PowerSpot: Amy Fitzgerald
This is PowerSpot, Plug Power’s monthly blog series where we highlight the Plug Power employees who inspire us and, we hope, will inspire you, too. Today, we’re hearing from Amy Fitzgerald, Plug Power’s Global Purchasing Manager.
Amy, you were recently a winner of Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s Women in Supply Chain award. Congratulations – we’re all very excited for you! Can you tell us a little about your job?
Thank you so much! I lead a team of 13 fulfillment buyers located in the US and China, buying from 20+ countries globally. My team supports the purchase of all parts, products, and services for all of our manufacturing locations, as well as our service and field locations. We purchase for NPI (New Product Introduction) programs, all existing products, new customer sites, and legacy builds that we still service in the field – averaging a purchase of ~5,000–6,000 unique parts each year! I lead the team on day-to-day activities, strategy, and continuous improvement. We contribute to Plug Power’s success by continuously improving and growing supplier relationships, working on supplier quality, sourcing competition, cost reduction and negotiations, and process and efficiency improvements.
Any comments about the award?
I am truly honored to be nominated and to have won this award! I just had the chance to see the publication, and it’s very special to see all these strong women leaders in this industry. I appreciate the Plug Power team for recognizing me with the nomination, especially Vice President of Operations, Rick Mason and Vice President of Human Resources, Tammy Kimble. These types of things are always a fun way to take a step back and think about long-term impacts, past successes, and future challenges and opportunities.
What attracted you to the supply chain industry? Could you tell us a little about how your career began?
My career pivot into supply chain happened a bit by chance! I was an advanced manufacturing engineer, working on the scale-up design of the new Energy Storage Battery plant that GE was building in Schenectady in 2009-2010. A sourcing position opened up within the business to bid, negotiate and purchase the large process equipment and other indirect materials. I was already familiar with the supply base, having worked with the suppliers and design engineers on the process and equipment specification side of things, and at the urging of my mentor, I applied and secured that position. Since then, I’ve built out my experience in supply chain through various buyer and commodity manager positions, and now as the Global Purchasing Manager. I’m thankful for my evolution, as I think my industrial engineering education and various engineering positions experience greatly helped me. As I’ve moved through these various supply chain roles, I’ve always taken that engineering-focused problem-solving experience into my roles.
What is your favorite thing about your career?
My favorite thing about my career has always been leaving things better than I found them. Whether that is through training and mentorship, improving processes, fostering a communicative and collaborative environment within my team – if I can make a positive difference in the day-to-day lives of my employees and colleagues, while working towards company goals, that is the most rewarding thing to me.
What about hydrogen and fuel cells inspires you most?
I am not a chemist, so the stack technology always fascinates me on a molecular level! Other than that, the green energy technology aspect really inspires me. Climate change is a complex and pressing issue, which will require multiple coalescing solutions, and if we can be part of that solution with our products and offerings, I’m thrilled to be a part of bettering our planet for current and future generations.
Who is your hero? Why?
I wouldn’t say I have one hero – I think that’s a lot of pressure to put on anyone. But I admire those who exemplify courageous leadership, integrity, passion, honesty, curiosity, humility and compassion. And a sense of humor. ?
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
The one that comes to mind is going rappelling down a rock face that was about 40’ high. Especially for one who is scared of heights, that was definitely daring for me!
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? Why?
So hard to choose! I think I would love to travel back to the period of enlightenment (17th or 18th centuries). I would find it very interesting not only to see some of the scientific and mathematical advancements come to light, but also to see how some of these revered philosophers were thinking and talking about many of the human experience questions we still work through as a society today.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self, if you could?
Start doing yoga now; it’s amazing. Travel more! Speak with confidence – you know your stuff, and you know when you have more to learn. The best is yet to come. ?
Amy, thank you for spending some time with us. Your thoughts and perspectives illuminate just why Plug Power is such a great place to work. And congratulations again on the Executive’s Women in Supply Chain award!