Susan Gray, who received her BS in electrical engineering from the UA in 1996, returned Feb. 27 to speak to students, faculty, staff and alumni about her rise from undergraduate intern at Tucson Electric Power to senior vice president and chief operating officer of UNS Energy and its subsidiaries. Her conversation with interim College of Engineering Dean Larry Head was the second in the college’s spring speaker series, Lessons in Engineering Leadership.
Gray has faced plenty of challenges in her career, from learning how to manage a team of people who had three times as much experience as her to helping different branches of the company, particularly engineers and tradespeople, work together. One of her most important strategies? Learning to listen.
Nicolas Tan, an engineering freshman, said he just transitioned into a leadership position in a student club and found Gray’s advice about leadership helpful. Mechanical engineering senior Rene Jones agreed that one of her favorite parts of the talk was when Gray said she doesn’t like to say people work for her, but that she works with people.
“I think she has a very humble approach to leadership,” Jones said.