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February 17, 2022

Paula's career move to engineering satisfies her drive

Paula McKellar headshot photo

As we celebrate Black History Month and Engineers Week, we’re proud to highlight Paula McKellar, engineering master scheduler. Here is her career growth story.

Paula spent the first 19 years of her career at Trane Technologies as an hourly employee working in production at our Residential HVAC plant in Tyler, Texas. She worked in various departments over the years, becoming very knowledgeable on how we manufacture outdoor HVAC units. Paula worked her way up to the role of designated lead person, responsible for managing all aspects of an assembly line.

It was the highest hourly position in the plant, and Paula knew that if she wanted to keep learning—and continue advancing in her career—she needed to try something different.

“I was intrigued by what I could learn in engineering,” Paula said. “The possibilities seemed endless, and that was exciting to me. This is just how my mind works—I always want to learn something new!”

The other side of production

Paula started working with the production engineering team and began learning about the work that goes into setting up an assembly line pre-production and supporting assembly lines while production is underway.

But Paula wasn’t done learning, and when a role became available in our Engineering Labs in Tyler, she applied to become the test materials planner, pushing open the door to her learning even wider. It was her first salaried position.

“I had become very knowledgeable on the outdoor units we manufacture here in Tyler, and this role gave me exposure to all the other products we design and build in the Residential HVAC & Supply business,” she said. “My role was to manage the materials we needed to perform testing in the Tyler lab, and I took on a big improvement project to help the team and process run more smoothly.”

Paula McKellar trane headshot photo

Her greatest challenge yet

In January 2022 Paula took on her greatest challenge yet when she accepted the role of engineering master scheduler. She is tasked with scheduling tests in our Engineering Labs, managing the engineering team that builds the Research & Development units in the Tyler model shop, and managing the materials the teams need to do their work.

“Learning something new has been the theme of my career, and 2022 will be an intense year of learning for me,” Paula said. “I’m looking forward to building up the team and updating our current processes so we’re able to work together as seamlessly as possible.”

Endless opportunities for growth

Paula says her career move to engineering felt like getting a fresh new start.

“My experience with the Tyler Engineering Lab and teams presents a different side of the business to me, and it feels like I’ve started over again from day one. But this is a good thing, because there’s more for me to learn!

“I love that I can learn and grow at Trane Technologies. The possibilities here are endless, and you can keep your role interesting. It’s possible to see the job you want and then take steps to work toward it. My advice is to just be patient.”

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