Hexagon continues to shine a spotlight on the women leading in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Our Women in Tech blog series tells stories about our Hexagon employees’ career beginnings, triumphs, insights and advice for other women who want to pursue STEM.
Environmental engineers play important roles for the companies and industries they serve by shaping the future of the planet with more sustainable practices and products. In this edition of our Women in Tech series, we hear from two engineers – one in mining, one in forestry – who are leading the charge in innovative, sustainable practices.
Both women loved science studies early on in their lives, and both fully believe in the importance of STEM education and inspiration for young girls. Their work continues to innovate and elevate sustainability as they forge new and exciting paths in their industries.
Ericka Floyd, Business Development Manager, MineProtect, US and Canada
As a child, Floyd held a deep fascination with the natural world. She loved exploring and examining the rocks and minerals around her. This passion for geology stayed with her into adulthood. When it was time to decide on a career path, she chose mining engineering. “I wanted to combine my love for geology with the analytical thinking and problem-solving that engineering offers,” she said.
Now Floyd manages the MineProtect suite of solutions for Hexagon’s Mining division, equipping miners with innovative technologies to make their work safer. “I like to think that working directly with mining operations on safety technology has made a positive impact. We are helping operators prioritise the safety and well-being of miners, promoting regulatory compliance and fostering sustainable mining practices,” she said.
Floyd believes there needs to be a continual push for education and outreach for accessible and quality education at every age – not just within specific schools or areas but throughout individual communities via local organisations and programs. “We need advocates within the STEM industry promoting gender equality through education and workplaces with resources for advancements in research and promoting inclusive practices,” she said.
She would tell every young girl to nurture their passions – whatever they may be – and follow their interests while exploring various subjects. “Being curious is only a portion of what’s necessary to excel in STEM,” she said. “Embrace failure as a learning opportunity, build individual confidence and seek out mentors who can provide you with guidance and support. These are important steps for women looking to advance in your career.”
Floyd said women should be prepared to face challenges. “But don’t let that discourage you from pushing forward,” she said. “Being confident in your abilities is half the battle. Every person has the right to pursue their own passion.”
Claudia Garcia, Forestry Engineer and Contract Manager, Forestry Business Unit, Brazil
Garcia’s high school biology teacher inspired and encouraged her to pursue her love for math and science. “I admired her passion for science, and that made me decide what profession to pursue.” Today she still praises the women in STEM who preceded her: “They opened many doors for my career.”
After an internship at a biotech lab, where she developed methods for growing plants through tissue culture, Garcia interned with Hexagon’s Forestry business unit. “I had the privilege of starting and developing my professional career at Hexagon, a company that has innovation at its core and still makes enormous contributions to sustainable and disruptive technologies for the world, including the agricultural and forestry sectors,” she said.
Garcia is proud to be involved with Hexagon’s contributions to forestry technology. “Representing a company in embedded technology, monitoring, operations control and forest 4.0 is a great privilege,” she said. One of her greatest achievements is representing women and earning respect as a professional in the forestry industry.
Garcia believes the representation of women is decreasing at each stage, from academia to top management in companies. “Private sector participation should be making greater contributions to inspire and motivate young women to work in STEM. This is especially important in areas where there are fewer opportunities for exposure to STEM curriculum and careers,” she said. Pointing out that women in tech often have few role models in their families or societies to learn from, she added, “Projects that promote the respect and appreciation of professional women, including inspirational examples of women in tech, can change the reality of many young women. This happened to me when my science teacher inspired me to pursue my career.”
Garcia said we should follow and fight for the realisation of our dreams. “If being a professional in STEM is a young girl’s dream, I would say to always go after it with determination,” she said, adding that she sees a future with much demand and many possibilities for women. “We still have many challenges to overcome, but I like to think we are helping girls who come after us find greater equity and fairer opportunities.”
That sentiment rings true in Garcia’s personal life. As the only sibling of six who went to university, she said her two nieces have been inspired by her to pursue future careers in STEM – one studying forestry engineering, the other medical physics. “Perhaps this is my greatest achievement.”
Floyd and Garcia are two amazing examples of the many women in tech doing incredible work today. Their ideas and efforts continue to inspire as they follow their passions and help make our planet more sustainable for generations to come.
Diversity and inclusion are key values for Hexagon’s culture and the industries and ecosystems we serve. The Women in Tech blog series will continue sharing stories of successful women forging ahead in STEM careers.