Deputy Head of Department Power Plant Technology
Claudia Dalton is deputy head of the power plant engineering department at STEAG Energy Services. In spite of her project work, she still manages to combine working and family life.
Claudia Dalton (44) wrote her thesis at STEAG and is now deputy head of the power plant engineering department.
When did you join STEAG, and what route have you taken through the company?
Towards the end of my degree course in process engineering in 2001 I began looking for a company where I could write my thesis. Being Essen born and bred, I was aware of STEAG as an interesting employer, and so I was delighted to be able to write my thesis in the field of water treatment technology. Afterwards, however, I decided on a move to a manufacturer to become better acquainted with the various occupational fields of an engineer in the context of a trainee program. I finally found my professional home as Project Engineer in the power engineering division at SES at the end of 2002, and have been with the division ever since, holding varying positions. I became deputy head of the power plant engineering department in 2010 and occupy this post part-time since the birth of my son.
What does your day-to-day work consist of?
80 to 90 percent of my time is taken up with operational work in a planning and construction project for an external customer. This involves both project management and detailed engineering for the construction of a CCGT plant. I spend the remaining 10 to 20 percent of my time dealing with staff management and administrative matters.
You work as a woman in an engineering occupation in a managerial position. There are bound to be one or two hurdles to contend with. Do you have any words of advice?
As yet, I’ve not encountered any gender-related hurdles or “glass ceilings” at STEAG. The biggest hurdle and problem in our division is reconciling part-time working with project work and the acceleration in communication due to modern media. SES has only limited control over the time pressure here, for example; on the contrary: it is third parties who determine the working day. The daily working hours involved with external appointments are also often in contrast to the supervision times offered by schools or children’s day nurseries. We’ve hired an au pair to get around this problem.
What is your experience of the STEAG family?
Family is extremely important to me, and so I really appreciate the fact that my colleagues do, actually, feel like a big family. We work very well together beyond the division boundaries. What I’ve always found particularly impressive is the responsiveness: the size of the company means that we’ve got a suitable expert for (almost) everything, but we’re still compact enough to get hold of the right person quickly.
And what about outside work, where do you draw strength from there?
First and foremost from my family. I can only concentrate on my work if they’re well. I also enjoy going for walks and doing outdoor sports. And to balance out my male dominated job I've got a few women’s networks that are very important to me. This enables me to see the advantages of my job or where and how our company can perhaps learn from other industries. These friendships ultimately help me to keep a close eye on my mindset towards my job, stress and family.