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Abby Johnson

A Conversation with Abby

What is your current job? Please list the title and briefly describe what it involves

I am the Development Program Lead for the PW300 family of engines at Pratt and Whitney Canada. I lead the execution of program substantiation activities, which includes engine certification tests, part substantiation activities such as engineering trial fits, and engine investigative testing for field issues. The PW300 programs are our customers. We are ultimately responsible for delivering quality test data for validation of engineering designs, in line with the program schedules and external customer commitments.

What made you want to pursue a career in engineering?

I grew up surrounded by both aviation and engineering. My father is a mechanical engineer and built an airplane in our garage. I would go flying with him as a young child and through my teens. I was continuously exposed to all things mechanical due to his ongoing projects related to all things that move – whether it is planes, motorcycles or classic cars. In high school, I received a telescope and developed an interest in astronomy. The joint interest in aviation and space ultimately solidified my decision to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Investigating and responding to an unexpected result. While this can sometimes be stressful, there is nothing more interesting than finding out why an engine or component did not perform as planned and then implementing a fix. This brings out the best teamwork amongst engineers and really can produce amazing results.

How do you celebrate National Engineering Month?

I would say that every month is engineering month in my family. My husband, father and sister are also engineers and there is no shortage of passion and enthusiasm for the profession around our dinner table. My husband and I will continue to expose our 4 year old twins to science and technology through toys and books in the hopes of further expanding their curiosity about the world they live in.

What advice do you have for young women who hope to pursue a career in your field?

Be curious and think bigger than yourself. Try not to remain sequestered within your own engineering work, but instead, try to understand how the decisions you make will fit into the bigger picture of your company, your product, and your customer. Allow yourself to ask a lot of questions because it will only make you better at what you do.

Abby’s BiographyAbby Johnson is a professional engineer and a member of the PW300 development engineering team at Pratt and Whitney Canada in Mississauga, Ontario. She received her bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, specializing in aero structures, from Carleton University in 2005. Prior to being a part of the development organization, she worked for five years in the structures department where she carried out Finite Element Analysis on various engine structural components including composite bypass ducts, engine mounts, gas generator cases, and thrust reversers.

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