Shining a Bright Light on Tampa Electric’s Women in Engineering

June 23 marks International Women in Engineering Day and Tampa Electric is honored to shine a bright light on our female engineers across the company. They work in our power plants, substations and offices – providing critical contributions to our safety, reliability and world-class customer experience.

Meet a couple of our women leading the charge at Tampa Electric.

Meet Shaniece Johnson

Shaniece Johnson is a Senior Engineer at the Big Bend Power Station
Shaniece Johnson is a Senior Engineer at the Big Bend Power Station.

Shaniece Johnson is a Senior Engineer with Outage & Project Management at the Big Bend Power Station. Ever since she was a little girl, Shaniece has always loved numbers and problem solving. It wasn’t until high school that she sparked an interest in electricity. “The experiments in my high school physics and chemistry classes that related to electricity really intrigued me,” recalled Shaniece. “This led me to dive into electrical engineering as my major in college. Taking on various internship opportunities allowed me to see how vast my options in the discipline were. I ended up loving instrumentation and controls and decided to stick with it.”

For young females looking to pursue careers in engineering and other male-dominated industries, Shaniece has the following words of wisdom: “You Belong. Walk into your career with that in mind. Many times, you’ll be the only woman in the room. Push aside any feeling of imposter syndrome and remember that you belong there and bring a unique perspective to the table.”

And once they’re seated at the table, Shaniece advises women to remain lifelong learners. “Always be open to learning from everyone and everything around you,” said Shaniece. “Speak up when you feel the need to and equally be quiet and listen carefully as you feel the need to. Trust your gut. Remember to see challenges as opportunities for growth. Go girl! You’ve got this! “

Meet Kylie Cordova

One of our Transmission Operations drones caught Kylie Cordova (middle) and her tree-hugging teammates all smiles.
One of our Transmission Operations drones caught Kylie Cordova (middle) and her tree-hugging teammates all smiles.

Kylie Cordova is a Transmission Engineer II in Transmission Operations at the Eastern Service Area. Like Shaniece, Kylie’s passion for engineering started as a kid. “I loved anything science-related growing up, especially chemistry. In high school, I signed up on a whim for an engineering summer camp and was fascinated by everything I learned,” said Kylie. “I loved spending time in the engineering labs and seeing how a knack for math and science could lead to meaningful solutions to a variety of challenges.”

As a proud member of Tampa Electric’s Women in Power Employee Resource Group, Kylie encourages the next generation of female engineers to… “remember your ‘why’ and know that your voice deserves to be heard. Also, seek out a mentor!”

Meet Jennifer Partridge Taylor

Jennifer Taylor
Jennifer Taylor is a mechanical engineer who currently serves as Key Account Manager for Customer Experience.

Jennifer Partridge Taylor is a mechanical engineer who currently serves as Key Account Manager for Customer Experience at TECO Plaza. Originally, Jennifer wanted to be an astronaut. “I had a great uncle who worked for NASA and that intrigued me,” shared Jennifer. “As I went through high school, I started researching how to make that dream come true and found I needed to join the military, or I needed to become an engineer (or both). I decided the best path for me was to become an engineer.”

Being one of the only females in her engineering college courses didn’t discourage Jennifer. “After battling some gender bias, it made me more determined to not only become an engineer but be among the top in my class,” said Jennifer. “During that time, I decided that dream of being an astronaut wasn’t something I felt the same passion for, but I fell in love with investigating issues and finding solutions, which is engineering.” Jennifer went on to earn a master's in business administration and has been working in the utility industry for more than 20 years.

Jennifer advises other young women looking to pursue an engineering career to, “Stay strong in your confidence of what you know you are good at but remember there is a lot to learn and be willing to learn the hard stuff. Strive to be the best that you can be.”

Meet Zel Jones

Zel Jones is a Manager of Rates with Regulatory Affairs.

Zel Jones is a Manager of Rates with Regulatory Affairs at TECO Plaza. She studied civil engineering with a concentration in environmental engineering. She started her TECO career in Energy Supply working at Big Bend, Bayside and Outage & Project Management in various engineering and project management positions for more than 12 years.

Much like her colleagues, Zel discovered her passion during her teen years at a magnet math and science high school. “I became interested in engineering through my science labs and science projects,” said Zel. “My project was a scientific look at what happens to different types of materials that get buried in landfills and how long they take to degrade. My parents and I created a mini landfill in our backyard, and I logged the different types of trash we buried to see how long it took for those types of materials to degrade, if at all. I sampled those materials over the next three years and presented my results. I won awards, but what I remember the most was the discovery process and learning the scientific method.” That experience solidified Zel’s decision to become an engineer.

Zel has practical advice for current female engineer students. “Take as many math and science courses in high school as possible. That will prepare you for the math and science courses you must take in college,” said Zel. “If you need help, don’t be too shy, ashamed or stubborn to go to the professor, professor assistant or graduate assistant. Study hall with my classmates and getting help from our graduate assistants really helped me stay motivated to finish my degree.”

All of us at TECO are proud to celebrate the incredible contributions and accomplishments that women in engineering roles are doing around the world and in our own company.