March 4, 2024

Madhuri Chilakamarri World Engineering Day Spotlight | News


Senior Engineer Madhuri Chilakamarri is making better happen in Thermo King’s digital technologies space and breaking stereotypes along the way.

Madhuri Chilakamarri is a risk taker. Born and raised in India, she was the first woman in her family to chase her dreams of becoming an engineer outside of her home country.

“I stem from a humble background, and education runs deep in my family. I grew up competing with my brother, who is a PhD and works as a R&D scientist for the Indian Space Research Organization. He has motivated and encouraged me my entire life and stands as the inspiration behind my journey to become an engineer,” said Madhuri.

That journey started with a Bachelor of Technology in electronics and communication engineering at JNTU Hyderabad (India) and led her to pursue her master’s in computer science from Eastern Illinois University.

“It was a leap for me to break a pattern in my family, but I saw opportunities to do research in computer science and felt like women were empowered in the United States. I am so proud of the sacrifices I made and the example I have set to inspire others in my family who have also pursued their dreams.”

Finding her way to digital and Trane Technologies

Solving complex problems and helping people are the drivers behind Madhuri’s interest in the digital engineering space.

“Technology has always excited me; I have enjoyed programming challenges since I was a child. I love keeping up with the dynamically evolving technologies and fast paced environments within the IT field,” she explained. “It was a natural fit for me.”

After some time as a software engineer for a couple Fortune 500 companies, Madhuri found her way to Trane Technologies. She was drawn by the diverse and inclusive culture as well as the opportunity to contribute her problem-solving skills as an early member of Thermo King’s Digital Telematics program in North America.

Fast-forward nearly three years later and she is proud of the progress.

“During my time here, I have had the opportunity to work with many amazing individuals and been privileged to be a part of outstanding new product releases and enhancements with telematics capabilities that are focused on customers’ needs and adding value to their business, and ours.

“Data is everything in today’s world. Good data drives decisions and leads to cost savings, operational efficiency, growth, and improved outcomes for our customers. Technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), Cloud, and IOT (internet of things) have been growing at a record pace, and Thermo King’s digital expansion is a game changer for retail, logistics, and cold storage domains. We are becoming a leader in this space, and it is very exciting.”

TracKing® Pro is one of Madhuri’s favorite projects as it provides efficient dashboards that deliver predictive technology driven by machine learning for enhanced fleet efficiency, increased fleet uptime, energy-saving opportunities, and measures and monitors environmental impact. Another is the 3rd Generation TriPac® auxiliary power unit (APU), the first APU in the industry to include telematics.

“Thermo King experienced the largest expansion of digital enhancements in its history last year, and we are just getting started. This is an engineering area where the sky truly is the limit.”

Inspiring others

Madhuri has been part of the Thermo King Women Engineering (TKWE) organization since 2021 where she is helping mold a more diverse and inclusive workplace and helping others overcome barriers.

“I love being part of this group, something I did not see in other companies. It allows us to come together to shape the experience of women engineers,” she explained. “Collaboration provides an opportunity for women engineers to connect with other professionals, share experiences, and build supportive networks so that we can grow the percentage of women who choose a profession in STEM, especially in engineering where the numbers remain relatively low. We have a great woman engineering community at Thermo King who nourish, encourage, and support each other to advance in our STEM professions.”


Get to know Madhuri

What is your dream invention?

A: I am passionate about people, and I would like to get to know their minds. I believe this would be one of the greatest inventions which shouldn’t be far away given the advancements in AI.

What advice would you give other women looking at an engineering career?

A: There are lots of opportunities for everyone. Uphold women in engineering; we need more members. Don’t be afraid to push outside of your comfort zone. Stretch your capabilities and be adaptable. Stay updated with the latest technology and plug into education opportunities whenever you are able. Network. Join a mentorship program. I was part of the ‘Mentor Match’ program at Trane Technologies and it is a great way to gain visibility into leadership roles and advance your career. The digital engineering space is changing constantly, and it’s exciting!

Why is recognition important to continued advancement of ideas?

A: Recognition is something of high value when it comes to celebrating achievements. Pausing to celebrate is a motivator to keep striving for the next project or idea. It also helps generate best practices to learn from – for others and for future projects.

What do you like to do in your free time?

A: My husband and I love to travel, especially to beaches. I am an adventure seeker and like to try new things. Horse riding and scuba and shark cage diving are a few favorites. And while I live in the digital space and enjoy learning new things, I do often unplug because it sparks new ideas and brings out a new me.


Madhuri with family in India


Madhuri with nurse sharks


Madhuri and her husband meet a sea lion in the Bahamas