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IMG_0323_E.jpgWhy Diversity and Inclusion Matter to Engineer Yesenia Meraz-Torres

by Abram Hernandez


30 January 2019


Yesenia Meraz-Torres, a Senior Design Engineer based in Portland, became the newest member of the ESCO Women’s Network (EWN) Steering Committee in February 2018 and has big plans for expanding the EWN’s role to promote workplace diversity and gender equality.


The first in her family to receive a graduate degree, Yesenia grew up in a Mexican and Guatemalan household that always encouraged her to pursue her aspirations and reach her goals. There, she developed a passion for learning how things work from an early age by working on cars alongside her mechanic father. In high school, she enjoyed taking mechanic and auto tech classes, and eventually, a teacher encouraged her to pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

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​Yesenia graduated from Oregon State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree and in 2014 with a master’s degree, both in mechanical engineering. During her graduate studies, a former colleague of ESCO introduced Yesenia to the company. Yesenia jumped on the opportunity to join the design engineering team.


Throughout her nearly five years with Weir, Yesenia has become a key member of the design engineering team. She currently works as a Senior Design Engineer with New Product Development, using her unique engineering and design skills to help develop new products for the company. In her most recent design project, she took the lead in developing techniques and implementing the use of a new software to identify and reduce quality defects in manufacturing. Yesenia is a technical lead in several software programs. She is respected by her peers and enjoys coaching others to expand the capabilities of the engineering community.


Created in 2014, the EWN focuses on empowering women professionally and providing them opportunities to network, to connect and to learn. The EWN hosts events throughout the year to promote professional and skills development, mentorship, diversity and inclusion—all important topics, particularly in STEM industries.

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A nation-wide January 2018 study on workplace equity found that women make up approximately 14% of all engineering jobs, making it one of the least diverse STEM industries in the country. Yesenia and Weir are looking to change that with company-wide initiatives in 2019.  As a female engineer, Yesenia strives to encourage the next generation of female talent to pursue STEM and not follow the status quo. Young girls reach out to her for mentoring and how to navigate the engineering world.


In October, the EWN hosted a panel discussion with three female Weir non-executive board members: Mary Jo Jacobi, Barbara Jeremiah and Clare Chapman. Yesenia helped organize the event and facilitated the discussion. With more than 35 women from various divisions of the company, the conversation ranged from the challenges women face within the engineering industry to the importance of empowering a culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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“Diversity allows us to bring distinct individuals together, while inclusion gives way to making each feel unique, yet a part of the whole and welcomed,” said Yesenia. “In the [recent EWN panel] discussion, we explored the ways in which diversity and inclusion help us collaborate and innovate as a business and how we can address the challenges we face in this area.”


The recent Weir-ESCO merger provided a unique opportunity for two companies with similar cultures and values to come together and put a greater focus on improving gender equality and diversity within our newly-combined teams. As a global company operating in over 70 countries, Weir is committed to improving gender equality and diversity across its global teams. 

Yesenia's upbringing was centered on teaching and showing respect and empathy toward others. In high school and college, she experienced inequality, because of her gender and ethnicity. These experiences have driven Yesenia to always strive to ensure everyone’s voices are heard and acknowledged. With a unique perspective on diversity and inclusion, especially within traditionally less-diverse STEM industries, Yesenia will continue to be a valuable resource within the EWN and Weir as we continue to promote these important values.


Advocating for and embracing a culture of diversity and inclusion will pave a better and brighter future for Weir,” said Yesenia.