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Alicia Gilpin has a mission. Gilpin, a 2010 Rose-Hulman chemical engineering student, recently posted a photo on LinkedIn of her Rose diploma with a logo tag of her company, Process & Controls Engineering LLC. Gilpin explained that she wants the image to represent something to young women: that women can do anything, including earning an engineering degree and starting their own business.
After ten years of working in the engineering field for other companies, Gilpin founded Process & Controls Engineering LLC in 2018. The Seattle-based control system integration company offers a wide range of control system solutions, including they include engineering, UL 508A control panel design, PLCs, HMIs, SCADA programming, cybersecurity, networking, and robotic application simulations. It also provides training, electrical/equipment troubleshooting, remote support, project management, and instrumentation evaluations for businesses across the United States.
Originally from Hawaii, Gilpin applied to Rose-Hulman because she was looking for a top-tier engineering school to study chemical engineering. As a student, she was involved with the Hispanic Society of Professional Engineers and Alpha Chi Sigma. His final chemical engineering design project involved growing algae and turning it into various forms. After graduation, she took a job as a process engineer at Heliae, LLC, where she worked on a similar project converting algae into biodiesel. Gilpin credits her experience as a student and with the final project as the reason she landed the job.
“Working at Rose Labs was amazing,” says Gilpin. “I was exposed to so many things that I didn’t even know, but now I work with them.”
Over the years, Gilpin worked in process engineering, later transitioning to controls. Early in his career, he was part of a greenfield project, which involves developing a new building on land that has never been developed. Through that project, Gilpin learned how to manage procurement on engineering projects. He later went on to run a UL508a shop and traveled the country pioneering burner and gas train controls applications.
Gilpin continued her involvement with Rose mentoring teams of chemical engineering seniors on their final final design projects for two years. She experienced firsthand the value of her degree and wants to find other female engineers and encourage them to start companies like she did.
“People said I was an anomaly as a woman who owns her own engineering company,” says Gilpin. “I want women to see that this is something we can do. It’s not just male engineers who start their own businesses.”
It is this desire that led her to start the Automation Ladies Podcast with fellow engineer Nikki Gonzales.
“We’re interviewing the most amazing women doing things with robotics and engineering,” says Gilpin. “Many of these women started out as receptionists or flight attendants. Not all of them have a technical background, but they decided they wanted to study STEM. Women are everywhere and we have to work together. Women are in robot manufacturing and repair jobs. We need to be more visible and show the world that women are doing amazing things, in engineering and automation, and in the future of manufacturing.”
The Automation Ladies podcast is scheduled to debut in the summer of 2022. Gilpin, who has nearly 30,000 followers on LinkedIn, is use the platform to market the podcast and showcase outstanding women in STEM.