Name: Fay Pittman
Occupation: Deputy Project Director/Rail Area Manager
Employer: Baffinland Iron Mines
Education: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) - Memorial University
What does your typical workday involve?
In my role as Rail Area Manager I am responsible for managing the planning and execution phase of a rail expansion project for Baffinland’s iron ore mine in Nunavut. This project includes the construction of a new, 110 km rail system connecting the mine site to the port site and will replace the existing haul truck operation. I am involved in procuring locomotives, railcars, rail steel and ties, as well as managing contracts for building the railway and negotiating the rail operations and maintenance contract. I am presently based in Baffinland’s corporate office in Oakville, ON but I travel to the mine site on Baffin Island in Nunavut several times a year.
What do you most love about your profession? Why did you choose this career?
I chose engineering because I enjoyed math and science in high school and I was looking for a career that would allow me to develop and use my proficiency in those subjects. Engineering is all about problem-solving and every day is different. Throughout my 20+ year career I have worked in the Oil and Gas industry in Alberta and Saskatchewan, for Canadian Pacific Railway in multiple locations and roles across western Canada, and on mining projects in Labrador and Nunavut.
When did you realize you wanted to work in STEM?
Growing up in coastal Labrador did not provide me with much exposure to STEM or skilled trades. It wasn’t until I started General Studies at Memorial University that I began to explore the opportunities that were available in this field and landed on engineering as my program of choice.
What were your favorite subjects in school?
Math and science were my favourite subjects.
What advice would you give girls, who are still in school, who might be considering a career like yours?
Engineering is a challenging and rewarding career that provides variety and unlimited opportunity.
Why do we need more women in skilled trades and STEM?
Women are currently under-represented in STEM and skilled trades careers. It is important for more women to enter these careers to provide employers with diverse viewpoints, to provide women with high paying career opportunities and to provide role models for girls and women.
Who was your role model? What about this person inspires you?
I have had many role models over the course of my lifetime. I found many role models in the teachers who inspired me to do my best and pursue a university education. I have also encountered many role models throughout my career that have ranged from my peers, direct reports and executives in the various organizations I have worked in. I believe that everyone you encounter can provide you with learning opportunities and inspiration.
What do you do for fun? What are some of your hobbies/activities?
My passion is travel and I have visited over 20 countries. I enjoy running and have completed ten half-marathons and several 10 km races. I am also an avid reader.
What superhero do you relate to most? Why?
I like Storm from X-Men….she can control the weather! That would come in very handy on engineering projects where you sometimes need to shut down due to weather conditions! She also possesses leadership skills.
STEM for GIRLS
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