Women in Tech Series: Driving industry resilience through cybersecurity

At Hexagon, we are committed to recognising and honouring the accomplishments of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through this blog series, we aim to highlight a few of the many exceptional women at Hexagon who are making a difference and leaving a lasting impact on our company and industry.

Attending the University of Alabama in Huntsville — in the shadows of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) — Summer Carter was surrounded by a community involved in STEM. However, her exposure to engineering started years before in her small hometown of Enterprise, located in Southern Alabama.

“My dad is an engineer, and my two older brothers are also electrical engineers,” she said. “Naturally, I had a great example of what a typical career path would look like.”

Carter’s expected professional journey did not go exactly as planned. Upon graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, she started her career as a process engineer.

“I stayed in process engineering for three years, and it brought me from Huntsville to Houston,” Carter said. “While this was an impactful career move, I discovered I didn’t want to be in a plant long-term. That’s when a technology career found me on a whim.”

Carter received a message from a recruiter regarding a consulting position for a software company. Believing she wasn’t qualified, she initially turned the job opportunity down. Upon further introspection, however, she came to realise that her experience in manufacturing and deep understanding of industrial facility processes uniquely qualified her for the technology side of the business.

Today, Carter serves as a solutions consultant for Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division, acting as the technical liaison between the sales account manager and the team that installs and services Hexagon’s software to customers. Her primary focus is cybersecurity, with a particular emphasis on PAS Cyber Integrity and PAS Automation Integrity™.

“It was an unexpected trajectory,” Carter shared. “I came to Hexagon through PAS in 2020. Intergraph [now part of Hexagon]was big in Huntsville, but this acquisition gave me the opportunity to learn more about Hexagon.”

In her role, Carter ensures that customers in large oil and gas refineries have a more robust cybersecurity program. Her work prevents potential cyberattacks such as ransomware, which could shut down entire facilities and send shockwaves across industries. “As a consultant, I am intrinsically impacting the economy by helping major utilities mitigate risk,” Carter said.

Carter’s greatest achievement in her career so far is excelling in a leadership position within her newfound field, despite having no experience in software or cybersecurity initially. “Being a consultant in cybersecurity, there aren’t many people who look like me,” she said. “My hope is to inspire other women of colour to pursue careers in technology.”

Working in cybersecurity has given Carter the opportunity to travel the world, networking with colleagues and customers across continents — something she cherishes coming from a small town in Alabama. “I get to travel to different countries – Greece and Dubai in the last two years, different trade shows and conferences on cybersecurity,” Carter said. “It’s been amazing to speak at some of those conferences and represent Hexagon.

She encourages women and girls to explore STEM opportunities, emphasizing the importance of showcasing the various types of opportunities available, especially at an early age. For women starting their STEM careers, Carter offers this advice: “The role you hold today won’t be your role forever — don’t put yourself in a box. Remain adaptable and receptive to change and seek out new career paths that take advantage of your transferable skills. Don’t let your current circumstances limit your potential for the future. If you’re not satisfied with your current role, take control and find a path that fulfils you.”

[Related: “Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)”]