Attitude is key – believing we can make a difference. When presented with a problem, we grasp the situation, find our fit, and propose a solution.
Be unique. Differentiate yourself. Go for the big win. These statements not only apply to Erin Byrne’s favorite TE product, the mid-board optical module, but also describe her approach for a successful career. To Erin, a perfect score is not enough – she strives for more. In those she directs in her technology solutions group, she looks for critical thinking skills, a desire to learn and improve, and the ability to adapt to change. “I know my career and the career of those I work with will not end the way they started. Success means always learning, improving, and adapting, and my role is to encourage this in others.” Erin projects confidence and strives to provide value at every opportunity. She commands a seat at the table, but gives room for others to contribute because, “you can’t produce excellent solutions in a vacuum.”
Erin mentors new engineers through meaningful and productive summer internships and helps TE grow its community of women engineers. “As part of TE’s program, my group supports one or two summer interns each year. We make sure they are given real work and are held to real expectations.” As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, she encourages other women to be more vocal and to gain credibility by providing impactful business results. Erin gives credit to those who supported her along the way. “I have been encouraged to speak up and have learned to be succinct and clear. I hope to serve as a strong example for others.”
What inspired you to become an engineer?
When I was eight years old, I asked my parents for a microscope, a telescope, and a chemistry set. The natural world — from the stars to the tiniest microbes and atoms — has always fascinated me.
What new product solutions are you and your team working on to meet industry trends?
As data rates and densities continue to increase, we are working to reduce the cost per gigabit of data transmission over long distances in data centers.
How do you approach tough problems?
The toughest problems are worthy of diverse engineering know-how. I try to gather the right mix of people and motivate them to develop a new solution that provides the most value to the customer. Knowing when to stop and look for a completely new solution is key.
What inspires you?
I am inspired to show demonstrated value in performance or price/performance to our customers. I look for ten-fold improvements on existing solutions for new opportunities.
While working on projects, what is an engineering challenge you have come across and how did you overcome it?
We had a project where we had to resolve a yield issue. We divided the problem into two parts: the first was to streamline the current manufactured design to increase throughput. The second was to look further out in time for impactful design changes that could bring performance improvements.
If it weren’t for engineering, what do you think you would be doing today?
If I wasn’t working in the engineering field today, I probably would have pursued a career as an analytics entrepreneur, chemistry professor or rock band drummer.
What I like about music is the creativity and how you can keep creating. Product design is like that – invention with no end point, just improvement.
- Erin Byrne,
- Engineering Director, TE’s Data and Devices Group