Austin Kaiser has something she’d like to share with other women.
“It’s OK to be smarter in math and engineering,” said Kaiser, herself a marketing engineer at Trane Co., a division of Ingersoll-Rand.
“I think there are a lot of women out there who aren’t confident about a career in math and the sciences,” she said.
And growing up, there aren’t many role models around. She’s hoping to be one of many to change that.
At her job, Kaiser leverages her mechanical engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an engineer in the cooled chiller unit. She was a member of the nationally recognized Trane Graduate Training Program in 2013, a 20-week intensive HVAC training course, which only accepts top HVAC engineering and marketing recruits from around the world. She now serves as the GTP coordinator for La Crosse-built products, continually bridging the gap between Trane’s team members and the customers they serve. You can often find Kaiser leading plant tours in La Crosse for groups as large as 50.
“Young people are often looked at as ‘the future of the company,’” Kaiser said. “Older generations can be apprehensive of the millennial generation running the company because we are often labeled as entitled, lazy, job-jumpers, less civic-minded and more focused on materialistic values. Part of what motivates me as a young leader is demonstrating to the older generations that they can trust in my generation to prove that not all of us are entitled and lazy, and to give confidence to the current leaders of our companies that we can be successful.”
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That goes beyond work, as Kaiser demonstrates by being a member of the Rotary After Hours Club of La Crosse. She’ll serve as the club’s president during the 2017-2018 term. She also belongs to her local Onalaska Toastmasters International Club, which focuses on the development of the community to help make everyone stronger communicators, presenters and leaders. Kaiser is also a member of the La Crosse ASHRAE Chapter, which hosts monthly meetings and technical programs for engineers in the community. Kaiser also recently volunteered at Engineer Week, where 160 middle school students came to Trane to learn about careers in engineering.
Ryan Geister, who nominated Kaiser for Rising Stars Under 40, praised his cohort’s growth.
“Austin continues to stretch her boundaries, both at work and in the community, to reach her potential,” Geister said. “It is exciting to see how much she has grown in the past four years. I have no doubt that, in the future, she will exceed expectations and continue to be a valued member of the La Crosse community.”
The skills that Kaiser has learned are the same ones she hopes to pass on to others, by pushing them to succeed beyond their own expectations.
“All of these skills have helped me to be seen as a compelling, confident and intelligent young woman in a field that is heavily male populated,” she said. “These are traits I want to instill in the next generation of young women by being an encouraging role model. Having a strong role model to look up to can help influence someone’s decision to pursue their goals.”