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Engineering consultant calls team management essential

Published: Monday, October 25, 2010

Updated: Monday, October 25, 2010 07:10

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Meredith Klein / Tufts Daily

Engineering consultant Pamela McNamara (E ‘81) spoke to students on Wednesday night about leadership in the workplace.

Engineering consultant Pamela McNamara (E '81) returned to the Hill Wednesday night to speak with students in the Alumnae Lounge about the significance of critical thinking and problem solving in the workplace, skills that she called essential to engineers and liberal arts students alike.

McNamara is the president of U.S. operations at Cambridge Consultants, a technology consulting firm that specializes in product development and marketing for engineering companies.

Her talk was part of the Lyon & Bendheim Alumni Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program and the Office of Alumni Relations.

In her lecture, McNamara emphasized the significance of teamwork, recalling group projects in her first engineering science course at Tufts. She said these projects played a significant role in teaching her how to organize teams and be an effective team member.

"Find teams that you want to work with," she said.

Expanding on the role of teamwork in the workplace, McNamara supported the idea of having a "characteristically diverse" team, which she said offers a wider range of abilities and talents.

"People are more important than product," McNamara said. "You may have a great idea that may look like a great product, but to make it successful, you have to launch it with a great team."

McNamara's endeavors in the field have spanned over 20 years and have included several leadership positions.

Prior to joining Cambridge Consultants, McNamara was the chief operating officer of CRF Inc., a company that provides electronic devices to monitor hospital patients.

She joined Cambridge Consultants in February 2009 and leads the company's work in technology and product development in medical and wireless technology, among other sectors, she said.

McNamara graduated from Tufts' School of Engineering in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering complemented, with coursework in International Relations, political science and philosophy.

She credited her business success to the breadth of courses she took at Tufts. In an interview with the Daily before the lecture, she remarked on the "international flavor" that Tufts afforded her during her undergraduate career.

"[My coursework] had a large impact on my time at Tufts, my career endeavors and the nature of my role at an international company," she said.

She credited Tufts professors with inspiring and encouraging her to pursue a career in civil engineering.

In her talk, McNamara discussed her division's focus on developing ways to track patients using a Cambridge Consultants-developed software technology that utilizes Bluetooth-equipped microprocessors.

"I am in the business of delivering results," McNamara told the Daily. "Tufts University has the ability to have people who work with cross-disciplines and really challenge themselves. That's what I'm all about."

Sophomore Victoria Sims, an environmental engineering major who attended the lecture, said McNamara's character speaks to the quality of students Tufts sends into the workforce.

"It was an inspiration to me to hear Pam McNamara," Sims said. "She's a strong woman in her field, and it's refreshing to see someone like her in a leadership role and being very successful while simultaneously remaining down-to-earth and approachable."

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