Editor’s Note: This week is National Engineers Week, and we’re putting the spotlight on some of our own who keep the energy flowing in our region to power homes and businesses.
What’s better than firing up the gas grill for a barbecue with family or enjoying a cozy fireplace on a chilly day? A few million people in San Diego County depend on natural gas directly or indirectly for everyday living and to operate their businesses.
As an engineer for SDG&E’s Gas Distribution Department, Christine Macias-Papierniak is one of the faces working behind the scenes to make it all possible.
“A lot goes into my job, but in a nutshell, my team ensures every home and business is outfitted properly for easy access to gas,” she said.
That means making specific calculations to determine the size of the pipes and meters needed whenever a home or business is built or relocated. In some cases, projects call for custom design and testing in-house.
“Most people don’t realize the scope of how many gas lines run throughout the county to provide energy service,” said Macias-Papierniak. “We make sure the gas lines can actually support existing and future infrastructure development.”
Engineering convenient access to natural gas to millions keeps her job interesting, and that’s why she loves it.
“My day to day projects are always changing. I love the variety, it’s never the same thing, “said Macias-Papierniak.
An Early Start
Her passion for a career in engineering began in high school in Wisconsin and blossomed after she completed a youth apprentice program focused on drafting and design. After graduation, Macias-Papierniak relocated to San Diego to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at San Diego State University.
“That specific program opened my eyes to the industry. It gave me guidance and really helped to influence my career choice,” she said.
Why She Loves SDG&E
While there is a gender disparity in engineering in general, Macias-Papierniak has found her workplace to be a welcoming place.
“I really love my department and appreciate the environment SDG&E has created within the company for all of its employees and the way they just embrace diversity,” she said.
Job Title: Engineer I, San Diego
Originally from: Francis Creek, Wisconsin
Outside the office: In her free time, she loves a good book, spending time with her family and quilting.
Favorite travel destination: She loved exploring the ruins with her husband In Tulum, Mexico on their honeymoon.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? Blue Point Coastal Cuisine in downtown San Diego. She recommends the salmon or scallops.
What would you be if you weren’t an engineer? Before I landed on the career path for engineering, I was interested in marine biology. Science, sea life and dolphins are fascinating to me.