June 23, 2023

Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day with Carolyn Anderson



June 23 is International Women in Engineering Day, which recognizes the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing to support lives and livelihoods every day. Here at Thermo King, we are blessed with the best of the best! Here’s a quick look at one of them.

Meet Carolyn Anderson, an electrification engineer who boldly challenges what’s possible every day.


Q: How did you become interested in Engineering?

A: When I was 10, I went to a summer camp where we got to solder a PCB and assemble a strobe light. This experience combined with my love of science and math made engineering a natural choice.

Q: Can you share a little about your career path so far?

A: I had three internships in college, the last of which was at Thermo King. I really liked the team I was on, so I begged anyone who would listen to hire me full time when I graduated. Fortunately, they did, and I’ve spent the last 5 years on the electrification team.

Q: What is your favorite thing about what you do?

A: The moment when you’ve been working on designing or troubleshooting a complicated system and everything finally works.

Q: What is the most challenging thing about your role?

A: The most challenging part of my job isn’t the technical work; it’s communication. Thermo King is a global company, and trying to align requirements with people all around the world with different priorities can be difficult.

Q: What is a typical day like in your role? What challenges are you solving for?

A: My days can vary a lot depending on what I’m working on, but I guess my typical day is a mix of testing or building components in the lab, talking to various people in meetings, and making design decisions systems or components. Challenges can vary from diagnosing an intermittent software bug to getting a group of stakeholders to agree on packaging requirements.

Q: What would you say has been your most rewarding experience as an engineer?

A: Building prototype electrified trailer and evaluating all the data we have gathered from the various customers using it in their operations.

Q: What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?

A: When an electrical system doesn’t work, 80% of the time it’s a wiring problem. Always check the connections. Also, add an extra 20-30% into any schedule you make so you have time to address unforeseen issues.

Q: Who has been your greatest support, coach, mentor and why?

A: My colleague and fellow electrification engineer, Matt Srnec. He has been a great mentor to me. He’s extremely knowledgeable about the industry and has brought me into projects to help me grow my career and learn about new technologies.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to young girls or other women who are aspiring to become an engineer?

A: You’d be surprised how often you can get what you want if you just ask for it, whether it’s a raise, a training opportunity, a leadership position, or something else. The worst that will happen is someone says no, and you’re in the same position as before.

Q: In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up engineering?

A: If women aren’t part of designing the future, the future may be designed without them in mind.

Q: What excites you about the future?

A: Honestly, it’s a really cool time to be working in this industry as an electrical engineer. Electrification and data connectivity are dramatically changing our product requirements, and I feel like the projects I’m working on really matter and can make a positive impact on climate change.

Q: What is the best career advice you have ever gotten?

A: Advocate for yourself! No one knows what you want better than you.

More About Carolyn:

Title: Electrification Engineer

Education: Purdue University, Electrical Engineering B.S.

Current City: St. Louis Park, MN

Hobbies: Baking, Biking, Cross Country Skiing and Dungeons & Dragons