Meet Morgan Ackley and Learn How NSTAR Supports Continuing Education
Let’s face it: Rock star employees are harder than ever to come by. At NSTAR, we’re always looking for that particular spark in an employee, and when we find it, we’ll do what we can to fan the flame. We know building a solid and devoted team is a two-way street that requires investment in employee growth on our part.
Morgan Ackley is one of those rock stars.
When Morgan joined us in April 2018, we recognized her spark right away. Although she had no previous experience in the semiconductor industry. We were impressed by Morgan’s laser focus, attention to detail and can-do spirit. She also demonstrated a solid work ethic.
Morgan came to NSTAR with an eclectic post-grad career background as a library assistant, veterinary technician and writing consultant. She originally planned to put her English and Spanish degree to use as a full-time librarian. But after a few years of searching, and working three jobs to supplement her income, Morgan knew it was time to reevaluate her decision.
“I realized technical writing fit my personality, skills and ambitions nicely,” explained Morgan. “I wasn’t exactly sure what NSTAR was when I applied. But I was interested in learning more about the field and how NSTAR supports its clients.”
Based on her excellent writing skills, we placed her with a semiconductor manufacturing client in Boise, Idaho. In a technical communication role. As part of her job, Morgan creates, edits and manages operational, instructional and maintenance documents and procedures for updates and periodic reviews. Her specialty is making technical information understandable for nontechnical users. Even without an engineering background, Morgan was a quick learner, and developed a keen interest in semiconductor manufacturing.
“I was amazed at how much time and how many processes, chemicals and people go into making small, but highly valuable products,” she said. “I’m still blown away by how many systems and elements are used to make the chips that go into my cellphone.”
Morgan attributes her successful acclimation to the semiconductor industry to her ability to think analytically. Coupled with her ability to evaluate problems to find the best solution, and ensure that all aspects of a problem are addressed before moving on.
“I don’t just learn what I need to do a job,” she noted. “I try to learn and understand everything I can about the material I process. So that I can improve my performance and gain the knowledge to better understand the material I’m writing and editing.”
Getting a master’s degree in technical communication was already on her mind, and working for a few months in her new role confirmed that decision.
“I enjoy working with customers to solve problems, developing content that helps our customers meet goals and perform work, and learning new technologies”. added Morgan. “A master’s in technical communication will help me better manage my projects, design user-friendly and effective documents, evaluate user needs, and provide the materials to suit that need. I’ll feel more confident in my position having the formal knowledge of a technical communicator.”
Morgan knew that we encourage our team members to continue their education. Also that when the situation calls for it, we may even reimburse tuition expenses. So she decided to go for it. To try to balance a full-time job with night classes at Boise State University.
“Morgan is such a rare individual and an asset to NSTAR, that when she approached us about supporting her continuing education, we wanted to help.” said Lance Reynolds, Morgan’s operations manager.
“After a lot of consideration, and with the support of NSTAR management. We decided tuition reimbursement was a worthwhile investment. That would not only help her in her future, but would also greatly benefit our client.”
How does she balance a full-time job and graduate school? Morgan says she’s still figuring that out. It helps that she has a fairly flexible day schedule and can leave early some days to attend night classes. In general, she says NSTAR provides a good work/life balance. So she can accomplish what she needs at work and for school. However, it depends on the course workload. Some are more demanding than others, and at times she has to give up free time to do both. But it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.
When she does have free time, Morgan likes to spend it rock climbing. She says the hardest climb she’s ever done is a 400 ft. multipitch at Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. “The climbing grade was fairly easy. But the exposure was a big mental challenge for me and continues to be,” Morgan said. “This was the first multipitch I’d ever done. So learning how to belay and communicate with my climbing partner was challenging as well.”
“I feel tremendous gratitude to NSTAR for helping out with my schooling,” noted Morgan. Adding that it has made her feel more loyal to the company.
Morgan’s willingness to learn and grow, combined with her excellent technical abilities and organizational skills, makes her a valued and respected member of the NSTAR team. Reimbursement of her tuition was an advantage to us as well as to Morgan, and it’s an investment we were glad to make.
By NSTAR’s Communication Team