Sydney Baker is the Field Quality Manager supporting Renewables, primarily in the North America region. Her job is exciting, and definitely not something for the fainthearted. To perform audits and ensure consistency in quality of execution, Sydney climbs 300 feet into the air, to the top of wind turbines. According to her, it is one of the most exciting and fun parts of her work. “The first time I climbed up a wind tower was one of the most memorable moments. It’s not easy getting up there and I have total respect of our technicians who do it every day.”
Although it may sound fun, such work requires the utmost concentration and a safety-driven mindset. Everything should start and finish with the core tenet – safety. “What motivates me to work safely is my family, friends, people that I care about… making sure that I come home safe. Also, as a team member who is not on site day in and day out with the field teams, I think it’s crucial to show that you are aware of every standard, every aspect and try to set an example, especially when it comes to safety. From the moment I leave my house driving to the airport, all the way through climbing the tower, I always keep that top of mind.”
Since she joined FieldCore about two years ago, Sydney has been leading a lot of quality improvement and process standardization activities making sure that our processes are getting better, and when misses happen that we are learning from them and evolving. She joined FieldCore after performing similar quality roles for GE Power Services, supporting the gas and steam business for more than 7 years. In the beginning of her career with FieldCore, Sydney was the first person to be in this role with a dedicated quality focus for Renewables. Today she gets the biggest sense of achievement and accomplishment when she sees people “start putting pieces of a puzzle together, understanding [quality programs] that we are rolling out; when they start to raise their hand saying “hey, I have a quality concern” or “I have a non-conformance to report;” or when they come to me with projects that can help improve our performance. With their feedback this becomes a two-way conversation, and to see our employees engaging with it is one of the most rewarding things.”
A career in the Energy sector is a choice Sydney made when she was still in college. She received a degree in chemical engineering because of her deep interest in energy. “When I had the opportunity to start full-time roles after college I joined GE’s Operations Management Leadership Program; and that was a great way to get my feet wet and hands dirty because I was in our factories, interacting with customers and understanding what was important to them,” she said. “This opened my eyes to the operational side of the business. I found that working collaboratively with a customer and seeing how the industry works as a whole was the direction, I wanted to take my career.”
To the question, what are the most exciting and challenging parts of her work, Sydney answered: “The same thing that is an exciting piece is also a challenge – It’s the pace at which the industry, particularly the wind space, is growing. With the speed of development comes a growing number of new hires. It is our challenge and main task to make sure that we give these folks everything they need to be successful from day one and they understand the reasons behind process improvements that are required. This will help us operate safely and with quality, in order to respond to the evolving needs of our customers.”
When she is not climbing wind towers and analyzing processes and standards at FieldCore, Sydney is an avid outdoor person engaging in all kinds of activities from snowboarding to mountain biking, camping and hiking. Even though COVID-19 has limited the freedom to travel, which is another big passion of Sydney’s, she satisfies her travel bug by finding and cooking recipes from different parts of the world.
For those who are thinking of choosing the same career path, Sydney has some advice to share: “First and foremost, I’d say GO FOR IT. Whether you are talking about the energy industry or the field services part in particular, it could be an intimidating thing for some folks. Some people may not know how to get into it. Or, because it is a very male dominated industry it might discourage some; but I have to say that you’d be hard pressed to find people that are as passionate and who care as much about what they do as the people I have met through FieldCore and in this industry.
Another very important aspect to mention is that this work certainly matters. The lights need to stay on, right? So, if you are looking for a job where the work you do every day is going to make a difference in the world, working in FieldCore, with the energy sector is the place to be.
And I would say that you are also going to get awesome experiences, whether you travel the world, learn about the technology, understand the operations, or work on really cool products. These are things that keep me excited about the work that I do, and I think they will excite anyone wanting to join this company or industry.”