International Women in Engineering Day – Product Safety Engineer reflects on her career so far
Tracy joined the company in April 2002 – though she actually began her career as a business travel agent dealing with bookings from companies in the local area for meetings, flights, hotels, car hire etc.. “At the time, I really enjoyed it,” she recalls.
Tracy Burgess, Safety Team Leader at TDK-Lambda UK
After having her daughter in 2001, Tracy decided to change her career direction completely and began working the twilight shift (5-10pm) as an assembly operator at TDK-Lambda. “I thought I would stay there for a couple of years until my daughter started school,” she says. “However, I enjoyed it so much, I am still working at TDK today, albeit in a substantially different role.”
Tracy’s career has developed leaps and bounds – after just one year as an assembly operator, she took the opportunity to transfer into the new design, verification and test department (DVT). “This is where I tested prototype products designed by our excellent team of engineers,” says Burgess. “This was a very rewarding role as I took newly designed power supplies and tested them thoroughly and rigorously before they were approved and shipped to our customers.” During her time in the DVT department, Tracy attended college and gained an ONC in Electronics with a double distinction grade. “On both years of my college course, I was awarded student of the year!” she recalls.
A couple of years later, Tracy decided to apply for a job in the component engineering department. “This was a varied role – I worked my way up from a technician to a component approval engineer,” she says. Her main role was to source alternative components for engineers and test them to ensure that they would fit into the power supplies. During this time, Tracy also worked closely with the quality and production teams to ensure that replacement components were quality checked and fitted onto the PCB properly. “I then moved to the safety department,” she says, “where I have been working ever since”.
Again, Tracy began as a trainee and has worked her way up to Safety Team Leader – all in a relatively short period of time. “This is not health and safety, you’d be pleased to know!!” she explains.
It is are a small team this is responsible for testing all new power supplies in development to UL standards, which are internationally recognised standards for safety. “This is an interesting and very responsible role,” she explains. “Power supplies have to endure many different tests, they need to ‘fail safe’. As the term suggests, if it should fail, there are no resulting fires or hazards. Once the power supply passes all of the in-depth testing, the safety team drafts a formal report and sends it to the Underwriters Laboratories to get the UL mark – an essential requirement.”
So, why does she enjoy being an engineer? “The work is varied, interesting and challenging,” explain Burgess. “In the past you may have thought engineering was just for men but you couldn’t be more wrong – more and more women are seeing the fantastic and varied opportunities engineering provide. I am living proof at TDK that a career in engineering is possible for everyone.”
Tracy is currently completing an HNC in Electronics through a distance learning course and is looking forward to further developing her career in the research and development (R&D) department.
For more information about careers TDK-Lambda, please contact Anne Sutton or call TDK-Lambda directly on +44 (0)1271 856600 or visit the careers page on the TDK-Lambda website.