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Diane Rink, Engineering Manager

Diane Rink grew up in a do-it-yourself household. Her family owned rental properties and at an early age Diane was helping out with diagnosing and repairing items from leaky faucets to dryers that were not heating properly.

That kind of curiosity about how things work helped propel Rink into her career as Engineering Manager with Nicor Gas.  Nicor Gas was represented at Explore 2017: a community, curriculum and career expo in October. Nicor employees offered advice to students about careers in engineering, like Diane Rink’s job, and other Nicor Gas employment opportunities that don’t require a college diploma.

Nicor Gas employs many engineers, jobs that require a four-year degree. Rink works in engineering management where she analyzes and reviews infrastructure replacement designs to ensure the designs are executed properly, safely and within budget.

Rink’s upbringing played a role in her career choice, as did her attendance at an Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Women in Science & Engineering summer program when she was a high school junior. She and other students made a pinball machine. For Rink, this experience flipped the switch to the universal role electricity plays in our lives.

Rink enrolled at IIT and earned a degree in electrical engineering, a discipline that stresses methodically answering questions and solving problems.

Rink said it’s critical that students interested in engineering are comfortable with math and science, but it’s also important to have a sense of curiosity about the world.  “Ask a lot of questions and don’t stop asking them until you get an answer that makes sense to you,” she said.

Rink is also big on logic puzzles and word problems because they train your brain. High school students who are budding engineers might not consider taking shop class, but Diane would offer a different perspective on the value of process that is critical in engineering. “Think about a piece of wood and a chair, and think of the steps it took to get from one to the other,” she said.