Elizabeth Gamboa has played the trumpet since the third grade and today performs with a local group, the Whitehouse Wind Symphony, which holds concerts throughout central and northern New Jersey.
The orchestra – about 40 members strong – performs all kinds of music: show tunes, jazz, marches, popular songs, even new pieces written especially for the ensemble. That’s the way Liz likes it. She finds the variety of genres exciting. She loves the challenge of tackling a new score and the camaraderie of working it out with her fellow musicians.
Liz feels the same way about her job at PSEG, where she has worked since graduating from Rutgers University in 2012 with a degree in materials science and engineering. She finds joy in the challenge of solving problems side-by-side with great teammates.
Starting out in the company’s headquarters office in Newark, New Jersey, Liz worked as an engineer –modelling seasonal gas consumption and performing asset management studies — before moving to the Planning and Design department.
These jobs made good use of her STEM training in preparation for the next big step in her career. About three years ago, Liz decided that she wanted to get into the field to gain more hands-on experience, so she took a job as project manager for the Metering and Regulating and Gas Plants department. In this position, she manages capital spending, as well as operations and maintenance projects at more than 50 metering and regulating stations, three propane-air peak shaving plants, a propane storage facility and a liquefied natural gas peak shaving plant in New Jersey.
It’s a role that has her traveling throughout the state, often to a different location every day, working directly with supervisors, engineers, mechanics, foremen, laborers and contractors. Many times, she is the only woman in the group, but that doesn’t faze her.
“I find that you show respect, you get respect,” she said, noting that upon taking the new role she spent two weeks on the job, out with the crew performing maintenance work. “Learning by doing.”
“It was a huge help. When you take a piece of equipment apart and put it back together, you learn so much more than by just looking at a diagram on a piece of paper.”
The experience also helped her build a solid working relationship with her colleagues. That’s important to Liz.
“To do this job right, you have to be able to talk to people and get the information you need — it’s critical for the smooth operation of the systems. At PSEG, I can talk to anybody about any project or technical situation, which is a great thing about the job.”
Her advice for other women interested in working in field operations: “Ask a lot of questions. Don’t be afraid to get into the technical side of operations and the equipment itself. Get your hands dirty. Stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your crew.”
When she’s not working, Liz keeps busy at home. She and her husband have a 3-year-old son, who was in daycare until it closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, all four grandparents live nearby and lend a helping hand.
And, she’s not neglecting her music – nor her desire to use her talent to make a difference. She still finds time to practice her trumpet weekly and recently auditioned for Bugles Across America, a volunteer network of musicians who perform “Taps” at veterans’ funerals.
At work and in life, Elizabeth Gamboa keeps hitting all the right notes.