When Renee DiCicco was younger, she really wanted to be an astronaut. She found that she was too short, however, and since she always liked math and science, she decided to pursue a career in engineering instead. Now, after 25 years in electrical and automotive engineering, Ms. DiCicco feels she has found her passion. She loves that the field gives her the opportunity to make a difference and solve problems.
Ms. DiCicco recently took on the role of SR energy management and PASD at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the seventh-largest automaker in the world. When she started, the team has no structure and the roles and processes were not well defined. Ms. DiCicco found trying to change the way people have been operating to be a challenge, but she is proud of the way she has handled the 250-person group. She feels that she has made a lot of progress in the last year, and attributes her success to her ability to fix things. Ms. DiCicco sticks with her decisions once they are made, and she has exhibited strong skills in getting broken processes back on track.
Another obstacle Ms. DiCicco had to overcome was juggling three kids and a career; the automotive industry does not account for a work/life balance. It is very fast-paced, and requires a lot of focus. Parts must be designed right the first time, and in Ms. DiCicco’s experience, if something goes wrong, the company loses an incredible amount of money very quickly. She considers her greatest accomplishment to be her success and longevity in this environment.
To prepare for her career, Ms. DiCicco earned a master’s degree in engineering management and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She also gained experience as an engineer in wire harnesses and supplier quality. Looking forward, Ms. DiCicco intends to retire from her current company, and hopes to be remembered for giving her team the flexibility they needed to get the job done.
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