Emerson Automation Experts
5 Questions for Cybersecurity Expert Jaime Foose
Emerson's Jaime Foose joins our continuing podcast series, 5 Questions for an Emerson Expert. Jaime is an ICS cyber security expert, Director of Security Solutions and Lifecycle Shared Services. She helps power producers and water & wastewater utilities with programs and processes to improve their cyber defenses and the ongoing health of their distributed control systems & operational technology (OT).
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Jim: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another edition of "5 questions for an Emerson Expert." Today, I'm joined by Jaime Foose. Jaime is a Director of Security Solutions and Lifecycle Shared Services in our Power and Water Solutions (PWS) business unit. Jaime received her bachelor's degree in computer science with a minor in Mathematics, as well as also attaining an MBA and a Master of Science in IT project management. Wow. That's an impressive academic career. Welcome, Jaime.
Jaime: Thanks, Jim. It's great to be here today.
Jim: Well, it's great having you. So I always like to start out because some of the courses, computer science, mathematics, and then some business and some IT, all in there. So what made you decide to pursue a STEM-based career?
Jaime: So, Jim, I'd always had an interest in computers, but my college career didn't start out there. I started in another science field. Actually, because when I was in eighth grade, I had a teacher that had told me he didn't think I'd be able to pass college-level calculus. And that had always stuck with me for a really long time, so much so that I didn't pursue computer science. In the summers, when I was going to college, I worked for Kelly Temporary Services, and I ran into a lady that worked for a gas company, and I was working as an admin that summer. And I told her about my college background in history and this teacher that had really gotten in my head. And she really encouraged me to pursue my dream and really chase doing computer science. So I went back to school that fall, changed my major to computer science, made it through all the calculus courses just fine, and ended up finishing with my computer science degree, just one semester extra to do that. And then found that it led me here to Emerson. So it was a really fantastic change that I made.
Jim: Well, that's a great story. It's nice that there was a person along the way that spurred you on and overcame some negative about how difficult it was or whatever. I hope other people are a force of being positive with other younger people to encourage them along. So from there, I guess with that background, what led you to a career in the field of process automation, and I guess more specifically, in your area, cybersecurity for control systems?
Jaime: Sure. So when I first started, I don't think I really even realized what industry I was getting into. I used the placement services of the university I attended for job placement and actually interviewed with Westinghouse at the time. And so, this was right when PWS had just been acquired by Emerson. And in my hometown, Westinghouse had a fantastic name. And if you got offered a job from Westinghouse, you took it. So I had this great interview with a great company. I didn't really know all that much about process automation, but I knew it was a good company. And that's how I joined. When I first started, I worked on communication interfaces, and just did a lot of different work in a lot of different areas, but always seemed to gravitate towards new things or things that were just a little bit more challenging or tricky. So in 2008, we saw a big increase in cybersecurity concerns around power generation.
And this was really in tune with when NERC CIP [North American Reliab...