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Drivers of Innovation: UL’s Engineer Project Associate, Transparency Builds Trust

As she approaches her 10-year anniversary at UL, Melanie Nauta discusses her idea of what working at UL really means.

Headshot of Melanie Nauta

June 23, 2021

As she approaches her 10-year anniversary at UL, Melanie Nauta now serves as engineer project associate at UL’s Appliances, HVAC and Lighting (AHL) division. A native of Buenos Aires, Nauta pursued her degree in industrial engineering, and gained expertise helping customers with S-Mark certification in Argentina as well as INMETRO certification in Brazil.

How did you come to join UL, and what has your career path here been like?

I was in my third year studying engineering, and I wanted to start working to develop my first steps toward my profession. So, I applied to some job posts online, not many, and Gaby Gonzalez (now our senior human resources generalist at UL in Mexico) sent me an email to coordinate a meeting by phone. I still remember that I was so nervous that when my cell phone rang I accidentally threw it off the desk and it completely fell apart! In one hand I had the phone and on the other the battery. Luckily, she called again (thanks Gaby!). This was almost 10 years ago, and on the 15th of August 2021 I will be officially 10 years with the UL family!

My career in UL started as a project handler for the S-Mark program in Argentina, and later on I moved on to engineering project handler, then to engineer project associate for Consumer Technologies. Nowadays I’m part of AHL not only for S-Mark (Argentina) but also INMETRO (Brazil).

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was born in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, and I grew up in Olivos, which is a suburb of the city, with my mother and older brother. I completed my basic studies and bachelor’s degree in economics, all at the same school, which became like a second family for me after 16 years of studying at the same place.

What led you to your field of study and engineering career path?

When I graduated from school I did not have a strong preference in terms of profession, and I chose my career based on the subject I liked, which was science. My older brother was already studying mechanical engineering, and that’s how I became interested in engineering myself. But not so much mechanics — that is not my thing. I chose industrial engineering because, after researching, I found that it was the type of engineering that allows you to study a bit of everything. So, given my indecision, industrial engineering was a better fit for me.

The idea of trust is a key part of UL’s mission. How do you help ensure that UL lives up to this mission, and how has UL earned your trust in it as a company?

Day by day, I pursue transparency with my customers. I work so that they trust me and I trust them. I tell them that UL is not the nonconformity police, but a partner seeking to improve and elevate their products by working together with them.

UL has earned my trust, first thanks to the kind team in Argentina, who taught me, trained me, supported me, accompanied me and trusted in me all these years. During this pandemic period, I miss seeing the faces of those people with whom I spent so many hours together, but also our virtual capacity has allowed me to relate to my current team, which I still do not know in person, since they reside in Brazil. They are also kind people who show their patience every day to answer my million and one questions.

It is not UL who has earned my trust, but its wonderful employees that makes UL itself. 

When we talk about the term Pride Month, what exactly does that mean to you?

First, it's weird, because in Argentina it takes place in November ...  So it's always a beautiful surprise for me when UL fills up with rainbows during June.

Second, and most importantly, the PRIDE UL business resource group and UL’s D+I culture, give me loads of joy and relief knowing that I can be who I am in a transparent way. We are all accepted and respected equally within this huge and loving family. The colors in rainbows are beautiful and whether you feel represented by one, some or all of them, together we form this wonderful rainbow of love that shines for us all.

In the U.S., several businesses have endorsed the Equality Act that would extend workplace fairness principles to LGTBQ+ employees (if enacted by Congress). What does it mean to you that UL has officially endorsed this proposed legislation?

It means that where I work, where I invest most of my time and energy, is a company that I am proud to be a part of. UL is beyond the taboos, preconceptions and discriminations that decades ago should have disappeared. Or better, never existed. To all UL employees, I am proud to call you family.