Women Finding Success in Mechanical Design & Engineering

CLEVELAND, WI – Though mechanical design and engineering is a field historically dominated by men, anyone who is naturally curious about things, detail-oriented, and good at solving problems has the potential to succeed. Jill Brotz, a May 2024 Lakeshore Technical College graduate of the college’s Mechanical Design & Engineering Technology program, is doing her part to increase diversity in the field.
“I strongly encourage females to enter this field!” says Brotz, who is employed as a mechanical design engineer. “Females are definitely underrepresented in Mechanical Design Engineering.”
Brotz, a Sheboygan resident, says she didn’t grow up with much interest in mechanical things and struggled with confidence when she first entered the program in spring 2022.
“I was comparing myself to men who grew up with it. But I’ve learned that there are so many other skills that go into being successful as a design engineer, such as a high attention to detail, a curious mind, and a problem-solving mentality. Learning the ins and outs of mechanical design comes with time, through school and job training,” Brotz says.
Brotz became interested in mechanical design and engineering after observing engineering teams at the fabrication company she previously worked at. She wanted to move forward in her career, and the design engineers were very helpful in advising her on the proper steps to take. Some of the design engineers she worked with at the time were Lakeshore graduates who recommended the Mechanical Design & Engineering Technology program to her.
“Jill is proof of how successful females can be in a field traditionally filled with men. I welcome more females to join me and Jill in this field,” says Lakeshore Adjunct Instructor Kelly Ryba.
Brotz started as an intern at UNISIG before getting offered her current full-time position a few months later. The Menomonee Falls company engineers and manufactures drilling machines and systems for use worldwide.
Brotz brought design work experience from her previous job and believes she was ultimately hired due to her experience with the design software, the impending completion of her associate degree, and her previous experience as a hands-on fabricator. Brotz says UNISIG also appreciated her having Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt certification, which she earned at Lakeshore.
While Brotz was still a Lakeshore student, UNISIG tasked her with redesigning a particular mechanism.
“I was able to improve on the design by making it more cost-effective and easier to manufacture. I also worked closely with our electrical and automation teams to improve the design for their needs. It turned into a more complex project than what was initially planned, but the result was very positive,” says Brotz. In addition, Brotz says she will be able to apply the improvements to similar products.
During a tour of UNISIG in April, Ryba had the opportunity to see the machine Brotz redesigned and learn more about how valuable Brotz had become to the company.
“Not only was the company impressive in their engineering, manufacturing, and machine building, but for me it was so great to see how Jill has applied the skills she learned at Lakeshore to the significant work she does at UNISIG as a mechanical design engineer,” says Ryba.
Ryba also says she learned from UNISIG representatives that Brotz was instrumental in the company bringing its fabrication department in-house, work which had previously been fully outsourced.
“Jill is a terrific example of the top caliber Mechanical Design & Engineering Technology program students Lakeshore is training to satisfy needs in the manufacturing industry,” says Ryba.
In spring 2024, Brotz was one of only four females enrolled in the program at Lakeshore.
For information about Lakeshore’s Mechanical Design & Engineering Technology program, visit gotoltc.edu.

Lakeshore Technical College is a comprehensive community and technical college educating more than 9,000 students annually. Students enroll at Lakeshore to master real-world, employable career skills and start their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Lakeshore faculty and staff are focused on providing each student an individualized learning experience.
Lakeshore Technical College is a nationally recognized two-year college. The college was ranked #2 in the nation by Washington Monthly, #17 in the nation by Forbes, #20 in the nation by WalletHub.com, a top-150 two-year college by the Aspen Institute, a 2024 Bellwether Award winner, and named the 2021 Large Business/Industry of the Year by the Chamber of Manitowoc County.
Approximately 800 students graduate from Lakeshore each year, and associate degree graduates report earning a median salary of $55,698 within six months of graduating. In addition to the Cleveland campus, Lakeshore educates students at learning campuses in downtown Manitowoc and downtown Sheboygan. Classes are also offered at additional sites throughout the district. Visit Lakeshore at gotoltc.edu.
Contact:                Teri Sturm, Marketing Copywriter
Phone:                  920.693.1144
Email:                   teri.sturm@gotoltc.edu
Press Room:         gotoltc.edu/about-us/ltc-news


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