Patricia Howard’s 40-year career in electric work began when a high school electronics class at Anacostia High School sparked her interest. A few years later, in 1983, she enrolled in a job training program for women and people of color through her local electricians’ union. Though it took a few attempts to complete the program as a single parent of a small child, Patricia persevered and officially joined the program by the following year.
By 1992, Patricia had started her Pepco career where she enjoyed the challenging work and the relationships she built along the way. Even as she prepares to retire after 30 years with the company, it’s the culture and camaraderie she says she’ll miss. Patricia’s commitment to her position is apparent. Almost two decades ago she relocated with her family, which extended her commute – for 18 years she drove a total of 116 miles every workday. During her time with the company, Patricia reached many milestones and received several promotions. She will retire at the end of this month as crew lead, which is the highest rank in her department. In this role, she guides her team through their daily tasks and routines to keep operations running.
As Patricia is the first woman to retire from a Pepco substation, we asked what advice she would give to a woman starting a career in her field, she shared, “When coming into work, you must come with a positive energy. Be enthusiastic. Be willing to learn from everyone you encounter. Your commitment to the job will show everyone that you can accomplish just as much as the guys can.” She also remarked that while she did face obstacles along the way, her willingness to take charge and engage with the team made it far less challenging to excel in a field where she was one of very few women.
Although she will miss her work and her colleagues, Patricia is looking forward to new journey full of travel and time with family. She’ll also continue her life outside the substation as a fashion model for several designers in the Washington D.C. area. Way to go, Patricia!