Female engineer leaves mark on university and energy industry

“Welcome woman and gentlemen.” Valerie von Schramm nevertheless remembers listening to people words and phrases from some 40 decades back when attending conferences with her graduate school friends at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. She also remembers those people uncomfortable times right away following that cordial greeting, when every person would flip to seem at her, the only feminine in the home.

Those people sometimes a little bit overwhelming, Valerie didn’t enable people uneasy moments outline or deter her. Rather, she powered forward. Just after earning a bachelor’s degree in utilized chemistry from McMaster, she went on to turn out to be the initially female to graduate from the university with a doctorate in chemical engineering!

As we proceed celebrating Women’s Historical past Thirty day period, today we shine the light on Dr. Valerie von Schramm.

Valerie came to Texas in 1987. Her first complete-time job in San Antonio was with the Texas Air Control Board, where she was the sole engineer and executed environmental tests and inspections throughout 30 South Texas counties. For the duration of her time with the Air Regulate Board, she labored closely with CPS Energy’s Environmental team. Quick-forward 13 years, Valerie arrived to work for CPS Strength as part of the Environmental crew in September 2000. Her 22-year occupation at the organization has centered around technological innovation and innovation, beginning with that assignment with the Environmental group. There, she managed the company’s Electrical Ability Study Institute (EPRI) portfolio and began research work in Distributed Era, which is electric power created at or near the website wherever it’s applied.

By 2014, she served on innovation groups at the corporation and productively obtained federal funding for exploration initiatives similar to gas cells, merged warmth and ability, strength effective residences and a microgrid. She afterwards joined the Products & Expert services team, working with electricity efficiency and thermostat sellers as element of our prosperous Conserve for Tomorrow Vitality Approach (Phase) application. Valerie upcoming labored in the Grid Transformation & Organizing area, largely managing the Electric powered Car Action Enabled System. In modern months, she rejoined the Items & Products and services staff, exactly where she’s aspect of a new innovation group that will be assessing new technologies for prospective adoption by CPS Energy or its customers. Together with this operate, Valerie serves on quite a few condition and federal technologies advisory committees.

Continue to keep studying to study extra about Valerie, her experiences and achievements, which includes some remarkable EPRI awards!

Valerie von Schramm with her sons Derek and Nigel

Q: Was there everything in certain that drew you to the discipline of engineering?

Valerie: My dad appreciated to tinker and make matters. I had no brothers, so I was his helper when he was operating on the car or truck engine or updating the electrical/plumbing program in our 100-12 months-outdated residence. In high college, I had a amazing chemistry instructor as a mentor. When I entered McMaster, engineering hardly ever crossed my head –  in the early 70s, it was just something that most ladies did not do. I took just one engineering study course as an elective and discovered I exceled at it and liked it. My professors encouraged me to transfer into engineering, so I concluded out my utilized chemistry degree taking all my optional classes from engineering and then acquired an advanced degree in chemical engineering.

Q: Have you and/or your team gained any special awards or honors in the earlier handful of yrs?

Valerie: I’ve been on teams that gained two EPRI Technological innovation Transfer Awards. Final year, we were regarded for exploration do the job on Future Generation Heat Pumps. Conventional warmth pumps are efficient but have challenges creating ample heat when temperatures drop underneath 35 degrees. Advanced warmth pumps are equipped to generate heat at temperatures as chilly as degrees, which would profit our grid by cutting down electric consumption during significant chilly snaps.

In 2016, we attained the award for investigation function relevant to Working day-Ahead Solar Forecasting, which assists figure out how a lot ability can be envisioned from solar vitality the future working day and can help in era planning.

Q: What improvements have you viewed at CPS Electricity about the a long time?

Valerie: When I joined in 2000, quite a few of the systems that we are applying now, this kind of as photo voltaic panels, ended up in their infancy. The speed of technological modify in the marketplace is accelerating and this is shifting our do the job setting. Our new get the job done ecosystem will demand us to be flexible, adaptable and have robust interaction competencies.

Q. Explain to us about how your legacy of services to CPS Vitality is continuing.

Valerie: My son Nigel will work for CPS Energy, in Overhead Construction Providers as a Metrics Program Manager. He’s aiding overhead development with strengthening economic tracking programs. Nigel gained his bachelor’s degree in enterprise finance from Texas Condition University. 

Q: In 3 words and phrases or much less, how would you explain you?

Valerie: Ground breaking, resourceful, honest.

Rachel Pence

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