Emerson’s Jessica Jordan joins our continuing podcast series on 5 Questions for an Emerson Expert. In these podcasts, we want to share the stories of the paths taken to a science, technology, engineering and/or math (STEM) education and career in the field of instrumentation and automation as well as to learn more about them as people.
Jessica leads the product marketing efforts for the recently announced the powerful standalone and easily integrated DeltaV PK Controller which you likely have already heard about. We hope you enjoy this podcast and I look forward to any suggestions you have for other experts to interview and questions you’d like to ask them. Just leave a comment, send me an email or LinkedIn message.
Jim: Hi, everyone. This is Jim Cahill, and welcome to another edition of “5 Questions for an Emerson Expert” podcast series. Today, I’m joined by Jessica Jordan. She’s a marketing product manager for the DeltaV team for Emerson Automation Solutions. Welcome, Jessica.
Jessica: Thanks for having me, Jim.
Jim: Well, it’s great that you’re here. So let’s start with, what made you decide to pursue a STEM-based career?
Jessica: Well, Jim, that’s a really good question. I grew up in South Alabama, and traditionally, women in the south were not pushed to pursue technical career paths. They were more homemakers or moms. And the harder I was pushed to conform into that box, the quicker I wanted to get out of it. I was naturally a problem solver and curious. And, actually, my first career I wanted to pursue was an astronaut. But as I went through school and got ready for college and looked at the technical paths available to me, engineering seemed like a good fit. I was good at the math I was good at the science, and, let’s face it, the pay wasn’t gonna be that bad, either. So here I am.
Jim: Well, that’s great. So from getting that degree in engineering, what led you to a career in the field of process automation?
Jessica: A little bit of luck, to be honest with you, being in the right place at the right time. I started my career in automation as a co-op for Ciba Specialty Chemicals. And when I interviewed for the job, I actually had to Google, “What is automation?” I had no idea what it was. When I was in school getting my degree in chemical engineering, we didn’t really learn about, what is process automation, what is this disruptive technology, and what are all of the endless possibilities in this industry. So as I went through my first co-op, I fell in love with automation. And now that the industry is evolving so quickly, it’s amazing to see all of the different opportunities that are available.
Jim: Okay. And tell us about a recent challenge that you’ve been working on to solve.
Jessica: So I’m the product marketing manager for one of our newest, most disruptive technologies, the DeltaV PK Controller, and it’s a very interesting project to be working on in the fact that I really have to be a strategist here. I have to learn to anticipate the problems and pivot around the pitfalls. I think one of the most challenging things to do is really make a conscious effort to work on an integrated team. You have to be on the cutting edge of technology, while managing current customer expectations, while trying to penetrate a new market and capture that, all of which require you to look out of different frames and have different perspectives. And doing that in a real-time fashion is a big challenge that we’re currently faced with.
Jim: Well, I know that was announced a few months ago, and it looks some of your work is paying off with the interest and everything we see out there. So kind of stepping outside the office and the things that you do around here and in our world of process automation, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Jessica: So I like to say that I’m a jack of all trades and a master at none. I’ve always been naturally curious in how things work, so I love to just dive into projects, learn how they’re made, learn how they’re built. But the challenge with that is I get bored very easily. So I oftentimes end up starting many more projects than I complete. Another fun fact is that I actually live off the grid, on a farm. And so, as a mom, I like to spend a lot of time with my family, and being in that environment really enables us to kind of slow down, teach my son how to be curious about the world and how it works, get dirt under his nails, and help him to appreciate everything that we’ve earned.
Jim: Well, that’s fantastic. You’re in here, immersed on the grid all the time and get to break away from all that. I bet that’s really energizing. And I guess my final question for you, with a lot of the new people that we have coming into our world of process automation and process manufacturing and everything, what advice would you have for someone that’s coming into the industry?
Jessica: I think for younger generations coming into the industry, I want to tell them, “Picture where you want to be and don’t set a limit to it. Picture where you want to be, and then not only make a plan, but own the plan on how to get there. And push yourself to consciously make really smart, really disciplined decisions.” I think that rising above mediocrity is not a hard thing to accomplish, but you have to have enough discipline to make really smart decisions now to get there. And then the last thing, which I’ll tell everyone, just always stay curious and always ask why.
Jim: Well, that’s some fantastic advice. And I know that some people listening to this podcast will take some of that to heart. Well, thank you very much for joining us this morning. We really appreciate it, Jessica.
Jessica: Thanks, Jim.
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