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CEC Alumna named one of Miami's 2020 "18 of the Last 9"

Each year, Miami’s Alumni Association selects 18 high-achieving alumni to recognize from the previous nine years. Among this year’s alumni is CEC graduate, Heather Macdonald.Heather Macdonald's headshot

Macdonald, who graduated in 2012 with a degree in mechanical engineering, is now Lead Portfolio Management Engineer for FirstEnergy Corp.. She manages a five-year capital portfolio, determining what projects need to be prioritized to enhance reliability and stay within budget. The company spans seven states, and Macdonald focuses on transmission: how to transport all of the power from generation to distribution.

Prior to her position at FirstEnergy Corp., Macdonald was in the automotive industry, working in internal auditing and as a design engineer. She designed braking system components like the accelerator, braking pedal and steering column.

So, how did she get where she is today?

Macdonald says that her time at Miami helped her navigate her unique career path.

“Engineering is broad and teaches you practical problem solving, which is a framework that you can apply to any other field such as finance, business, etc.,” she said.

More than anything, Macdonald stresses the importance of staying true to who you are.

“If you get into a role and you know that it’s not right for you, don’t feel like you have to stay in it forever,” Macdonald said. “Definitely go explore in other careers.”

Even after completing her master’s in systems and control engineering at Case Western Reserve University, Macdonald has found that some of the most important things are learned on the job.

“Learn everything, both from your mistakes and your successes,” she said. “There are always opportunities to learn.”

Macdonald’s “18 of the Last 9” profile can be found here.

By Jenna Calderón, CEC reporter