The halls of Emerson are home to many interests and skills. Through this blog series, we are highlighting those who are currently or have completed the Engineers in Leadership program
The Emerson Engineers in Leadership Program is a two-year rotational program for undergraduate engineers to gain experience in a range of functional roles and assignments, including engineering, product development, supply chain, operations, and sales and marketing.
Before this interview, I didn’t realize how important automation engineering is to manufacturing operations. Maci Prescott gives us a peek at her day-to-day activities at Emerson and what she’s doing in her free time.
How long have you worked at Emerson?
A year and a half.
Where did you grow up and where are you based now?
I grew up in Vermont – a small town with about 3,000 people. Now I’m in Florham Park, New Jersey.
What brought you to the company?
It was a mix between the Engineers in Leadership Program and Emerson as a company. There were a lot of opportunities to experience roles that were not related to my engineering background. That captured my attention because while I love engineering, I also have mixed interests and wanted to learn about new functions and technologies in the industry.
What has your experience been like in the Engineering in Leadership program?
The program has a unique structure with flex roles and international experience. Because of COVID, I didn’t experience the international aspect of the program but was assigned an unexpected role as a Strategic Planner.
This type of role was not something I had thought I would be interested in as I had never worked in a business function, but I really enjoyed it and carried what I learned to my current role.
My role now is also something that I did not consider out of college, however, it gives me a wider perspective the business instead of one focus area but still is a technical role. While both roles were unexpected, they both have been beneficial in their own ways.
What does your job entail? Take us through a day in the life at Emerson
Because I support all our plants in North America, I have some responsibilities that are outside of the traditional automation engineering. I am doing a lot more project management than I had expected, working with local manufacturing to help bring home some automated machines that were designed before I started this job.
I’m also working on new projects where I am able to put on my consulting hat. The local manufacturing teams will come to me with a production process they are interested in automating. For example, one plant I work with wanted to automate a soldering process involving molten metal to make it safer for the operators to do their jobs. I then reach out to vendors, gather quotes, and ideas to pitch back to the manufacturing site. From there we work together to build the custom machine and get it functioning in the factory.
When I’m not managing automation projects I support our larger operations team with performance reporting, management processes, and strategy development. My job’s a good mix of project implementation and keeping tabs on our higher-level business initiatives.
I’m also part of the Black Employee Alliance and dedicate some of my time to supporting our Global Marketing Committee. I help create communication material such as our annual report, website updates, and flyers for major events like Black History Month.
What do you like most about being an Automation Engineer?
I enjoy the type of work I do. It’s a lot of creative brainstorming. When I first started, I was visiting our manufacturing plants and recording where I saw opportunities for improvement, then sharing that insight with the manufacturing teams.
It’s interesting to start from zero, throw ideas out there to see what sticks, and then bring those into a formal project. Automation is a hot subject right now and the projects move fast – I enjoy that quick pace of work. There is always something to do and opportunities to learn and grow in the company.
What do you like most about working at Emerson?
I like being part of a company that is changing and evolving both in its organizational structure and culture, then seeing how that trickles down to my day-to-day work. Because new things are happening it allows everyone to try new things, take ownership in our work, and help mold where we want to push the organization.
And now some fun ones!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Although it could just be a by-product of the pandemic, I am currently really enjoying traveling. I’ve been exploring the US and visiting my family and friends with who I didn’t get to spend much time with once I left college.
I’m also trying to find new ways to be active since I’m no longer doing gymnastics. It was part of my life since I was three years old, so it’s been a big change. I’ve begun snowboarding more and exploring some other random sports like soccer. I’m also into number and word games, as well as reading.
Tell us something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have three sisters and two of them were talented actors growing up. We would all go to New York City, they would do their auditions and I got pulled into a few of them. I ended up being in a Hallmark movie and have an IMDb page.
But I am definitely the worst actor in my whole family and preferred to sit in the background and eat the free snacks on set.
If you won the lottery what is the first thing you would do?
I would like to say that I would be responsible and sit down with my lawyer and family to figure out how to pay for everyone’s college and choose charities to donate to… Although honestly, that’s probably the second thing I would do.
The first thing would be to gather my whole family and go to Barbados. My grandparents are from there and it would be nice to fly everyone out. That way we can relax while I do the responsible thing and figure out how best to manage the money.
Where’s your favorite place in the world?
In the winter I miss the ocean – I love being on the beach and in the sun. But then in the summer, I miss snowboarding and seeing the mountains white with snow. So, it depends on the season.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t stand in your own way.
There will always be someone in the world that will stand in your way – don’t let that person be yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about Maci, check out her LinkedIn profile.