in naval architecture shifted, Julia's instinct led her to pursue civil engineering. Her career decisions have been guided by a strong sense of purpose and the belief that engineering holds endless possibilities.


Working with professionals from diverse backgrounds, Julia recognizes the importance of diversity in teams. She values the unique perspectives and backgrounds that everyone brings to the table. In her experience, diverse teams foster innovation and creativity, as different viewpoints contribute to solving complex challenges. While she believes that women can offer a distinct perspective in engineering, she emphasizes that logical thinking, rooted in facts and analysis, is a common trait amongst her peers.


Despite a busy career, Julia maintains work-life balance with the support of her husband and her personal network. She underscores the importance of having a strong support network to navigate the demands of a busy career successfully.


Julia prides herself on the courageous decision to leave behind a successful career of more than 17 years with a utility company and embrace a new chapter with Hatch. This transition exemplifies her resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to personal and professional growth. She is also very proud of her accomplishment as a co-chair of the 2022 Canadian Dam Association Conference. This leadership role not only showcased her expertise and influence in the industry but also affirmed her ability to bring together professionals from various backgrounds to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing.


Arlene Dixon

Arlene Dixon, regional manager, Mechanical and Piping for our USA region, is celebrated for her 19 years of exceptional contributions to the field. As the regional manager, she brings invaluable expertise to her role, ensuring the successful execution of complex engineering initiatives. Her career journey is a testament to her resilience and determination. Starting as a maintenance engineer at a bauxite company, she quickly ascended the ranks, leading a welding shop crew. Joining Hatch through the Alcoa Hatch Atlantic Alliance, Arlene's journey took her across different sites, including Texas and Mississauga, before settling in Tampa.


Although barriers for women in engineering still exist, Arlene remains undeterred by them. Her experience as a visible minority woman has shaped her approach, focusing on success and pushing forward with confidence and determination. “Pull up your chair. Take your seat at the table. Do your homework. Come like the space is yours to claim. We’re not proving that we're worthy. We’re not proving that we're just as competent. That's done. I say just pull up your chair. Do your part and own your place as a professional,” she advises.


While navigating the demands of a busy career, Arlene tries to achieve a healthy work-life balance. She believes in delivering excellent results to clients while ensuring personal well-being. Arlene's philosophy centers around open communication with her manager, effectively managing her time, and preserving weekends for rest, recovery, and quality time with her family.


Arlene's engineering excellence, exceptional contributions, dedication to work-life balance, and ability to overcome barriers exemplify the spirit of International Women in Engineering Day and place her as a role model for aspiring female engineers.


Fernanda Borges

With a focus on project controls, planning, and cost control, Fernanda Borges, an engineer specialist in Project Controls, has been leading the Project Controls team of Vallourec’s €140 million Shift Program since February 2022. The project involves the closure of a plant in Germany and the transfer of the production line to Brazil for the industrial applications of oil and gas, energy, and power plants.


Fernanda's journey into engineering was initially inspired by her father, who worked as an electrical engineer for Nestlé. As a child, she accompanied her father to witness the assembly of a new factory in Montes Claros, Brazil, an experience that solidified her passion for engineering. She was captivated by the industry and decided to pursue mechanical engineering. Since then, Fernanda has enjoyed every moment of her career, including the difficulties that arise.


In addition to her father’s guidance, she has benefited from influential mentors within Hatch. “I consider my manager, Luciano Eça, to be my mentor. He provides me with support and guidance, and he has a visionary leadership approach,” she explains. Her career growth was shaped by her mentors and furthered by her passion for her career. “The field of engineering is not easy, but if you like it, if you enjoy it, it gets easier and more amazing,” she advises new engineers. She also asserts that gender is never a barrier to success. She has always felt respected by her team. For her, the main challenge is maintaining work-life balance, which she achieves with the unwavering support of her husband.


Reflecting on her journey, Fernanda is proud of every contribution she has made to various projects, and the lessons she has learned along the way. The support she has received from Hatch further solidifies her sense of accomplishment. “I am also proud of the appreciation and the recognition I have at Hatch. Having this acknowledgement and this interview is another proud moment for me,” she acknowledges.


Nicole Teeling

Nicole Teeling is a structural engineer based in our Abu Dhabi office, where she’s currently managing the engineering for an aluminium smelter extension project in Saudi Arabia.


Participating in the Hatch Bursary Program in South Africa, Nicole credits Hatch for helping her on her journey to becoming and engineer and began her career after graduating as a civil engineer in 2012. She joined the structural Project Delivery Group (PDG) at Hatch's Johannesburg office for four years. Working there for a silo recovery project showcased her skills as a structural engineer and paved the way for her to transition to the Abu Dhabi office, where she led the civil and structural scope for a potline extension executed for Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), a prominent aluminium smelter.  


Her motivation to pursue a career in engineering stemmed from her love for math and science. With a fascination for structures and buildings, she recognized engineering as an ideal avenue to apply her innate problem-solving skills. Undeterred by the industry's male-dominated landscape, Nicole remained resolute in leaving her mark and breaking down gender barriers. She highlights that men and women are equal in the field of engineering, but differences become more apparent at higher levels of seniority where the number of women is still low. Instead of a barrier, this motivates Nicole to continue to step out of her comfort zone, grow into these roles and support the growth of other women in the field.

Looking back at her career, Nicole takes pride in her professional growth and the successful projects she has led and executed. However, being viewed as a role model, mentor and a respected leader by her female colleagues remains her proudest accomplishment. She cherishes the opportunity to inspire and motivate other women in the field, fostering an environment of support and camaraderie.


Nicole Teeling's journey in the field of engineering serves as a testament to the immense potential of women in the industry. Her dedication, perseverance, and achievements shine brightly on this International Women in Engineering Day.


Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris, a seasoned systems gas handling engineer, is making waves in the field of industrial clean technology. With an impressive 18-year tenure at Hatch. Wendy has become an influential figure in the industry. She is currently serving as the off-gas lead on the Kalgoorlie Smelter Renewal project for BHP, where she manages the technical and project aspects to provide the client with optimized off-gas solutions.


Wendy's career journey began as a process engineer for non-ferrous metals. Her introduction to off-gas work during the Yabulu Extension project in Queensland sparked her interest, leading her to shift her technical focus in that direction. With dedication and continuous work in Brisbane's off-gas roles, Wendy's skills flourished. In 2011, she seized the opportunity to join Hatch's off-gas group in Mississauga, Canada. This experience shaped her career trajectory, leading her to become an indispensable asset in her field. In 2017, Wendy returned to Australia to take on growing and leading a team.


What initially drew Wendy to pursue a career in engineering was her passion for math and science-based subjects. Engineering presented a unique balance between technical expertise and project development, captivating her interest.


Reflecting on her journey, Wendy is aware of the existence of gender barriers within the industry. Despite the near 50/50 gender representation in the initial stages of her career, she has observed a noticeable gap over time. “One barrier that I have seen is the unspoken barrier related to the expectation of the female to carry the household and the pressure and guilt this puts on females to juggle it all, This then extends to the feeling of not being able to meet the traditional expectations on what is valued or perceived as required for success in this industry,“ she explains.


When asked about her proudest achievements, she emphasizes her ability to carve her path using her independence and self-driven nature to navigate her career in Hatch. While acknowledging and being grateful for the guidance she has received from exceptional colleagues, Wendy attributes her accomplishments primarily to her determination and staying true to herself throughout her journey.