Schneider Electric: Efficient energy & building automation leader

Schneider Electric: Efficient energy & building automation leader

 March 29, 2021

"It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years! I graduated from the University of Maryland in December of 1990 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. The engineering education I received continues to benefit me today. I have had a successful career in the energy efficiency and building automation fields, as both an engineer and a leader," says Charlotte Wang Wagner, General Manager of Schneider Electric Southern California Branch, US Digital Buildings.

She has career experience in the building energy efficiency industry, currently serving at the executive management level developing cohesive teams. Her certifications include the P.E., LEED AP BD+C, CEM, and CA General Contractor’s A license. She has been involved in the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for over 30 years as a Life Member, Fellow, and Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Charlotte is co-lead of SWE’s Late Career and Retiree affinity group, which she helped to found. She is also Board Member and Mentor Committee Chair of the Council on Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) of Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).

In an article for the University of Maryland, Charlotte shares her advice to women engineers, and how she balanced career and family life.

Thinking objectively and solving problems

Charlotte Wagner

Charlotte recalls that engineering students often wonder: “Am I going to use this specific material in my profession?” Charlotte's answer is yes and no. While she can cite specific knowledge she learned in her engineering studies as a practicing engineer, more importantly is that she was taught to think objectively and solve problems. She often applies an engineering thought process, even to personnel and human interaction situations.

Her advice to engineers, in particular, women: "you can do it all, just not all at once". 

Charlotte has done everything she wanted to do, "just sequentially instead of simultaneously," she adds.

Mapping her career journey 

career journey

Charlotte's 30 years since graduation can be divided into three main roles:

  • Project Engineer and Project Manager: I performed energy audits of commercial buildings, identifying energy efficiency measures; designed the hardware and software of building automation systems; and project managed construction projects in the performance contracting field (1991 – mid 2004, 13.5 years).
  • Stay at Home Mom: I stayed home with my son for the first 3 years of his life, an experience I will always value and treasure. He is now 16 and we still have a special bond today, which formed during these years (mid 2004 – mid 2007, 3 years).
  • Leadership Roles as a Division Manager, Director, Senior Director, Managing Director and General Manager: I’ve developed and led several teams in the energy efficiency, energy software and building automation fields. I now lead the Southern California branch, building automation at Schneider Electric. I oversee the profit and loss of all aspects of the branch including sales, service and operations. It’s my dream job - finally a chance to showcase my leadership and ability to build high performing teams in a technical space. My true love is to empower my team to do their work, rather than do the work myself (mid 2007  – present, 13.5+ years).

"My experience at the University of Maryland gave me a great foundation for all of these roles. Go Terps!" Charlotte says.

Balance your home and work life at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric women leaders like Charlotte empower others to advance in their career - and are supportive in terms of balancing home and work life in a healthy and happy way.

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