Young Engineer of the Year

Johns Manville Project Engineer Wins Young Engineer of the Year Award

After spending almost two decades working and volunteering in the engineering field, Johns Manville (JM) Project Engineer Jessica Bollin Smith was awarded The Young Engineer of the Year award from the Toledo, Ohio section of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

“To be recognized for all my time, effort, sweat, tears and perseverance means more than words can convey,” Jessica said. “It is truly an honor to me, and I feel so grateful.”

Each year the Toledo section of IEEE awards two engineers for their professional work in the engineering field and in the community. Jessica was nominated by the Toledo section of IEEE’s Executive Committee in 2019 and 2020 and won the award in 2020.

Jessica, who works in JM’s Insulation Systems plant in Defiance, Ohio, said she’s always had an interest in engineering. Coming from a family of commercial and residential builders, the new mom said she would often play with Legos, marble tracks, and build pillow and snow forts as a child.

“As I grew up, I became interested in computers and technology,” she said. “I loved to discover how things worked.”

This interest led her to pursue mechanical and electrical engineering in college and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in both.

Her recent award recognizes her work in the engineering field as well as in the community. Jessica has volunteered with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international STEM program for kids of all ages, for over a decade. She also recently spearheaded the renewal of the IEEE Women in Engineering affinity group in Toledo. In addition to her volunteer work, the award recognized Jessica’s hard work professionally throughout a pandemic and her first pregnancy.

Jessica, who has worked at JM for two and a half years, leads operations for the Defiance Pipe Expansion Project, which recently added the first of two new production lines and improved JM’s ability to meet demand for Micro-Lok® HP and Micro-Lok® HP Ultra fiberglass pipe insulation that’s used primarily in commercial buildings. 

“Through the design, construction and production phases of the project, I help connect the dots between corporate and plant resources, contractors and vendors.” 

Jessica’s manager, Plant Manager John Akey, said that during the pipe expansion project she was always
levelheaded and positive despite many challenges, such as travel limitations and project delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Jessica comes to work every day with a positive, can-do attitude,” John said. “She makes a significant effort to ensure that her co-workers and colleagues are well-informed and understand where progress is being made and is always cognizant of emerging issues and ideas that may require her attention and support.”

Now that the first line of the Defiance Pipe Expansion Project is complete, Jessica plans to continue to refine the new lines processes in preparation for the next line.

“I’m privileged to work with so many great people here in Defiance,” Jessica said.