Laura Ruiz-Santamaria
Lead Manufacturing Engineer
Caterpillar Inc.

"Being a part of this innovative and demanding industry, with limitless potential, is an honor. I am part of a team that strives for continuous improvement in the products we deliver. I enjoy experiencing the journey of providing a finished quality machine that will transform our customers’ progress."

Laura has been instrumental in the success of several key Caterpillar projects.  Most recently, Laura volunteered to provide onsite implementation support to the Denver distribution center, demonstrating leadership by addressing customer concerns, identifying potential problems before implementation, and training to address grief. In her current role, Laura relies on her technical and leadership skills to manage communicating changes to all manufacturing engineers for assembly and sets up new engineering models and daily accountability reports.  
Laura played an active role in mentoring others as an undergraduate and master’s student. Using her leadership positions through different student organizations, Laura strived not only to educate others about careers in the STEM fields, but also of the resources available in and out of campus to achieve those goals. Laura cofounded a mentorship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers that aimed to maintain, retain, and encourage incoming freshmen students to continue in STEM careers. 
As a member and leader in student organizations, Laura was heavily involved in creating an impact not only on campus, but also in the community. She is a current board member of the Caterpillar Latino Connection (CLC), and serves as a teacher and a coordinator of corporate Spanish classes to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Laura also participates in the yearly United Way Campaign. . In addition to her involvement in activities organized by CLC, Laura continues to volunteer in the local Morton Pumpkin Festival, the Fight to the Finish 5K, which benefits the Children’s Hospital of Illinois, and the St. Jude Run/Walk.    

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