Meet Louisa Simmons, SRP’s first female engineer

SRP’s first female electrical engineer, Louisa Simmons holds a special place in our history. This trailblazing woman was a pioneer in what we now call a STEM-focused career path.

In 1947, SRP hired Simmons as the first woman in the Engineering Department. Simmons’ job was to study numbers and do planning work for SRP. She was the only woman at SRP with a degree in electrical engineering at the time.

Related Read: What it means to be a female engineer at SRP

Celebrating Women’s History Month with the stories of outstanding women at SRP

Louisa Simmons Cook, SRP's first female engineer. Photo courtesy of SRP Research Archives & Heritage
Louisa Simmons, SRP’s first female engineer. Photo courtesy of SRP Research Archives & Heritage.

While in the Engineering Department, Simmons worked with F.L. Roe to co-publish a paper titled “Local Conditions Affecting Loading Standard 55°C Transformers,” which was also presented at a convention put on by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.

In order to raise her children, she left SRP in 1955. Previously known as Louisa Simmons, she returned to SRP as Louisa Cook in 1962. She worked in the System Planning Division of District Engineering.

Today, we recognize Simmons’ breakthrough career as an important moment for women in what has been a largely male-dominated industry.

Equally important, is a list of other women in break-out roles like Nina Duncan, SRP’s first female newsletter editor. More recently, Sara McCoy became SRP’s first female plant manager.

Supporting women, like Louisa Simmons, in their career paths

Although SRP has a strong legacy of supporting women in trailblazing leadership roles, there is still much work to be done industrywide.

According to the Society of Women Engineers, only 13% of engineers are women. This infographic shows some fast facts around women in engineering and other STEM-related fields.

That is to say, SRP is stepping up to the plate to deal with this challenge. We are proud to offer leadership training, two Employee Interest Groups devoted to women and a strong mentorship program.

In fact, if you are looking for opportunities at SRP, be sure to visit srpnet.com/careers.

Chelsea

Chelsea

Chelsea is a Historical Analyst with SRP’s Research Archives. Born and raised in Mesa, Chelsea completed her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology at Brigham Young University and her Master’s Degree in Museum Studies at ASU. Chelsea is responsible for caring for and managing SRP’s physical and digital historic collections that record the history of the Salt River Project.

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