Engineers Week 2022 Team Feature: Emmy Riley
Engineers Week is a time to celebrate the work of our talented engineers and to inspire the next generation of innovators. This week we are featuring a few of our Cyclone Energy Group team members and have asked them to share their thoughts about the impact engineers have in our world.
Meet Emmy Riley. Emmy joined the Cyclone team in 2015. As Account Manager, Emmy oversees our energyPLAN and airPLAN services to ensure that the monitoring of building IAQ and the implementation of cost-saving initiatives are on target with building performance expectations. In her previous role as an Energy Engineer at Cyclone, she provided analytical and consulting services for clients in the development of high-performance buildings, primarily through retro- and monitoring-based commissioning projects. A native of Pittsfield, Illinois, Emmy graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. She also earned a Master of Energy Engineering from the University of Illinois Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys running, tending to her balcony garden, reading WWII novels, and watching Bravo’s Real Housewives.
- Thoughts on the need to engage students in engineering? First, I’d like to say that I think it’s important to engage students, period, no matter their interests. All education is valid and valuable, and I myself had–and continue to have–many interests beyond engineering. Where I think engineering, specifically, can be used to engage students is in helping them become confident problem solvers. The most important thing I learned in engineering school was how to think about and attack problems. It showed me (or maybe I showed myself) that I’m capable of working through most things, even when they’re really hard. It gave me confidence in my own ability. Over the holidays, I was visiting with a few of my college friends who studied engineering too. One told us about how, after a merger at her bioengineering startup, her new coworkers from the acquired company would tell her that she “needs to talk to Ellora” when they had questions that they didn’t know how to answer and needed a higher authority. But that’s her! She’s Ellora! She’s top of her knowledge totem pole now. Each of us, all women and all at least ten years out of school, had some version of being the Ellora in our respective fields now. It makes me so proud to think about how each of us took the same educational foundation, applied it to our own personal interests, worked really hard, and are now at points in our careers where we’re experts. That’s something that engineering has given us, and it’s important for current and future engineering students to know it’s there for them too.
- Reimagining the ways engineers can turn what seems impossible into the possible. A few months ago, I found myself in a client meeting with these words tumbling out of my mouth: “Oh there’s nothing we can’t do. Everything’s possible.” As I (and our company president) heard them out loud, I thought yikes, was that too far? But it isn’t! I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or witnessing the incredible feats of scientific development that we all have over the past two years, but Muhammad Ali and I are here to say that impossible really is nothing. Studying and practicing engineering has given me the confidence that, no matter what we’re trying to solve, we collectively have all the tools to we need to get from where we are to where we need to be, even if we don’t know exactly what that looks like when we start. Will everyone’s route to a solution look the same? Definitely not. Will we fail along the way? It’s practically encouraged. Engineering allows us to harness vast bodies of knowledge, grounded in science and fact, to solve any problem we encounter. It’s all here for us, we just have to use it. To me, that’s making the impossible possible.