Susan Wilson was a typist in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada in the early 1970s when she realized she was out of money and needed a new job. She then began a path in the pump industry that has spanned nearly 50 years.
Wilson, now a technical support engineer with Franklin Electric, had an “in” at Monarch Industries and landed a job in the core room and machine shop before being called on to establish the company’s repair parts department.
“I heard there were openings at Monarch Industries because one of my friends’ uncles worked there,” Wilson said. “I just kept going every couple of weeks seeing if they had an opening and finally got to start there. I evolved with the company, working my way up.”
In 2006, Franklin Electric purchased Monarch’s pump division and brought Wilson’s expertise on board. Wilson, who enjoys fishing and was once an enthusiastic participant in the sport of curling, will reach 50 years in the industry in 2023.
Her education after grade school was as a typist, so her pump industry job experience came in the real world.
“It was on the fly,” Wilson said. “Right from square one, everything I learned was from mentors, supervisors and the people that I worked with—everybody helped on down the line to where I am today.
“Technical training from mentors and my engineering people kind of gave me the basics of what to work on.”
Wilson said this career has helped her develop people skills that she originally did not think she had.
“It’s a really, really good industry to get into,” Wilson said. “It’s something you don’t learn in school. It helps you to communicate and get your confidence. When I was young, I was very shy. When I saw someone walking in the mall, I’d turn and walk the other way. It helps you develop yourself as a person. It’s a unique career and I would advise anyone to look at this type of work. It’s something [where] you can make a life.”
Wilson said the most important thing for young engineers is to “listen and learn.”
“You don’t really learn this in school,” Wilson said. “It’s a specific type of industry. What you’re going to have to do is get mentors or people who are training you. Now you have videos on how to do this thing, so it’s listening, learning and applying yourself, setting your goals and gaining confidence. I think that’s the most important.”