Putman Media’s Influential Women in Manufacturing program launched this year. We received nearly 100 nominations for women with varying titles across many industries. As part of the coverage, Chemical Processing is profiling winners in the chemical industry to learn more about their trials and triumphs. In this installment we learn more about Rendela K. Wenzel, CMRP, CRL, associate senior consultant engineer, Global Plant Engineering, Maintenance, and Reliability at Eli Lilly and Company.
Why did you choose the career in engineering? And how did you land in manufacturing?
I think in a lot of ways it chose me. I wanted to be an engineer. I wanted to work with my hands and design and implement solutions. I started out in the Chrysler Corporation; they had their engineers start out on the floor, which I thought was a great opportunity. I learned a lot about people and about engineering, in general. And I learned about having to live with something that was designed and how the process works, so that was really good.
For me, positions never became available at the time I was ready to move into another direction. So I’d hop from one place to another. There was an opportunity at International Truck and Engine for a maintenance engineer, which I had no idea what that was. [When I asked, they said] "Well, we're going to change this maintenance engineer role into a reliability engineer role." I said, "Wow, what's that?"
So that is where I learned about predictive technologies. And that led into what I do today. I'm morphing into this global maintenance and reliability role. It's been a great ride.