MEET THE TEAM - Diane Maher

Meet the Team: Diane Maher

1. Describe your job as if you were explaining it to a five-year-old.

I help machines and robots that make everyday items like your toys. I make sure the machines are running well, with no problems.

2. What types of projects are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a project implementing upgrades to bring production lines up to EU Medical Device Regulations. Certain parameters related to barcodes and text printed on the packaging must follow a defined format and include specific information to allow better traceability.

3. How did you get into the industry?

After a lot of pedantic deliberation in 5th year of school, I stumbled upon the Industrial Automation course at TUS (Technological University of the Shannon in Ireland). I drew the similarity between that and my favourite TV show, How It’s Made. It ended up being the perfect intersection of software, hardware, electrical, and programming that suited me.

As college progressed, I grew a fondness for PLC programming and knew I’d like to pursue a career to develop my skills in this area. Automation in general is such a versatile choice of career, with many different types of automation being present in the world around us.

4. What is your proudest moment (work life or personal life)?

My proudest moment so far has been building my final year project for my course in TUS. I built a conveyor which could sort Lego blocks by size and colour. Bringing the project from a blank page to functional and running was an amazing feeling.

5. What’s the best advice you could give to someone thinking of coming into this industry?

Engineering can be an intimidating choice in general. If you have any kind of interest in engineering I would pursue it, as there are so many avenues you can specialise in.

When it comes down to it, it doesn’t take a genius, just someone who is willing to put in the time to gain understanding. I think the greater the ambition, the greater the outcome. My end goal with my career is to feel like I’m enjoying my work so much it doesn’t feel like work, and I’ve achieved that.

Automation is very versatile, and you’ll end up working with many different technologies and programs. It always feels new and fresh and there’s so much to learn.

6. Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?

I like tinkering with technology in my own time with devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. I’ve also recently built my first PC. The next project I want to start is figuring out how I can build a small home server. I also like video games of all types, especially retro games.

7. What’s the best thing about working for life sciences customers (pharma, MedTech, etc)?

Knowing I’m making an impact in an important sector. I know I have to maintain a high level of accuracy and detail and I like practicing this every day by default. Pharma is constantly developing and growing so the job opportunities are excellent.

8. What is the best thing about being on the SL Controls team?

The team is kind and supportive. With lots of different personalities, we can all use our strengths to work towards each shared goal. Along with that, we can have a couple of laughs along the way. I feel great pride in my work from finishing an install with the team.

There’s always space for improvement and development also, and everyone is open to suggestions and ways to make our structure better. I feel after joining I’ve gained a sense of independence in my work.