Lockheed Martin Energy
Meet Maggie Gutierrez:
Chief Engineer of Bioenergy at Lockheed Martin Energy and EnerGENIUS. Maggie turns waste into energy. Enough said.
What does the Chief Engineer of Bioenergy do?
Well, it’s a little bit of everything. I check on projects that are in construction and design; I help find new business and partnership opportunities; and I work to develop our technology roadmap and research and development projects that will frame the future of our business.
Why did you want to work in Bioenergy?
It’s not often that you can work on a project that solves three important global issues at once: What to do with the increasing volume of waste that the world is generating? How to generate more power from renewable sources? And how to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases?
Bioenergy, or waste-to-energy, basically solves these three issues in a really beautiful way. First, it reduces the volume of waste going to landfills, then it converts the waste to energy and all of this occurs with less greenhouse gas emissions than landfilling and traditional fossil fuel-based power plants.
That’s why I’m very proud to be working in Bioenergy.
We have to ask: Is bioenergy stinky?
Not as stinky as you’d think! The waste is only in our facility for a maximum of three days before it starts being processed into energy. In a landfill, waste sits much longer so it smells much worse.
What are some of the challenges in this job?
Whenever you are working on new and emerging technologies, there are challenges just from the sheer newness of everything. You have to figure out each step of the way from process to delivery. But even with growing pains, it’s incredibly exciting to build the first of a kind for a company or even a country.
What advice would you give to an aspiring enerGEN-UIS?
I would advise them to find their passion. There are a lot of different ways to make a difference in energy. There are opportunities in designing waste-to-energy plants like I do, but there are also important roles to be played in developing energy strategies or in performing energy efficiency services, both internally for Lockheed Martin and for our customers.
If you weren’t working in Energy, what would you be doing?
I’m really passionate about improving education in America. Before working in energy, I worked for one year as a high school teacher. That year showed me first-hand the challenges students and teachers face with lagging technology and low science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) investment. It also showed me how great it feels to help students be successful. Now I serve as the South Jersey MathCounts coordinator and encourage other industry leaders to find ways to step into the classroom to improve our students’ performance and interest in STEM.