PODCAST: Printing Metal, Building Others

Work-life balance is constantly in the conversation of working professionals. Stacey DelVecchio, Additive Manufacturing Product Manager at Caterpillar, believes you can get to a point where work-life balance is a moot point.

“Once you find out what’s important, the whole question of work-life balance becomes a moot point,” Stacey said. “The whole idea of work-life balance gets so blurred as you’re working on what’s important to you that it becomes less of an issue.”

For Stacey, those things that are important to her include her work in additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) and her work with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

With Caterpillar since 1989 when she began as a chemical engineer, Stacey experienced early on a strong support system that helped her be successful as a woman in engineering. This support system has encouraged her to make advocating for young women in engineering a personal mission in her life.

“I run into some young women that have such a clear vision of what they want to do,” Stacey said. “It’s okay to not have that kind of vision because it will come as you get different experiences in your life.”

In her involvement with the Society of Women engineers – including serving as society president – Stacey has found fulfillment in helping young girls and women see engineering as a viable career source.

“I will say one of the things that hit home to me was having something so mission-focused,” she said.

Also important to her? Staying abreast as a leader of quickly changing industry trends in 3D printing technology.

“The role of leaders is to make sure we encourage the use of something that’s evolving and know that it has an advantage.” Stacey said. ““If we wait until it’s all settled down, we’re going to be too far behind.”

Show highlights are listed in the program guide below.

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Program Guide

1:50 – Stacey’s path to Caterpillar as a chemical engineer paralleled her boyfriend at the time...and developed into a marriage of 27 years! Her thoughts on career decision making in context of personal relationships.

3:00 – Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, Stacey’s father always encouraged her and her siblings to get a college education. As a 13 year-old Stacey helped with the family’s small business and tells the story of some important Christmas trees.

4:50 – Without an idea of what she wanted to do “when she grew up,” Stacey knew she loved numbers and science. She shares the type of support system that helped her succeed as a women in engineering.

6:30 – Stacey shares how she mentors young women going into engineering: “You don’t need to be the top of your class or get straight A’s to be an engineer. I want them to know this is an incredible, viable career path for them.”

7:50 – As one of the few chemical engineers at Caterpillar, Stacey began in her first job in the non-metallic components. “The main things I wanted, and still want, are exciting work and a boss that appreciates what I’m doing.”

9:35 – How Stacey and her husband managed two careers and balancing career advancement opportunities: “There’s not really a class in college about how to manage a career path.”

11:07 – Many of Stacey’s leadership opportunities came up as other people saw that potential in her, particularly with her leadership in Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Vision as a leader comes with experiences. “For people who don’t have that kind of vision, that I’m going to cure cancer…it’s okay not to have that vision because it will come as you get different experiences in your life.”

13:17 – Stacey’s involvement and leadership in SWE began in 1994 in chartering a section in the Peoria, Illinois area. As society president for SWE, it was almost a full time job, including encouraging young girls and women to consider jobs in engineering:  “I had the pleasure of doing it with the support of my company.” 

15:13 – In her activities with SWE, Stacy learned the fulfillment that comes with having such a focused mission. “There’s so many times I would come home from a long week…and say, I really feel like I did some good today.”

18:55 – How Stacey has helped Caterpillar share our additive manufacturing (3D printing) story. Challenges involved with 3D printing today: “Six months after we started out…this machine had become a ‘legacy machine!”

23:50 – The role of leaders in helping company and our employees adapt to high-velocity changes in technology and industry: know advantages of the new technology and allow employees to experiment.

25:40 – When she’s not 3D printing or advocating for women engineers…some of Stacey’s hobbies include reading historical fiction and scrapbooking with mom.

27:23 – Parting advice for women when balancing work, marriage, starting a family: Stay in the game! “I’m going to be in it till the bitter end, fighting and being excited about what I do.”

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