‘Ambitious’ is one of the key words Kristina Vazquez uses to describe herself, and those who know her probably couldn’t agree more. Kristina has used that ambitious can-do spirit during her 21-plus years of service at CPS Energy to learn, grow and succeed.
Kristina began her career with the company in April 2000 at the age of 19 as a Storeroom Clerk, checking out supplies to employees and restocking inventory. Eager to learn about other areas, she accepted a position in Scheduling and then became a Designer in Residential, Multi Family and Large Commercial (services). She was promoted to Supervisor and now serves as Manager of Customer Design & Delivery in the Customer Value Optimization area.
Kristina and her team work directly with large commercial customers, developers and stakeholders to manage, from start to finish, the design and coordination of requests for natural gas and electric services.
“Honestly, I didn’t know anything about electric or gas when I started (at the company),” she said. “When I became a Designer, I learned all the different services that we provide to our customers and community. This sparked my interest – seeing how we combine the technical and personal side of the business to work hand in hand with our customers building homes, businesses or even multi-million-dollar developments.”
Last week, we began a series of blogs celebrating Women’s History Month and the nearly 715 women working in various roles at CPS Energy. Today, we shine the light on Kristina as we commemorate International Women’s Day. Keep reading to learn more about her.
Q: Why did you choose to pursue a career with CPS Energy?
Kristina: I knew CPS Energy was a great company with many opportunities and I wanted to be a part of that. When I started, I don’t think I saw it as a career at the time, but it has truly become a rewarding career.
Q: How is the work you do at CPS Energy important to our customers and community?
Kristina: As the one-point-of contact, our area is responsible for the coordination of design and construction until all the infrastructure has been installed and the meters are set for getting gas and electric services to large commercial customers. Having good customer relations is crucial throughout the entire project, which can range anywhere from 1 to 3 years from start to completion.
Q: How has the pandemic impacted you or the work you do, and how have you managed to stay positive and focused?
Kristina: The pandemic has really impacted how we communicate and set the expectations for all our customers. I don’t think the growth in new developments ever slowed down. On our side, we are dealing with things beyond our control, like the manufacturing or delivery delays of materials or the availability of employees and crews. We’ve had to completely change the way we talk to our customers. We now must have those crucial and transparent conversations upfront to explain obstacles we might face while reassuring them that we’re going to get the job done.
Q: Are there any challenges you’ve faced as being a female in the male-dominant energy industry and how did you overcome them?
Kristina: At times, we (women) must work twice as hard to prove ourselves before some people take us seriously. For example, I’ve been on the design side for 16 years. In my earlier years, when I would meet with builders, electricians, plumbers and contractors, I could sense that they doubted that I could get the job done. That just gave me more motivation to work harder and prove myself through my work.
Q: What changes have you seen over the years regarding women’s careers and the roles women are taking on?
Kristina: There are more opportunities now for women. We have so many women in leadership roles at CPS Energy. At and outside our company, there are women foremen and superintendents, welders, engineers, business owners, and the list goes on. I can only imagine what opportunities will be out there for my daughter.
Q: Is there anything you’ve accomplished at CPS Energy that you’re especially proud of?
Kristina: I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to work my way up in the company by challenging myself to become a subject matter expert in every department I’ve been in.
Q: What piece of advice do you have for others to help them be more successful in their careers?
Kristina: Take pride in your work and let your work speak for itself.
Q: In 3 words or less, how would you describe yourself?
Kristina: Ambitious, personable, honest.
Thank you, Kristina, for sharing your story for Women’s History Month and for your nearly 22 years of dedication and service to CPS Energy!