Career Development Center Red + White Corporate Partner Feature: Eaton

As part of its series highlighting Red + White Corporate Partners, NC State’s Career Development Center is excited to feature Eaton as well as two Wolfpack alumnae who work there. 

Who is Eaton? Eaton is a multinational power management company dedicated to improving people’s lives and the environment with power management technologies that are more reliable, efficient, safe and sustainable. Eaton has had a presence on NC State’s campus for a number of years, successfully hiring co-op students, interns and full-time employees. You may have seen them on campus, or attended one of their events such as An Evening with Eaton, Pack on the Patio with Eaton, the Women in STEM Symposium, Engineering Career Fair, or the Co-op Job Fair. 

Below you will meet two NC State alumnae who work there:

Elaine Chavis

Elaine Chavis ’14

Elaine Chavis ‘14 is a native of Raleigh and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial & systems engineering. She currently serves as the manufacturing manager for motor control centers and industrial controls at Eaton. 

How did you hear about Eaton? 

I first heard about Eaton during an on-campus career fair as a Junior while I was exploring internship opportunities and trying to gain real life experiences to apply classroom concepts.

Tell us more about your role. 

In this role, I am responsible for leading our production teams to meet plant and divisional key operating indicators or metrics. As the department manager, a lot of the position is surrounding employee relations and engagement with the shop floor while pushing to safely build good quality products on time while focusing on continuous improvement.

What is a typical day like? 

In production, no day is alike! Each day consists of start up meetings and team calibrations, and then the fun begins. Depending on what issues we are facing on the floor will depend on where we focus our energy and what “fires to put out” for the day. Issues range from manning resources, to quality identified by the customer and customer calls with change to demand. We also engage in continuous improvement activities to ensure we are eliminating wastes in our processes and getting out more with less. If you are someone that does not like a monotonous routine, production is definitely an arena that has constant change and new challenges.

What advice would you give students when searching for co-op/internships? 

I would advise students searching for current co-op/internships to remain flexible and open to opportunities presented. With the pandemic, a lot of companies have had to maneuver traditional methods and find new ways and alternatives to ensure continuation of meeting business needs. This may mean a student does a virtual assignment as opposed to the on-site assignment. Either way, the experience is still a value add. Be open to assignments that you may be unsure of as well. You may fall in love with what you are doing, but worst case, you’ve learned what you do not want to do!

What do you love about Eaton? 

I love the opportunities Eaton affords its employees. I’ve been able to serve in many different roles based on my interests and direction in which I want to take my career. Eaton allows us to take ownership of our path and support us in many ways for development. I was also able to work on Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training as well as get my master’s degree with the aid of the company.

Marissa Pilcher

Marissa Pilcher ’16

Marissa Pilcher ‘16 from the Charlotte, N.C. area and holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. Marissa currently serves as a senior inside sales engineer with Mission Critical Team. 

How did you hear about Eaton? 

I first heard about Eaton while attending a co-op career fair as a sophomore. I was looking for opportunities, had a great conversation with the Eaton representative and the rest is history! After my co-op with Eaton, I knew it was a company I wanted to work for full-time, and started to notice how frequently Eaton is on campus supporting the Pack.

Tell us about your role

I am currently a senior inside sales engineer with our Mission Critical team. I quote turnkey UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) centric projects with end users in the federal space. It is a mouthful, and a fairly specialized team, but a very rewarding role. I’ve been in this group a little over a year now and really love it. I have had the opportunity to interface with many teams throughout Eaton and to get to know our UPS and power distribution products on a technical level. Prior to this, I was part of our Operations for Engineers Leadership Development program.  I spent three years rotating through different manufacturing functions and had the opportunity to see three different facilities and divisions of Eaton. It was a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend the program to anyone considering it.

What is a typical day like at Eaton? 

My role now is a very queue and deadline driven role. What the day looks like can change quickly based on what proposals come through the queue. In general though, I start the day checking my emails and making a list of priorities for the day. Then I have a daily touch base call with my immediate team. We discuss queues, address technical questions and shuffle workloads as needed. From there, it is usually reading through specifications, drawing packages, price books and interfacing the project team to make sure we’re providing the customer with the best solution for their application. I typically end my day with a quick check of my priority list — “Have I completed all the necessary items?” and “What do I anticipate my day will look like tomorrow?” These questions help me try to leave work at work and transition to my home life, which has been extra important when my commute home only involves closing the office doors.

What advice would you give students when searching for co-op/internships? 

Take a deep breath, be persistent and be genuine. Sometimes the search can seem never ending, and it is important to maintain your confidence and keep putting in the work. I also think genuineness is one of the most important parts of the job search. Be genuine with yourself about what job you’d like to do, but also be genuine in your character and personality. Cultural fit for both you and the company are important! And lastly, take a deep breath and put on that confidence boosting jam.

What do you love about Eaton? 

I really love the people and the culture.  My dad works in manufacturing and I grew up hearing grumbles about engineers that came in changing processes without asking for input or ever having done the job. That shaped how I viewed engineering and how I evaluated potential employers. Eaton encourages collaborative problem solving and embraces employee value.  I’ve felt supported and challenged in all of my roles and had managers who genuinely wanted to see me succeed. I feel that I’ve had the support to move forward in my career and advocates who were invested in my growth. It has always resonated with me that people build careers with Eaton. I meet so many who have worked for Eaton their whole careers, and I really believe it stems from the culture and the investment in its employees. It is something that continues to keep me with Eaton and advocating for others to join our Eaton family.