“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The quote from inspirational author Neale Donald Walsch has long been the mantra of Colette Fennessy, a marathon runner and staff engineer with UTC Aerospace Systems.
“It’s what motivates me,” says Colette, “whether I’m training for a marathon or planning my career path. Once I get too comfortable, I try to change things up and challenge myself more.”
Her engineering background is a case in point. As a child, she remembers taking apart her father’s radio system and trying to put it back together again. In her all-girls high school, she joined a program called WISE, women in science and engineering. “This is where I was exposed to computer programming and engineering,” she says. “It’s what made me take the next step and study mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut.”
She joined UTC Aerospace Systems soon after graduating. It didn’t take long before she enrolled in UTC’s Employee Scholar Program and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
As for her career, she’s team leader in one of the newest, most innovative fields of engineering – additive manufacturing, a technology that builds 3D objects by depositing materials in layers based upon a digital model.
“It’s revolutionary technology,” says Colette, “in the sense that we can now produce innovative part designs that could not be manufactured by conventional methods previously. We can also eliminate a good deal of waste in the manufacturing process.”
Additive manufacturing has applications throughout UTC Aerospace Systems and can be used to manufacture products from fuel nozzles to complex housings, and other aircraft components. “Our focus now is to get this technology to our global sites,” says Colette.
Colette will tell you that being on the cutting edge of technology is exactly where she has always wanted to be. “Engineering is all around us,” she says. “And I want to learn how the world works.”