René Rose Stueber, engineering director of vacuum systems, describes her experience as a young mother and the values that supported her engineering career. Rene is part of the Industrial Technologies & Services team in Europe, Middle East, India & Africa (EMEIA), and a member of the Women Inclusion Group (WInG).
1. Please share a brief summary of your career path. What is your current role? What do you enjoy most?
I was 17 years old sitting late at night at a telescope tracking asteroids when I decided to study engineering, and have continued to aim high with my goals. At university, I studied aerospace engineering. During my graduate school years, I found an internship at a turbomachinery company in the engineering department in order to write my thesis. I am currently engineering director for vacuum and low-pressure solutions, based in Germany, and lead a team of 56 engineers. One of the things I enjoy most in my role is seeing the excitement and happiness on our team’s faces when a product of intense focus and work is launched into serial production.
2. What attracted you to Ingersoll Rand and how long have you been with the company?
I have been part of Elmo Rietschle, Ingersoll Rand’s industrial vacuum pumps, blowers and low-pressure compressors brand, since 2017. What attracted me to this company was the opportunity to develop new products and empowerment to shape the future of the portfolio.
3. How has your time at Ingersoll Rand helped you grow, personally and/or professionally?
Thinking like an owner and making life better are two points that have really helped me grow as a person. It has shaped how I see my job, and influenced my understanding of my responsibilities within the company and as an engineer. These two ideas have taught me to look at things from different perspectives, and to pull those two points into my day-to-day decision-making.
4. Tell us about a project you took ownership of or something you led that makes you proud.
I feel proud to have developed such strong engineering teams. One of my strengths is to see the potential within people, and we have a great deal of employees with high potential on our engineering team. For me to have a strong team, I see it as my duty to foster that potential for them grow. Developing an excellent team means excellent results.
5. What advice do you have for people to feel like they belong at Ingersoll Rand?
Everyone has a day or two where they are in self-doubt, when the challenges seem big. It is important to remember, independent of department or role within the company, we are in this boat together. We are one team. When seeking solutions, be open-minded enough to put yourself in others shoes and see things from their perspective. It does not mean give up, but it helps in setting priorities. Sometimes the chemistry between people works and sometimes it does not; it’s important to focus on finding solutions. We are all professionals. Dream teams are always professional. I think that it is also important to really live the Ingersoll Rand values, and everything else comes by itself.
6. Describe the culture at Ingersoll Rand and how you feel included.
Topics such as sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion set a climate for a friendly company, and I believe that there is a lot yet to come and I am excited to experience this. I am looking forward to meeting more people when we return to the office. As an American living in Germany, I am fortunate to experience a strong sense of culture and inclusion throughout the company.
7. If you are a member of an underrepresented group, what challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?
I was one of nine children, and had to work extra hard to earn scholarships to have a chance to go to university. There were times when all my friends were out having fun, and I was getting up at 4am in order to scrub trashcans at the student union building to be able to pay for my books. I had my older son when I was 21 and still at university. There were times when I did not have a babysitter, and I just took him with me to class. Once, he was very sick with scarlet fever and I had to take care of him in parallel with studying for my fluid mechanics exam. I was so tired during the exam, but still managed to get the top grade. This required a lot of discipline, financial budgeting, and strict time management in order for me to get everything done and still be there for my family. This set a foundation for me that when I started working as an engineer, getting my master’s degree in international management in parallel seemed like a piece of cake, because I had already been through more difficult challenges.
I am convinced that if there is a will, there is a way. Success comes from discipline, perseverance, and creativity. If you try enough times, statistically speaking; you will also get the needed luck.
8. What are your career goals? How is Ingersoll Rand helping you to achieve them?
At one point in my life, it was my goal to lead engineering, and I reached that goal. I feel like all doors are open, and now it is deciding which one I want to take. Ingersoll Rand helped me grow as a person and as a leader. I think that I learned so much within this company, to the point where I feel well equipped to do just about anything with my life.
9. What piece of advice would you give to others who are working to achieve their professional goals?
To be successful, you have to continue to learn and grow. Be open to feedback, understand yourself and what you want, and then invest in yourself so that you have the qualifications for what you want. When you have the qualifications, go apply for your next development step; continue to aim high. Maintain your health and self-discipline, be warm to others and hold them accountable. Get your job done and a little extra on top.
We thank René for her time, leadership and ownership mindset, as well as many contributions to Ingersoll Rand’s inclusive culture.