Women Worth Watching 2015

Sara McCoy

SRP’s First Female Plant Manager Reaches Out to Mentor Other Women


web SRP_McCoyWhen Sara McCoy graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in mechanical engineering, she was one of a handful of female graduates. When she was hired by Salt River Project 21 years ago, she was one of a few female trailblazers.

Today, Sara is the SRP’s first female power plant manager. Under her leadership, the Aqua Fria power plant provides reliable power to the more than one million customers in the Phoenix metropolitan area. And, during her tenure with the utility, Sara has made her mark as a pioneer and mentor to younger female engineers.

“…it’s people that make things happen.”

“I would have to say my biggest career leap came when being promoted to manager—leading people instead of managing projects,” said Sara. “I learned that people are much more dynamic.”

“Facts and information are interesting, but it’s people that make things happen.”

As SRP’s first female plant manager, Sara knows she has a unique opportunity to have a lasting impact, by giving employees opportunities to learn and by working with the next generation of employees as a steering committee member on two SRP internal groups—the Rotational Engineer Program and the Women’s Interest Network (WIN), which supports SRP women employees and fundraising for community nonprofits. She also participates in SRP’s mentoring program, which enables her to support development plans and provide learning opportunities for employees and college interns.

The Scottsdale resident, and working wife and mom, is also an active member of the company’s Employee Booster Association and a supporter of and participant in Adopt-a-Family, Christmas Angel, and other SRP community volunteer programs.



Education: BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Arizona

First Job: Babysitting

What I’m Reading: “Grace Based Parenting” by Tim Kimmel, and “Turn the Ship Around” by L. David Marquet

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…


The career advice I’d give my former self:

…is to remember that facts and information are interesting, but it’s people that make things happen.

Words I live by:

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” – Saint Augustine

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

…to be more patient with people.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…

…collaborate with others to produce the best solution.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…

…being promoted to manager and leading people instead of managing projects. I learned that people are much more dynamic.

Being a woman in my profession has been…


I’ve learned that failure is…

…an opportunity to learn.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…

… remembering that faith and family are most important.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…

…I solve a problem, either on my own or on a team. I like to solve problems and engineering is all about solving problems.