Chris Wolfe

Chris Wolfe

Title
Lead Product Manager - Multiphysics
Organization
ANSYS
Location
MA, United States
Chris Wolfe
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Biography
I am a chemical engineer by my education (BS and MS). I also have an MBA. I now work in the engineering software industry as a product manager. I have one foot in technology and one foot in business. I try to understand what our customers need, what we can do for them, and how to grow our business. Outside of work, I spend time with my family (husband and 2 sons), garden, rock climb, read, and take pictures. You can find out more about me at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/chriswolfe
Answers by Chris Wolfe

Hello Keodara, 

Thank you for the question. I did not really target working in software. It kind of just happened while trying to balance work and life. 

I used to work for DuPont in Wilmington, DE. While there, I used a computational fluid dynamics software package called Fluent to model mixing tanks. I had also done my masters research in mixing. I loved my job at DuPont, but my husband and I wanted to start a family in a smaller town where there was more snow. It was also important for me to have a good technical job. The cooler temperatures requirement ruled out a job in a small town in the south, where more traditional chemical engineering jobs are more prevalent. I had come to New Hampshire for Fluent training the prior year and saw that it was a fun place to work and that I could have a technical job in a small town. A job posting for a technical support engineer with experience in mixing at Fluent came up, I applied and was in. From there I moved into software product management. So, in my case, a desire to be where there were less people, more snow, and good technical work led me to software.

That is my story. I would like to add that one of the things that drew me to engineering, chemical engineering in particular, in the first place was the versatility of the education. I know chemical engineers in many fields. One as even my professor in business school. Chemical engineering gives you a very good technical education while allowing you to keep your options open.

Best,
Chris

Hello Sasiskala,

You should always work to keep your technical skills up-to-date. But, perhaps more importantly for your internship, are the observation, communication and personal skills that compliment your technical skills and allow you to show people what you know.

Take the time to understand what the people you are working with do and what they know. The older person with a GED who has been running "the line" for 20 years often knows more about the nuances of the process than the overseeing engineer. Make yourself approachable to those folks. 

Work on making your e-mails, presentations, and reports clear and concise and at the right level for the intended audience. I still struggle with this sometimes. Remember that managers often just need the facts and conclusions (and don't have the time to get bogged down) while other engineers may want all the details. Communication is often where girl engineers stand-out. So, I recommend refining and working these skills.

Finally, work on your network. Use the internship as an opportunity to grow your network for the future.

All the Best,
Chris