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Director of Process Engineering Amtrak
Education: North Carolina State University, B.S. in mechanical engineering
Career highlights: Hawkins Allen began as a mechanical project engineer designing machines that made baby-wipes at Kimberly Clark. She joined Amtrak in 2007 as a process engineer to help improve productivity and quality of passenger equipment maintained in the mechanical department's southern division, then network wide. Today, she leads continuous improvement efforts in the mechanical department. A certified Six Sigma Black Belt, she trains mechanical employees in Six Sigma tools.
Why rail? "I felt it would make me a more dynamic and sought-after engineer if I expanded my knowledge base."
Making a difference in rail transportation by ... using continuous improvement strategies to change Amtrak's culture "by showing people how to be more efficient [and] less wasteful, and to understand that, in order for Amtrak to be successful, we need to change and pursue that change collaboratively."
Five-year goal: "I've been able to work on several safety projects in the mechanical department, and I would like to expand that experience."
Active in: She helps her husband — who is head coach of a high school football team in Florida — in mentoring the young men on the team.
Her philosophy: "Treat people the way you want to be treated. You can never go wrong by being fair and consistent."
Interesting fact: "I love to watch HGTV. I'm a crafty person in that I like to recreate or redesign old things and bring new life to them."
Nominator's observation: "By promoting the use of Lean Six Sigma tools and providing a more collaborative team environment to share best practices and technical expertise, Jessica is increasing effectiveness in achieving business objectives." — Joseph Boardman, Amtrak