June 8, 2022

Susan Relaunches Successful Engineering Career


At Trane Technologies, we all have the opportunity to thrive at work and in life. Supported by comprehensive learning and development solutions, our people enjoy rewarding careers and many avenues to grow while uplifting themselves and each other.

Susan Barnes enjoyed her successful, 20-year engineering career in the telecommunications industry. She’d held roles in test engineering, component engineering and systems engineering, and was working as a supply chain engineer when she decided it was time to temporarily step away from work to raise her young children.

“It was a tough decision—my career was flourishing, and I was doing meaningful work,” Susan said. “But it was difficult to find the right childcare for our boys, so we decided I’d take some time off with the intention of getting back into my career when the time was right.”

Ready to go back to work

Four years later, Susan was ready to go back to work. She started her job search and interviewed for engineering roles, but six months into her search she still hadn’t landed a job.

“I didn’t receive official feedback on why I wasn’t selected for a position, but, naturally, I was worried about the gap in my resume,” she said.

Then Susan discovered Trane Technologies’ ReLaunch program, our 12-week, paid returnship opportunity for experienced professionals who have taken a break from their careers and are ready to put their passion and expertise back to work. Participants receive professional development, mentoring, training and networking opportunities as they are guided through meaningful and challenging projects. Those who complete the program successfully are evaluated and considered for full-time employment.

New for 2022, ReLaunch includes career paths for professionals in Supply Chain and Information Technology, in addition to Engineering.

Check out current ReLaunch opportunities at Trane Technologies, and learn more about the Relaunch program.


Susan fishing with her husband, Jock.

The rest is history

During her 12 weeks in the ReLaunch program, Susan had the opportunity to try out three different roles and receive mentoring and one-on-one support from the Trane Technologies leaders sponsoring the program. The experience allowed Susan to discover the role she prefers most, while giving her manager the chance to see where she’d be the best fit.

“The program set me up with great support and the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance along the way,” Susan said. “As much as the ReLaunch program was effectively ‘interviewing’ me to see if I was the right fit for Trane Technologies, I was interviewing Trane Technologies, too.”

Through her experience in the program, Susan found the role she wanted—senior project manager in Residential HVAC & Supply’s Project Management Office (PMO)—and her manager agreed she was the right fit. Toward the end of the program Susan applied for the role and received and accepted an official job offer.

Guiding future ReLaunchers

In her role as senior project manager, Susan leads aftermarket projects in Residential HVAC & Supply, assigning resources across project teams and making sure programs stay on track. She also takes a leadership role in new product development programs in Commercial HVAC Americas.

Susan is also part of Trane Technologies’ ReLaunch Alumni Network, which meets regularly to provide mentoring and support to the newest cohort of ‘ReLaunchers.’ Meetings serve as a safe place to ask questions and receive guidance.

“I’m working with a ReLauncher one-on-one and coaching her to find her fit in the company,” she said. “A great aspect of the program is the ability to look for other opportunities in the company—you’re not locked into one role.”


Susan took a leadership role in the Boy Scouts during her time away from work and became a Scoutmaster for her boys’ troop.

Susan reflects on on ReLaunch

Would she recommend the ReLaunch program to others?

“Absolutely—and I do, all the time,” Susan said. “Not many companies have a program like this, and it’s wonderful, especially for mothers worried about taking care of their children. I was able to have a 20-year career, take a five-year break, and now I’ve come back for my next 20 years—not that I consider raising children fulltime an actual break.

“I like having a career and doing engineering work—it’s what I’m meant to do. I also like taking care of my family and providing for my family. I was able to get the best of both worlds.”

Susan’s advice for anyone stepping away from work for a time:

“It’s important to keep in touch with your network and stay involved in some capacity, whether it’s through a professional network you belong to or keeping your certifications current. Enjoy your time away and trust there will be a role for you when you’re ready to return.”

Relaunch your career at Trane Technologies—find current opportunities here.

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