The engineering industry lost a dynamite engineer and person last month. Suzanne Audra (Muzzey) Seminara, 39, passed away June 16, 2017 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Suzy was my classmate in undergraduate engineering school, and my wife’s college roommate. The three of us spent a lot of time together in college, mostly doing engineering homework or assignments, but always laughing.
Suzy was always one of the happiest, most positive people I remember from my four years in college. It was like a smile was cemented onto her face, because no matter what had happened to her, no matter how many assignments she had, she was smiling.
After graduation, my wife and I moved to northern New Jersey, took engineering jobs, and eventually had kids while Suzy took a great job with Lockheed Martin for which she eventually moved to Texas. We kept in touch sporadically and would see each other once a year or so.
Suzy really advanced at Lockheed, and she would always tell us about the amazing projects she was leading within the company including being a project manager on Lockheed’s F35 Program.
There was so much more to Suzy than engineering though, and unfortunately, it was through her death that my wife and I were reminded of this, specifically at her funeral service, where the room was packed to capacity and one person after the next talked about how amazing of a person she was.
Suzy would marry another Lockheed Martin engineer Gary (on a ski slope in New Hampshire) and together they were blessed with two beautiful boys over the past five years.
Suzy lived life to the fullest every day….
The more I think about Suzy and reflect on her service where one person after the next spoke so highly about her, it made me think deeper about the impact we have on people during our lives.
You see, no matter how busy Suzy was, she somehow made time for everything and everyone.
She was a shining star in the Lockheed F35 program, but that was only one aspect of her life. She was a dynamite sports junkie and visited 22 baseball stadiums during her life. She was an avid outdoor person and loved to ski, hike and really do anything outdoors. Her and her husband traveled, hiked, and really experienced the world. She always looked to help people in all walks of life. Then, when she had kids, she became an amazing mother without slowing down in any other avenues of life.
Through my work as a career coach with engineers, between my podcasts and articles, I have had the opportunity to touch millions of engineers, and one common theme between engineers is that they are stressed out. They work long hours on tedious projects and their careers usually overtake their lives.
I had always wondered if there was a way that someone could be a successful engineer, and also have a fulfilled personal life, but it was hard to find many engineers that were able to do this.
Now I realize that Suzy achieved this. She somehow was able to do so many things well and touch so many people on a daily basis without losing a step in her career or her family life; and she never appeared to be stressed at all. I don’t know how she did it, and unfortunately we may never know.
There is no excuse not to live like Suzy…
Because my wife and I hadn’t spoken to Suzy in a little over a year, we didn’t even know she had cancer. This made the announcement of her passing even more of a shock to us.
In some ways, I wish we would have known and in some ways, I am glad we didn’t.
What I can say to you though after these past few weeks of reading Suzy’s blog about her battle with cancer and attending her funeral service is: live like Suzy.
I haven’t quite figured out her equation yet for living such a full life (I know she had an equation – she’s an engineer), but so far this is what I can share with you:
- Be the best in your engineering field,
- Work hard, but also play hard when you are not working,
- Engage in things that you are passionate about, even if it means you take some time off,
- Do work that you love to do,
- Help people, even if it means you might have to slow your own career down to do so,
- Treat everyone like they are special, even if they are younger or less experienced than you,
- Make people feel special as often as possible,
- Never stop shooting for your goals, no matter how many obstacles are in your way, and no matter how many people tell you, you can’t do it.
Suzy was like the little engine that could – and she did!
I will always remember Suzy and continue to learn from her as time goes on, and I will share with you what I learn. Suzy’s legacy is too great to ever forget about her and I hope I can figure out ways to spread her inspiration to as many people as possible.
Think about when the time comes for your own funeral service. Will the room be packed to capacity – why or why not? Just some food for thought….
No matter what you do, live like Suzy every day.
Suzy – I wish we would have gotten the chance to talk one more time, laugh one more time, hug one more time, but regardless, we know you will always be here with us.
Rest in peace Suz, although I know you’ll be working on something, wherever you are….