2020 has been quite a year. As part of our exciting expansion, we recruited five shiny new BMS engineers, one of whom is Emma Swanborough, our first female BMS engineer. We are very excited to be working with Emma, as part of our commitment to inspiring more females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Emma lives in Oxfordshire and been working with us since May 2020. She has kindly agreed to be interviewed for our latest blog.
When did you first decide you wanted to become a BMS engineer? My dad was a BMS engineer. After I left college at 17, I used to help him out, and then we started working together, and it picked up from there. My dad made it enjoyable and the money was good!
Did you study BMS controls at college then? No I studied leisure and tourism at college.
If you didn’t do engineering now what would you have done? I enjoy cooking and would have gone into that route.
Why do you think there are not more female engineers? At school, we got pushed down the beauty route. If you wanted to do something technical, they weren’t interested in helping us move in that direction. These days, things have progressed massively with pushes towards females working in STEM. I had a lucky break because my dad was a BMS controls engineer; if he hadn’t been interested in coaching me in BMS controls, I would have probably drifted from job to job.
What’s it like working with all those male engineers? It’s nice to work with males because there is no bitchiness, just banter. All the guys here are really accommodating and we take the mickey out of each other. There’s fun banter about my height because I’m short. They are lovely guys at Boss Controls.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job? I like to communicate with customers – the more you communicate, the better the relationship. People don’t expect a woman to turn up and my colleagues like me to talk to the customers because customers seem to be more receptive to women. It’s great that the guys here acknowledge my skills
Can you recommend a route for females who are interested in BMS controls? Gain an electrical or HVAC background. If not, find an apprentice route in electrical or plumbing. I was working as an HVAC engineer, then the technical director at Boss Controls spotted me. Once you are onboard with a BMS controls business, they tend to train you up in their specialist solutions, for example, I’m being trained in Trend and Siemens.
Are the boiler rooms as nice as the posh apartments? No, but we go into the posh apartments to do our job as well as the boiler rooms.
Any interesting stories about your work in high-end apartments? There is some interesting art!
Do you have any tips for other females wanting to get into BMS controls? Yes, keep asking questions. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and muck in with everyone else.
What’s changed the most in your job in 17 years? It’s a lot more software and computer-based now. It’s more of a challenge and a whole new way of working. I’m enjoying retraining again.
How do you feel about working in dark and gloomy basements. Are there spiders? No, I’ve not seen a spider which is good because I’m not good with loads of spiders. Basements don’t really bother me. It’s part of the job.
Do basements and boiler rooms vary Yes, you get nice clean ones and dark and dingy ones that are like horror films! The state of the boiler rooms tends to go with the age of the building.
Finally, a question for fun … If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Flying because I spend a lot of time travelling, I want to get places more quickly and see things from high up.
Emma is well settled into her new role and is looking forward to our first virtual office Christmas party.
Due to our growth, we are always looking for enthusiastic, can-do, committed female and male BMS Controls engineers. Call our office on 01403 886508 for an informal chat if Emma’s words have inspired you. Our team of engineers are very friendly and we look forward to hearing from you soon.