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sally beisler spotlight

Spotlight on Sally Beisler

Remember that women’s lib song from 1970, “I’m Gonna Be An Engineer?” Well some little girls took that song to heart, especially one named Sally. Her father always wanted a boy and decided that his little girl would take up what was then a man’s ca­reer. And she agreed, and succeeded in a man’s world. There was no choice, as the song says, be­tween being an engineer and being a lady. She managed to do both. Her father was a strong influ­ence in her life. Sally remembers visiting construc­tion sites with him, doing math tricks as a child, and using the slide rule at a tender age.

Sally went to her hometown school, the University of Pittsburgh, getting an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and an MBA. She then went on to design nuclear power plants in an almost to­tally male environment, as most of her jobs would turn out to be. When that got old, she moved on to brokering deals for uranium. Her husband Joe then swept her off her feet and carried her away to West Virginia, where she worked in international market­ing for a chemical company, a job that involved lots of international travel and very few other women. The couple eventually moved back to Pittsburgh where she worked for a German chemical company, eventually becoming director of corporate purchas­ing and spending as much as $500 million a year. Oh, and she also tried being a stock broker but de­cided she was too soft hearted for that cutthroat business. While she was often the lone women on the job in her career, ironically Joe was in a busi­ness, hospital administration, that was largely fe­male.

Sally and Joe retired to Florida in 1998, moved to Heathrow, and she immediately joined the Heathrow Women’s Club. She is enthusiastic in her love for the Club and the wonderful women friends she has made, friends that she refers to as family (friends who are family). She echoes a common refrain among Club members about the importance of women friends and how much they are valued for their compassion and companionship.

She has certainly done her part to assist the Club, serving as Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Program Chair, and Social Chair, the position she now holds. She is busy re-engineering that position, having in­troduced several new concepts which are proving very successful. There are the Wednesday afternoon game days featuring bingo (a second one is coming up on February 10) and Mah Jongg. A dinner at the Willow Tree, including more than 40 Club members and spouses, was wildly successful, as was the first of the Happy Hour Socials, held at Sally’s house. The second, in late January, was an equally popular event. She has planned a third Happy Hour and a cooking class.

In spite of her career, she did find time to be a lady as well. Sally and Joe have 6 children and 8 grand­children between them - in Pennsylvania, Texas, New Mexico – children obviously inspired by their parents since they include a nuclear physicist, an electrical engineer, and a molecular biologist.

By Stephanie Strass