International Women in Engineering Day – 23rd June 2022 – Terri Logan Q&A
Terri Logan, Electric Vehicle Charging Project Engineer, for public charge point operator Believ, discusses prejudice in education, being the only woman on her engineering degree, why diversity is important and why she finds electric vehicle charging engineering so fascinating.
Women make up just 16.5%* of all engineers – were there any hurdles to getting into what is still a male-dominated world?
Definitely. At school I was told physics was only for boys ‘because it was hard’ and throughout school and university there were inappropriate jokes and analogies depicting and re-enforcing the image of a male engineer.
I was the only girl in my GCSE Physics class, and the only woman to graduate from my university course of 15, so it’s not surprising that there is not equal representation of women in engineering generally.
How did you, and do you, overcome these hurdles? And what would your advice be to women and girls looking to get into engineering?
A thick skin is useful! Getting in the door – and then being a positive representation of women in our industry.
It’s also important to challenge the preconceptions of what an engineer looks like so that our industry feels more inclusive.
The reality is that if a room full of people drew a picture of an engineer, they should all look completely different, as it’s a hugely varied discipline – a person working on the lighting for a fashion show runway will likely dress for work differently to a data scientist – but both are engineers. The too-often purported image is that of a man wearing a hard hat and carrying a spade.
What does your role as an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Project engineer involve and how did you get into it?
I did an electronics engineering degree, and subsequently got a place on the Virgin Media grad scheme, which involved four different placements in technology, mobile, TV, and the last of which was EV charging for Virgin’s sister company, Believ. I’ve not looked back since, as for me, it is the very definition of engineering – to engineer solutions that look to solve society’s future need.
At Believ, my role is to drill into the technical details of charging point site design, looking at building regulations and power supplies, and packaging that information accessibly so that all stakeholders have the information they need. Ensuring the EV charging journey works well for wheelchair users, for example, is a part of that.
What’s the best thing about your job?
That it is future looking, and involves communities and protecting the environment. There is a genuine, and understandable, fear that there won’t be sufficient charging facilities for people to make the EV switch – and we’re working every day to change that. Our focus on publicly accessible charging is also helping to ensure inclusivity and that people who don’t have driveways, or might live in flats, can also make the switch. It feels as though we are genuinely addressing an issue – and helping to remove barriers to EV adoption.
What needs to change to get more women into engineering?
Blind CVs are vital to removing gender bias, and you need companies to recognise that diversity in general is essential to ensuring that the needs and opinions of all groups are represented. Believ is 50% women, which is how we work to fully include women in the EV transition. Women also often bring a different way of thinking or working that makes a team and company stronger.