As we return to our Women in Engineering series, we’d like to introduce you to Judith Manco, our Senior Chemical Engineer, RND Lab Manager, and Chemical Hygiene Officer. Judith’s interest in chemistry was sparked by her Peruvian high school teacher, and now, more than two decades on, she still enjoys working in a profession where she gets to create new technology, contribute to greener energy and benefit the future.
Judith holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from The National University of Engineering in Lima, Peru and has been working in the hydrogen industry for more than 20 years. She feels very proud to be a scientist.
“I chose to study chemical engineering because I was inspired by my high school chemistry teacher, who was able to teach in a way to reach each student and immerse them in the science world. You could tell she loved the field herself and wanted to pass on her passion to each student. I was amazed by how chemical reactions could transform resources from the earth into materials that could be useful for people,” she says.
Judith has had a wide range of previous positions and responsibilities within the hydrogen industry, including Offset Ink Laboratory Supervisor, Quality Control Supervisor, Flexographic Ink Laboratory Supervisor, and Color Quality Control Supervisor. The first years of her career she spent in Peru, after which she moved abroad when she started working with Proton Energy Systems.
Being a woman in a man’s world
Although engineering is a world that is quantitively dominated by men, and although Judith has experienced the difficulties of being a woman in a world of men, she has no regrets about her decision to study engineering. Quite the opposite, actually.
“To study engineering means to enter new challenges every day. It can be hard, but at the end of the day, your work will lead to results that can contribute to improving any manufacturing process, results that can create new technology and benefit the future. In this discovery, there is a satisfaction that you feel as a professional that you cannot find anywhere else,” she says.
“As a female chemical engineer working in a field where 90% of the people in my work are men, I was sometimes intimidated to speak out and give my own opinion. However, I do not have any regrets about entering this field because it is part of my professional experience,” she adds.
Working towards a brighter future
Her work in the research and development department at Nel is very much one that requires persistence, and the ability of piecing together bricks in an unknown puzzle. Something that really fascinates Judith.
“The most interesting part of working her is that I get to analyse new materials and improve the manufacturing process to reduce costs. It is like a puzzle. I have to figure out how to improve performance in our electrolyser equipment,” she says.
According to Judith, the future is bright. Both for hydrogen and for Nel.
“Green energy is essential for the future, and I am very proud to be a part of this industry. Fuel cell cars and all the applications that use hydrogen can help give us clean energy and a brighter future.”