Engineer gets hooked on sustainability

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A. Sue Weisler

Amy Ryan switched her emphasis to sustainability in industrial engineering after her co-op.

Fifth-year student Amy Ryan knew nothing about calculating a company’s carbon footprint when she started her co-op at Wegmans last August.

But after the industrial engineering student from Rochester was assigned to the team looking at ways Wegmans could reduce its carbon footprint, she learned everything she could about the topic. She was hooked.

“(The co-op) changed what I thought I wanted to do and it helped drive where my schooling should be focused,” says Ryan, who switched her emphasis from process improvement to sustainability.

Ryan helped establish sustainability metrics for the company, which included reviewing utility and transportation use. She worked at Wegmans part-time through the school year and over the summer. She had previously worked on co-op at Carestream Health Inc.

Her supervisor, Tony Pisa, says Ryan was one of six students in Wegmans’ maintenance department. That’s up from two students in 2003, when Pisa started in the department. Ninety percent of his co-op students are from RIT.

“They are very skilled at the technical side of the business,” Pisa says about RIT students. “They are really ready to roll up their sleeves and work hard.”