Taylor Dziekciasz’s Humble Beginnings Lead to New Role at Wabtec

| November 29, 2021

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – There is a quote from Maya Angelou that says “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Certainly, I will never forget how Taylor Dziekciasz made me feel back in December 2018.

It was a cold and lonely day that was spent in the John M. Lilley Library on the campus of Penn State Behrend. Taylor and I had gotten to know each other from days spent in Behrend’s Junker Center playing intramural basketball. From the first time I met her, I could tell how competitive and driven she was.

Driven is probably the most accurate word to describe the 22-year-old, as she balanced a collection of activities during her college years including Lion Ambassadors, a year of college basketball, a job with the intramural office, and a full class load of business courses. On that December day, we met in the library to study for a history exam. It was something that was regular for us as we had met before the previous three exams.

Going into this one, it was the final examination. As expected, it was a stressful and intense time for everyone; myself included. After a two-hour study session that included jointly typing up a study guide, Dziekciasz looked at me reserved and said that she needed to tell me something. Taylor and I had known each other for well over a year, but I was not sure what may come out of her mouth next.

To my surprise as much as not to my surprise, Dziekciasz informed me that our professor, Dr. Patrick Cosby had informed her that because she was doing so well in the course, she did not have to take the final examination. However, she knew this prior to our study session and still decided that it was important to show up, remain consistent, and help me out as I prepared for the exam. For the record, I also got an A in the class, but Taylor got a higher grade.

So, what does this have to do with being a young professional?

Well, it truly has everything to do with it. It is not all about what is on someone’s brag sheet or resume, but it is a mixture of what they have accomplished and their character. For Dziekciasz, there is no question she is a high character person.

Her beginning started out like many in the Venango County area as a small-town kid who was involved in sports and various community-related activities. However, there was something unique about Dziekciasz and her older sisters, Kayla and Victoria’s, upbringing. This was the fact that she and her sisters were an important part of the Dziekciasz family businesses. Predominantly, their involvement meant helping at the family greenhouse called the Wyatville Garden Center.

For around a decade, Dziekciasz spent a few hours after school assisting her parents with whatever was needed at one of the family’s businesses. When talking about the experience, the Franklin native said this:

“It showed me the value of a dollar and having to work for what you want. I wanted to buy horses, and my parents helped me learn to save and prove to myself that in life, things do not just get handed to you. I feel like this helped me get a head start on a lot of my peers. I worked even when I did not want to, and I credit my parents for pushing me to do so.”

Dziekciasz grew up attending St. Patrick’s in Franklin before making the commute to Oil City for her days at Venango Catholic High. She was a member of the Vikings girls’ basketball program that won the District 9 title in 2015, but would also be a member of the Lady Orioles of Rocky Grove basketball program for a time as Venango Catholic and Rocky Grove co-oped.

Besides this, Dziekciasz was heavily invested in 4-H since the age of ten and took a specific interest in barrel racing.

Photo courtesy of James Reuff Photography.

“I loved barrel racing because it was always based on the fastest rider and not based on people’s opinions,” she said. “I am still competing to this day and have one horse for competing and the other I ride as a trail horse.”

This competitive mindset is something she took with her when it was time to go to college, as she wanted to go to a competitive university with a collection of majors. Ultimately, she went to Penn State Behrend because it offered a collection of engineering and business degrees.

Ultimately, it was a degree that included some manufacturing principles paired with the personable skills she decided on. This degree was Project and Supply Chain Management, one of the top programs the institution offers. She also added minors in Marketing and Management Information Systems, in addition to a certification in SAP.

She always had her eye on manufacturing, so she set out to find a collection of opportunities in related industries during the summer months of her college education. Her first opportunity came at Komatsu America Corporation as a Technical Publications Intern, a role that involved editing manuals of operation to meet company and federal expectations.

After this internship, she moved on to TechnipFMC as a Data Analytics and Planning Intern that helped her gain some additional business skills and experience to what it is like to work for a corporation.

“I learned how the corporate hierarchy works, how to get in a routine, why it is important to build a network of people, and how to build those relationships in a corporate setting. I never expected in particular that my experience at Komatsu would be such an attractive part of my resume when it came to getting hired by Wabtec.”

After completing her coursework in May 2021, she began her first full-time role at Wabtec Corporation as a part of their LEAD Operation Rotational program. The program is a two-year program that allows recent hires to experience four different departments and roles in order to gain well rounded experience and find the best fit that aligns to the interest of the individual and the company.

When talking about the experience so far, she said, “It has been a really exciting opportunity and a chance to learn another industry. It is really fast-paced in my current rotation as a quality engineer. I knew little about repairing engines before this opportunity, but this role has given me the chance to truly experience the intricate dynamic of a manufacturing business and learn along the way.”

Presently, she is living in Franklin and commuting to the Grove City office to stay close to her family and her horses right out of college. However, the rotational program allows employees to travel to Wabtec locations all over the country. Meaning, Dziekciasz is likely to use this rotational program as a chance to see more of what the world can offer her outside of Western Pennsylvania.

“I am not sure where I am going next,” said Dziekciasz. “I feel like I am really owning this role, but they move us around to help us become more diversified. I have the opportunity to be at four entirely different locations.”

Getting to this spot in her life right now has not come easy. It has taken a great deal of support from her parents Linda and Daryl, along with her sisters Kayla Breene and Victoria Dziekciasz.

“I have gotten so much valuable advice from my sisters over the years as they are both older than me. Victoria by three years and Kayla by ten. I have been able to learn from the things they have experienced so far in their lives and am forever grateful for them.”

To the young professionals still in their college years or in the early part of their careers, Dziekciasz says the best advice she can provide is to not limit oneself, do not sell oneself short, and that people are going to get out what effort they put into something.

It has been a journey filled with hard work, balance, and commitment. Taylor Dziekciasz’s story extends the boundaries of Venango County but is one of the latest examples of what hard work, high character, and investment into bettering oneself can bring.

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