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Co-workers in the Community

Meet Ameren Missouri co-workers committed to communities around the area. 

Meet Jeff Willey

Jeff Willey knows that, for many, the stereotype about engineers is that of an introvert who may prefer projects to people. Willey, an engineer for Ameren Missouri, is trying to turn that stereotype on its head through his volunteer work with Project Lead the Way (PLTW). His strategy is to humanize engineering and other STEM-related careers for high school students who are considering those fields. “I tell students all the time to make sure they take speech classes, and make sure they’re comfortable talking to people so they can get up and share their ideas,” Willey says. “They have to be willing to talk about the things they’re working on, because if they don’t, they’re not going to get those great ideas out to others.”

With a spouse who is also an engineer, and several cousins who have followed in his career path, Willey describes his PLTW involvement as near and dear to his heart. “It’s an opportunity to mentor and help attract future generations of STEM co-workers,” he says. “If we’re going to make STEM careers appealing to people, we have to keep them engaged.” One of the ways PLTW does that is encouraging students to work through concepts and design ideas, then put those ideas on display for feedback and input from engineering professionals. “What I like about working with the students is that they’re coming in and trying to come up with new ideas, utilizing their own vision of something they want to create to help people,” says Willey, whose background is in civil engineering, building things people use daily to make their lives easier and safer.  “The career these students go into will likely be doing something where they’re going to be equipped to build things that will make life better for customers and communities.”

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