I have lived in West Newton for 20 years. My professional career has been in engineering, with Raytheon, HP Medical Products and Agilent. My professional roles progressed from being an electrical engineer in a lab to supervising large teams on multi-million-dollar projects. My mind-set is that problems can be better solved working with data, rather than emotions.
My husband John and I have two children who went through the Newton public schools and are now in college; we also have a niece and a foster teen who have benefited from the excellent school system here.
As the oldest of five children in Milwaukee, WI, I grew up as part of a close-knit extended family. As a first-generation college student, I started at near-by Marquette University as a double major – physics and math with a minor in special education. I put myself through school working 60 hrs/week in the summers and teaching 20 swim classes a week during the school year. I had 3 co-ops with Johnson Controls, and still graduated on time with a degree in electrical engineering.
After graduation I backpacked through Europe by myself for 6 months with a Let’s Go book and an Eurail pass. Love of travel and exploration is something we share in our family.
I love history, the ocean and mountains so I decided to take a job with Raytheon knowing no one in the Boston area. I worked in the Raytheon radar transmitter lab for almost 10 years, first as an engineer and later as project manager for multi-million dollar projects supervising up to 100 engineers. Here I met my husband, John Fitzpatrick.
The health care sector also interests me, and my next job was with HP Medical products – defibrillators and cardiographs. After that company split, I joined Agilent as a product manager for high power test systems. I loved my job and would never have thought about quitting to stay at home with my then young kids, but fate happens. I was laid off and it was a good time to stay at home with my family. My husband, also an engineer at Raytheon, needed to temporarily relocate to California and the UK, and we embarked on an adventure.
In 1999 we bought a historic house in West Newton. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and needed a great deal of repairs. As we restored the house, we learned about its first owner, Seth Davis, who was a civic leader and entrepreneur who had a big impact on Newton in the 19th century. Gardening is a hobby and I’m working on our period gardens with plants available in the Boston area from the 1850’s or earlier, trying to stay ahead of our local wood chuck.
I have 2 children, Sean and Lauren, who went to Franklin, Day and North, and are now in college, both studying engineering. We also raised my niece, Alicia, for a few years during high school. We’ve faced challenges with the kids dealing with health issues, and appreciate the world class expertise in Boston’s hospitals. Our foster teen, Simi, who I mentored for 2 years as part of the Transitioning Together (T2) program at North, is now also in college.