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Encouraging the Next Generation of Engineers

Last updated: 06-25-2020

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Encouraging the Next Generation of Engineers

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re proud to highlight some of the amazing women who make Trane Technologies a great place to work. As part of our series, we’ll showcase the insights of women throughout our company and share their thoughts on the recipe for success. 

Kay Hatlestad discovered the field of acoustics when she was already partway into her engineering mechanics degree. A lifelong musician that comes from a family of engineers, Kay decided to pursue acoustics when she wrote a college paper detailing why her new wooden bass clarinet sounded so much better than her old plastic one.

“I’ve always been interested in acoustics because I like math, science and music,” Kay said. “Acoustics touches just about everything. I've worked on tiny hearing aid microphones and on massive doors that allow you to run a jet engine in a test cell and still communicate in the next room.”

Now Kay is senior acoustics engineer at Trane Technologies’ Commercial HVAC facility in La Crosse, Wisconsin. She’s working on reducing the noise emitted by Trane’s variable air volume (VAV) units.

A volunteer through and through

Kay is well-acquainted with the intersection of volunteerism and career. She has been a Girl Scout leader for more than 20 years.

“I really enjoy watching the girls grow and learn new things,” she said. “And sometimes they help me grow. Apart from leading my own Girl Scout troop, I’ve also volunteered to lead elementary school Girl Scouts through their product design badge through the Society of Women Engineers.”

Kay is also role model for women considering degrees or careers in engineering. Recently, she was profiled on the EngineerGirl website, a service created by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to bring national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering presents for girls and women. It’s also about volunteerism; Kay and other engineers in the directory may be called upon for volunteer opportunities and to answer career questions submitted by website users.  

We need more women

Kay cuts right to the chase.


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