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Employee Spotlight: Andrea Blair

#FutureInYourHands


Andrea Blair

global practice leader and account manager at TÜV SÜD America

#FutureInYourHands – This motto properly describes how TÜV SÜD empowers its employees. It’s best to hear from TÜV SÜD executives and staff members what their personal experiences are working for TÜV SÜD.


Can you describe your role within the company?
I maintain several responsibilities. One being a Global Practice Leader for business continuity planning and supply chain management, which is one of our diversified services. I’m also an Account Manager on a couple of accounts for our traditional roles. Spearheading the 5S program for the labs to ensure organization and efficiency is another part of my role. I started with TÜV SÜD almost 15 years ago, working part time for Global Risk Consultants (GRC) doing field work, while also taking care of my three young children. My role within the company transitioned over time to accommodate the business continuity aspect of the field, which lead me to my current position of working in diversified services, while maintaining accounts from my previous role.

How did you choose this career path?
I attended Northeastern in Massachusetts and studied Electrical Engineering. Through that, I was involved in a few co-op jobs at different engineering companies, but came to realize early on that I wanted something with a great deal of variety. Engineering was challenging for me, and being one of only a few women in my class also presented many obstacles I had to overcome. However, over the course of my career, I have enjoyed seeing the process of how things are made, which is what ultimately drew me to a position at TÜV SÜD.  It has been rewarding to see some things progress for women in technical fields and I enjoy helping encourage those efforts with a good work ethic and participating in roundtables and discussions with young ladies about pursuing technical careers.

What do you enjoy most about your job and working at TÜV SÜD?
I like the variety that my role offers. Some people prefer to just do fieldwork, but I think it all depends on skillset and interest. With GRC, it can be compartmentalized, so you aren’t necessarily retained to one specific area. I enjoy helping with Sales, managing accounts, and growing the BCP business. I appreciate that I have the opportunity to perform various tasks in my position. I’ve also gotten to meet a lot of people through my role, especially when I work with people in our labs because I also get to familiarize myself with that side of the business.

Are there challenges you've faced in your career that have taught you important lessons?
Early on in my career, I was working in a lot of heavy, industrial auto manufacturing plants. As a female just starting out in a male-dominated industry, there were definitely obstacles. Challenges like, feeling the need to prove myself to clients and colleagues, and gaining their confidence in my technical abilities and contributions.  I learned a lot of important lessons overtime as I became more well-versed in my career. I also believe that the industry has shifted since then, and I think it is a much better working environment for women. Another challenge I faced was the ability to establish a good balance between work and family. I had 3 kids in 4 years, so there were definitely times where I had to take my foot off the gas a bit in my career in order to focus on my family.

What do you think the industry will look like 20 years from now?
I think for GRC and the services that we do, things will evolve by using advanced technology tools. Even now, due to the global pandemic, companies are now having to reduce person-to-person contact and create workarounds in order to get jobs done. So, I think down the line we will see technology playing a more prominent role in aiding the services that we perform. Traditionally, engineers travel to facilities, gather information, and make recommendations based on that information.  I think we will see a shift in how that information is collected. I believe the use of drones, skype surveys, and remote evaluations will all be very possible options in the near future. With the current situation in the world, I think we are taking a much closer look at our different options and figuring out how we can best conduct our services. 

When not working, how do you spend your spare time?
I used to spend a lot of my time running around to kid’s activities and events and being involved in the organizations that supported them. Since my kids are out of the house now, I keep myself busy through activities, like golf, running, and getting together with friends. My family also has a place on the beach in Rhode Island that we enjoy visiting, both my husband and I are from there. It has allowed my family to remain close to our extended family and childhood friends, most of which still live in the area. 

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