Jennifer C. Hoynak
Jennifer C. Hoynak

The National Nuclear Security Administration is celebrating the women who make up the backbone of our Enterprise. These women work across areas like project management, maintenance, disposition, sustainability and more. Their contributions and accomplishments are what make our workforce so incredible, and their backgrounds and expertise ensure that workforce is just as vibrant and important as the missions they support.

Title: General Engineer – Headquarters Project Manager
Program/Office: NA-APM-21
Years in infrastructure: 8

 

How did you become interested in infrastructure or what was your career path to this point?

My career path led me to infrastructure after joining the Department of Energy in 2013. I previously worked as an engineer in the nuclear power industry focused on systems operations. Once with DOE, my position roles and responsibilities shifted my focus to the infrastructure of the Department’s Headquarters facilities while also supporting Headquarters building operations. After over seven years of managing small projects upgrading Headquarters infrastructure systems, I took a position as a Project Manager with NNSA. In this position, I support large capital acquisition projects across the Nuclear Security Enterprise. Infrastructure was not an industry I anticipated when I started my career, but it has fit well with my strengths and interests in solving problems and managing projects.

Describe a proud moment or accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment was completing my MBA with a concentration in Project Management in addition to working full-time and part-time while on maternity leave. It was a challenge to manage my time effectively while juggling so many roles (student, employee, first-time mother), but it was just as rewarding when I completed my degree. I often look back and wonder how I managed it all. It is a constant reminder that I can accomplish anything if I set my mind to it.

Why do you like working for NNSA?

I started working for NNSA just over a year ago and am continually amazed at the work being done across the Enterprise. I love seeing how my work supports programs directly related to the NNSA mission.

The other aspect of working for NNSA that has been especially rewarding for me is the support I receive for my involvement in the DOE Employee Resource Group POWER (Professional Opportunities for Women at Energy Realized). I joined NNSA at the same time I took over as the Director of POWER. It has been wonderful to work with a POWER Board that is half NNSA employees and to work with NNSA programs that are actively promoting POWER and other Employee Resource Groups. NNSA’s efforts in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) are setting a workplace culture where everyone, including women, can succeed.

What advice would you give to young people considering a similar career?

Don’t let the stereotypes of what an engineer (or other infrastructure careers) “should” be phase you. Anyone can have a career in this field and bring their individuality with them. I’m a female who loves the color pink – not the stereotypical engineer or project manager working in infrastructure. The diversity you bring with you will set you apart and give you the platform for generating new ideas to propel the industry forward.

 

*This is part of an ongoing series for Women’s History Month to recognize women in infrastructure at NNSA*