It took Denise Nation a few twists and turns to end up on the Wiring team at UCEC in 2016. Her first career track was in healthcare, but she had a feeling that wasn’t exactly what she was supposed to do. A chance to attend school for avionics electronics was intriguing; Denise says she always liked figuring out how things worked.
“I was always fixing things and taking things apart,” Denise says. “If my radio didn’t work, I would take it apart.”
A New Start
At Redstone College (now Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology), Denise studied avionics electronics with “a lot of military guys” and a few women. She found the work suited her.
“I want my work to look a certain way. There’s a style to how I do it,” she says. After graduating with an associate’s degree, Denise worked at Lockheed Martin as a soldering tech, a talent that comes in handy at UCEC.
Later, Denise was hired on through a temporary agency at UCEC. Although she had never worked on electrical control panels before, Denise quickly started learning. “It’s a little different than wiring an airplane,” she notes. “With airplanes, you run big wire harnesses. When I came to UCEC, I had to learn a lot and figure things out with help from the guys who had been here for a while.”
A Day in the Life
The average work day starts for Denise with tasks such as making tags for the current panels. If there are cards, she’ll do those, and then run all her jumpers and grounds. “I usually go page by page and run all the wires,” she says.
“I’m pretty picky about how they run and how they go. I want to make sure they look nice in the end. Is this all going to go to the same spot, and how can I make it look good? Sometimes, we do have to separate AC and DC power. Is there a better way to separate it to make it look nice?”
Denise likes the collaborative atmosphere at UCEC. “It’s like a close family here,” she says. “Someone is always making me laugh. It’s small but close, and we get our work done. We all work really well together.”
Looking ahead, Denise wants to learn specific skills to make her panel wiring even more exact. “I have been told a lot that I’m way too hard on myself,” Denise says. “I want it to be perfect.”
She also wants to learn more about reading some of the more complex prints so she understands the panel start to finish.
“I do think about the end product,” Denise says. “When I drive my kids past certain companies, I tell them we do panels for them. I’m proud of the product we create.”
Away from the Shop
Denise enjoys driving up to the mountains or taking a trip to Black Hawk. She plays with her kids in local parks, maybe tossing a football with her son or playing with her daughter.