Pamela Charleston, PMP, M.S. ’18 is All About the Energy
With three college degrees already in hand, Pamela Charleston, PMP, M.S. ’18 found the strategic thinking she sought in Stevens’ Enterprise Project Management & Business Strategy master’s program. Soon, the energy provider, Exelon, was looking to her for expertise in transforming their approach to new initiatives.
Pamela Charleston, PMP, M.S. ’18 was not your typical Stevens student. By the time she enrolled in Stevens’ Enterprise Project Management & Business Strategy master’s program, Charleston had already earned career success, not to mention a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Mississippi State University as well as an M.S. in Environmental Engineering andan MBA from Illinois Institute of Technology.
"Lucent, my employer at the time, had a partnership with Stevens,” Charleston says. “The university was providing project management training for personnel in the company’s Project Management Office. As an additional benefit, those of us who completed the training could apply the credits toward a Stevens degree program. When the training program ended, I made up my mind to continue on toward a degree at Stevens!"
Today, Charleston works for Exelon, the nation’s leading competitive energy provider.Recently, she hasbeen working with Exelon’s chief executive officer and chief operating officer to transform how the company approaches new projects. "Exelon’s corporate division oversees eight power generation companies, including Exelon Generation, Constellation, BGE, ComEd, PECO, Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco," Charleston explains. “We had been using traditional models of project development, especially when it involved vendor relationships.”
"Now, we are more strategic in how we conceive and develop our projects, and how we partner with vendors,” Charleston continues. “We have peeled back some of the silos and are engaging our vendors earlier in the project planning process. We are asking ourselves: How does this project fit into the overall strategy of the company? How can we deliver business value more efficiently? How can we realize savings? How can we react to changes in the industry?"
By Charleston's estimate, the focus on collaboration and strategic thinking can save the company as much as $20 million per year, but that is only one reason she anticipates the company will continue moving in this direction. "Our partners like being at the table when we are setting the direction, and we like that they help diversify our thinking. We are more confident that the priorities we set are the right ones. We are also becoming more agile –a challenge for a utility company of this size. We can respond to changes and re-prioritize when necessary.”
Charleston feels that her Stevens degree helped her on two levels. “First, it prepared me to think strategically, even more than my MBA did. The Stevens pedigree also encouraged my supervisors to see me as a strategic resource, as someone who can think at that level, and that has brought many exciting opportunities my way."
Although Charleston attended Stevens as a distance-learning student, she was able to visit Castle Point a few times. "It is such a beautiful gem of a campus," she says. Family in New Jersey send photos from time to time so that she can keep up with all of the campus improvements.
She also became a fan of Stevens’ approach to distance learning. “I had always been a big proponent of on-campus learning,” she says. "You learn so much from your professors and the experiences of your fellow students, especially at the graduate level. At first, I was concerned about what I would miss studying online. But the program at Stevens was set up to provide that sense of community." It is hard to say if an achiever of Charleston’s energy will seek yet another university degree, but if she does, we hope it will be at Stevens!