A New Life in Manufacturing

Liz Moag at Pegasus ManufacturingA new country, a new language, a new state, a new job, a new college. That’s what Elizabeth “Liz” Moag, a manufacturing machine technology major, has experienced since 2011.

Growing up in Tepeapulco, Mexico, Liz’s high school consisted of a one-room classroom with one teacher. She graduated in 2004 and worked in the manufacturing industry in Mexico for about five years—first at Pemsa S.A. de CV in Ciudad Sahagun Hildalgo, making automotive wiring harnesses. She then moved on to work at Bombardier Aerospace.

While working at Bombardier as a trimmer, performing pressure tests with tubes, water, oil and nitrogen, Liz met her future husband, Ross H. Moag Sr. They married in 2010, moved from Mexico to his native upstate New York in 2011, and then to Connecticut later that year.

After Liz received her work permit, she landed a job at Lyman Products in Middletown. She was the second shift lead, packaging ammunition and later assembling bullets with silicone, which are used for target practice. A coworker there told her about Middlesex Community College.

Liz said she always wanted to pursue a career in manufacturing, saying she “gets it” and “wants to show that women are intelligent and strategic, and have what it takes to succeed in the manufacturing world.” Her goal is to help break barriers for women in this field and become a manufacturing engineer.

So in 2016 at Middlesex, she met with an advisor, who put her on course as a part-time student. Determined to master the English language, she also took the Fast-Track English class and was on her way as a college student—all while continuing to work full-time.

Even after Liz completed her English classes, she still appreciates English professor Kristen Grandfield Schimanski for her patience. “When I need a review of my work or general writing, she is willing to help and gets back to me right away. She is very nice, and I loved her as my teacher,” said Liz.

Liz Moag at workWhile she was attending Middlesex, Liz found an aerospace-related job at Pegasus Manufacturing Corporation in Middletown, working her way from trimmer to lead material clerk to planner/expeditor in less then two years. Currently, she is a cell leader there, managing a group of people who build parts from raw materials to finished products. This includes monitoring performance as well as solving problems by identifying the root cause and implementing corrective actions.

When the COVID-19 pandemic transitioned all Spring 2020 classes online, Liz overcame this challenge for the math course she was taking. Thankfully, her philosophy course was already online. Since manufacturing was considered essential and not closed in the state, Liz still had to juggle her work responsibilities along with her studies.

“Even though the pandemic forced us to be apart, I want to thank Kegan Samuel, my math professor, for being so helpful and understanding. He made sure I could grasp and understand subjects through videos, written examples, and emails. He is a great teacher because of his dedication and patience,” said Liz, who ultimately earned an A- in the class.

Liz received the Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship award in the spring of 2020. The scholarship can be used to pay for tuition, books, and small personal tools required by the program. Liz was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was the 2020 recipient of the annual Academic Excellence Award in Manufacturing, Industry, and Technical Careers. She completed her associate degree in December 2020.

“It is my honor to have nominated Liz for this award. She was nominated due to her exemplary grade point average, as she is nearing the completion of her degree at Middlesex,” said Tracy Ariel, director of the advanced manufacturing programs at that time, who presented the award in a virtual ceremony. “We are proud students like Liz represent Middlesex Community College and the manufacturing program.”

“I give Tracy special thanks for believing in me and making me a part of all these wonderful events at Middlesex,” added Liz, who lives in Berlin, Conn. “She gave me the opportunity to be in the spotlight as a woman in manufacturing. With all her support, she has strengthened my confidence and pumped up my motivation to continue my career in manufacturing.”

Written by Thea Moritz in September 2020
Update: In May 2022, Liz began a new position as a production control planner at HORST Engineering and is pursuing a bachelor of engineering from Central Connecticut State University.

(Photos courtesy of Pegasus Manufacturing)