For Lara Siopis engineering is a creative calling. “It’s such a large part of the culture,” she says. “Engineers help translate customer needs into practical solutions.”
And that is exactly what she does as an innovation catalyst with Carrier. “I’m an engineer and technologist, but my role is based on people,” says Lara, “We talk with customers to learn what their core needs are now and what they might be in the future. We then work with other engineers and product teams to develop prototypes we can test with customers and rapidly refine these solutions and products.”
Since joining UTC, Lara has had the opportunity to work across business lines — assisting Otis with its digital service transformation, Carrier with its state-of-the-art WIFI thermostat and Onity with its key card encoder for the hospitality industry.“This is what drew me to United Technologies,” says Lara, “the breadth of the products and the opportunity to work in an entrepreneurial environment within UTC with great, innovative people.”
Growing up in Salem, Virginia, Lara was drawn to engineering after she enrolled in a product design engineering class in high school. “I was interested in science from a very young age,” she says. “This class taught me about rapid prototyping and the possibilities of a career in engineering.
She received her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Mass, a school recognized for its belief that engineering is a creative enterprise that begins and ends with people and their desire for a better world.
“Olin was a good fit for me,” says Lara. “It takes a hands-on approach to learning that I found invaluable.”As a young engineer, she is often asked for advice from high school students considering a similar career. “I tell them to have fun with it! Many of their interests and passions are likely to intersect with technology and they can build on that through engineering. There is no one type of engineer, so I also recommend trying out different disciplines through internships, informational interviews or other programs. The Engineering curriculum is challenging, but it can lead to one of the most exciting and satisfying careers imaginable.”