Mary Perkinson
Manager Engineering II
Newport News Shipbuilding
Newport News, VA

"My role model is my father. He told me I could be whatever I wanted and to not allow anyone to take away my dreams. This gave me the strength to make some of the best decisions of my life instead of listening to those who opposed my progress.”

An engineering manager II in Crane Engineering, Mary is responsible for 10 direct reports and an annual budget of approximately $15M.  Her team has developed a crane commissioning and endurance testing process to detect discrepancies and intermittent problems prior to load testing and putting the crane into service, resulting in improved crane reliability and more efficient production for trade personnel. Her role also involves coordination of numerous cross departmental resources to ensure that projects meet the requirements of stakeholders and are completed on schedule.
Mary has taken a non-traditional career path.  Despite an early interest in engineering, she earned a bachelors degree with a focus in fashion design.  After graduating, she started a business, HavtaHavaHat, a company that designed custom original hats for sale in galleries and stores. Though her creations were popular and even won some awards, the income instability led her to accept an offer to be a designer draftsman for her father’s engineering business. Once she began designing in AutoCAD, she renewed her interest in engineering and returned to school to obtain her bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering
Mary’s strategy for success includes sharing the excitement of her work with fellow community members. She is an active member of her technical community and has provided support to a number of engineering organizations including the Society of Women Engineers Board of Directors, several Virginia Commonwealth University Boards and as a technical mentor for FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) robotics teams.  Mary understands the importance of having outreach programs like Invent It Build IT, FIRST, and their part in creating the next generation of diverse leaders in STEM professions.

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