Women in Water: Jennifer Newsome, Franklin Electric

March 18, 2022

Jennifer Newsome is an aftermarket business unit manager for Franklin Electric.

About the author:

Bob Crossen is the senior managing editor for Water & Wastes Digest. Crossen can be reached at [email protected].


Why Water?

It matters. Large dewatering and sewer bypass projects aren’t glamorous, but they affect us all. Most people don't think about these things in their day-to-day lives, but behind the scenes they have a great impact on our lives. Trust me when I say: people know when something is not working right!

What about your current position excites you?

It is an opportunity to grow, improve our processes, and enhance our tools. I can be an advocate and resource for our customers' success. The aftermarket business is different from our regular sales channel in that we are a support network. We must always have a problem-solving and service mentality.

What is your moonshot idea for solving what you consider to be the most important water industry problem today?

We’re here for people when they need us most. If someone is contacting my team, it is usually because a unit needs repair or maintenance. Our pumps work hard, they make a difference and downtime is not an option. Imagine if it was easy to find and decode the part or pump you needed among the thousands available. Securing the appropriate resources within the supply chain is crucial, and we are always looking for ways to improve this aspect of our business.

What role has mentorship played in your career to date?

I have had some great mentors and some more challenging ones. You learn from both sides and try to emulate those aspects that helped you when it's your turn to lead. I came from outside the water industry, and there are a ton of knowledgeable folks who are willing to indulge my inquisitions both within Franklin Electric and at our customer partners. I am always learning from others. There are so many great ideas out there.

What piece of media (books, TV shows, movies, games, podcasts, etc.) has had the greatest impact on you in the past 12 months? 

I don't spend a lot of time with media. When I do have a few minutes of downtime I indulge in TED Talks or other brief articles, often on LinkedIn. Recently I was introduced to the no more zero days movement. I love it and it really has improved my all-around outlook.

What does it mean to you to be a woman who works in the water industry?

I have never really thought of it that way. At the end of the day, my gender is secondary to simply doing a good job. I think of myself as a go-getter and water happens to be the career path I’ve chosen. There are those few times when I pause to look around the landscape, and it is evident that there are fewer women in this industry. Connecting with, supporting and uplifting the women who are around me is definitely a great way to open the door for more balance.