Elara’s Experts Today’s Spotlight: Melissa Rodas

What Does Melissa Do?

Ms. Rodas, an Illinois Licensed Professional Engineer, is a Senior Electrical Engineer with Elara Engineering who has acquired diverse technical expertise within an equally diverse range of markets that include K-12, Hospitality, Photovoltaics (PV), Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Power, High-Rise Commercial Office, Multi-Family Residential, and Healthcare clients. In her technical role, she develops complex and demanding electrical engineering designs for multi-disciplinary new construction, renovation, and energy retrofit projects that encompass a wide variety of electrical system types, power demands, and challenging internal building constraints.

Over the course of her career, Ms. Rodas has gained extensive hands-on experience with numerous technical and design applications such as Revit, AutoCAD, SKM Power Tools, AGI32 and Visual Lighting. In addition to her expertise with these tools and applications, she has extensive experience with assessments, surveys, planning, system studies, power delivery design, and construction oversight. Power system studies that Ms. Rodas has developed have encompassed short circuits, selective coordination, arc flash, and power quality analyses.

Her Areas of Expertise

  • Technical Knowledge
  • Industry Experience
  • Sustainable Design
  • Innovation
  • Construction Knowledge
  • Cost Estimating
  • Troubleshooting
  • Collaboration
  • Project Management
  • Experience in Multiple Markets

Ms. Rodas is driven by…

…the many aspects that have guided her role at Elara and her overall career. She is passionate about power infrastructure design and is propelled to provide innovative solutions to Elara’s clients through a collaborative team approach that addresses the needs of all project stakeholders. Additionally, with a desire to ‘pay it forward’ and to create a legacy of knowledge that others can build upon, she strives to impart her expertise and experience as an involved and caring mentor as well as providing direct encouragement to high school students considering a career in engineering. As an industry expert in electrical engineering design and as an exceptional and talented role model for Elara, Ms. Rodas has compiled a long list of successful projects for Elara’s valued clients.

Key Project Contributions

  • Kankakee Community College West Campus – Fire Alarm Replacement Project (Electrical Design Engineer)
  • Guaranteed Rate Field – Fire Alarm Replacement Project (Electrical Design Engineer)
  • 270 East Pearson Street – EV Charging Stations Power for Indoor Garage (Electrical Design Engineer)
  • New Construction Multi-Residential Campus – PV System Design (Lead Engineer)
  • Davenport Animal Hospital (Davenport, IA) – New Construction (Lead Engineer)
  • Lockport Park District Challenge Fitness – Renovation & Addition (Lead Engineer)
  • Joliet Park District Banquet Hall – Renovation (Lead Engineer)
  • Village of Lombard – Fleet Services – Renovation and Addition – (Lead Engineer)
  • Multiple K-12 Projects (Lead Engineer)
  • School District 126 – MEP Renovation & Additions to Multiple
  • School District 135 – MEP Renovation & Additions to Multiple School
  • School District 159 – HVAC and Lighting Replacement
  • School District 204 – District-Wide Facility Assessment
  • School District 300 – Numerous Projects

Key Industry Contributions

Melissa has been, and continues to be, an active contributor within the industry as she eagerly passes her experience and expertise to others in the field.

Beyond her education, training, and mentoring activities, Ms. Rodas is an active member of the Chicago Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the Chicago Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the Chicago Chapter of Professional Women in Construction.

As part of the SWE, Ms. Rodas volunteers as the K-12 Outreach Chair where she is involved in collaborations with K-12 schools to inspire the next generation of women engineers. She is also a mentor as part of iMentor where she is actively mentoring a Chicago Public School high school Junior as she guides them through the challenges that come with being a first-generation college student.

Ms. Rodas states that “as an immigrant who was fortunate enough to have great mentors, I know how important it is to give back to the community. It is a personal passion of mine to reach out and work with students from underprivileged areas.”

What People Are Saying About Melissa

“Not only has Melissa’s extensive electrical knowledge, commitment to excellence, and drive to innovatively solve complex engineering challenges made a significant impact on our team’s success; she also brings such positive energy to our office and has become a passionate and effective mentor to our young, aspiring engineers. Her ability to articulate electrical concepts clearly and concisely to both technical and non-technical individuals over the course of delivering a project has proven invaluable to all those that work with her. We are so proud and fortunate to have Melissa on our team and I look forward to her continued growth with Elara.”

~Bhupendra Tailor, Elara Principal

Life Before Elara.  

Ms. Rodas was born in Peru and then moved to New Jersey when she was seven years old. Her interest in STEM started in high school when her perceptive physics teacher noticed her interest in math and science. He encouraged her to look at engineering as a career – which ultimately led to her applying to an engineering school for college. Even then, she had an early interest in renewable and sustainable technologies and after a few introductory courses in college, Ms. Rodas decided to commit to a career in electrical engineering.

Upon graduating from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in central Massachusetts Ms. Rodas was offered a job in Glendale Heights, Illinois and – true to her nature as an adventurer – took it on as she was looking for a change of location from the East Coast and was eager to try life in the Midwest.

Like many new electrical engineers, she started her career doing power system studies which facilitated her growing knowledge of existing and older building electrical systems. However, ever looking for a challenge, Ms. Rodas wanted to design electrical systems for new buildings along with the necessary innovation that came with problem solving to meet specific needs. To this end, she applied for a position with her previous employer and was excited to be introduced to the world of electrical building design. It was a perfect fit as she enjoys the challenges and out-of-the-box thinking that is often required to provide practical, innovative, constructable, and sustainable solutions to clients.

Before her current role as Senior Electrical Engineer at Elara Engineering, Ms. Rodas was an Electrical Engineer IV at Syska Hennessy Group in Chicago, IL and a Power Systems Engineer at Eaton Corporation in Chicago, IL

Life Outside Elara

Likely to the chagrin of most Chicagoans – and possibly anyone beyond the NYC area, Ms. Rodas is an avid Yankees fan. But it’s totally understandable that she backs the Yankee pinstripes as her mom was a huge Derek Jeter fan in the early 2000s. Like mother, like daughter. And, Ms. Rodas is serious about this to the point that she heads back to New York to see one or more games a year with her mom or younger brother.

Now that’s a true fan. As a passionate baseball ambassador, she says that she’s often guilty of dragging friends and family members to games even when they have no interest in baseball. Further proof that she’s an effective baseball promoter is exhibited when she recently talked Elara’s entire electrical team into attending a game.

In addition to baseball, Ms. Rodas is an avid hiker and is on a mission to visit as many National Parks as possible in her lifetime. Needless to say, she loves to travel and her favorite countries visited – so far – are Spain and Ireland. Activities closer to home include bowling, reading, and boxing/mix-martial arts where she practiced Jeet Kune Do for several years – achieving Blue Belt status before an injury stopped her progression. She still boxes, though it’s more for fun and conditioning. Finally, she is the proud cat-mom of a 15-year-old kitty and occasionally volunteers at a no-kill shelter as part of PAWS Chicago.