We Are Honeywell Aerospace Brenda Singleton
We Are Honeywell Aerospace: Brenda Singleton
Brenda Singleton hops in the passenger seat of her co-worker, Gail Compton’s car. They’re taking a quick break from work. The ice-cold air conditioning is a welcome change from the Clearwater, Florida muggy May air.
“I've been at Honeywell for over 30 years,” Brenda says as she looks out the window. “One of the main reasons I've stayed so long is that Honeywell is very good about letting you balance your work and your life outside of work.”
Brenda is on her way to visit one of her favorite charities, HEAT (Homeless Education Assistance Team). She started volunteering there three years ago when she heard a story about an autistic boy who was abandoned by his mother.
"The first time I visited HEAT," Brenda recalls, "they told us this story about this kid, this boy with autism, who got dropped off at school by his mom. And as he was getting out of the car, she handed him a box and said, 'Here is all of your stuff. I'm moving up north.’ "And then she drove away."
“Oh my gosh!” Gail reacts. She’s worked with Brenda a long time, but is hearing this particular story for the first time.
“Can you imagine?” Brenda replies. “You have to go to school, you have to learn and you have to figure out where you’re going to live.”
“So what happened to him?” Gail asks.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Brenda says somberly, unaware of the news she’ll hear later today.
As a Senior PPC & C Analyst at Honeywell Aerospace, Brenda Singleton's job is to keep a variety of projects on-time, on-budget and organized. One look at her streamlined desk area tells you she’s the right person for this job.
“Everything has its place,” she preaches.
Pictures of her kids and grandkids are neatly displayed in the right corner, a few awards for community work are nestled on the left, and her stress ball collection is expertly laid out on her file cabinet. Yes, Brenda collects stress balls
“When things get to be stressful and pile up at work, all I have to do is grab one of my stress balls,” she says with a smile. “I also like to look down at my grandkids’ pictures and it reminds me why I go to work everyday.”
Today, Brenda is jumping from meeting to meeting...a typical day for her. Some meetings are online, some are in person. Some have to do with the projects and programs she’s managing, some have to do with outreach initiatives. It’s tough to keep up. But, as Brenda is the first to say, this truly is a team effort.
“You know, it's great to have people to work with to brainstorm ideas off of because it really helps us do a better job,” co-worker Brenda emphasizes. “Instead of a single focus, you get different perspectives. We have a great team of people,” she adds. “And that makes it all worthwhile.”
With each meeting, curveballs are thrown her way, task lists grow and change is inevitable. But, with more than three decades of experience under her belt, her energy and smile are the one constant.
“I've known Brenda for a long time,” Gail states. “She inspires greatness. Brenda is one of those folks that you want to emulate and follow.”
And boy do they follow Brenda at Honeywell. For lunch today, there’s a pizza party. They’re celebrating the Fun Run they organized to benefit HEAT last month. In 2017, Brenda planned this event by herself. This year there were seven others who volunteered to help her. And many more have joined Brenda for other outreach opportunities.
“We have 100% support from management here at the site to do these events and all the charity drives,” Brenda says proudly. “So they help us make it easy to get what we need to help those kids.”
The Honeywell team in Clearwater, Florida has raised nearly $20,000 for HEAT through a variety of fundraisers, such as their annual Fun Run, Purses for Purpose, and many other drives and events headed up by Brenda.
“Brenda has a unique way of rallying the troops,” says Gail.
Her motivation techniques hold true, whether it’s for work or for charity.
“Learning how to prioritize and schedule,” Brenda explains, “you have to know what needs to be done, when to do it, and what's going to give you the biggest bang for your buck, whether that be your time or your money. So being able to prioritize and know what's important is the key.”
The car begins to slow as Brenda and Gail approach the HEAT facility. “And then there's like a little horseshoe parking area right there,” Brenda directs Gail. “And this is where we pull in right here.”
The HEAT staff, lead by Dr. Patricia Williams, welcomes them like family...with wide smiles and warm hugs.
The first visit is to an area where the supplies are kept. The HEAT team wants to show Brenda the results of a recent project partnership between Honeywell and HEAT.
Eleven students who were rescued a few years ago have just graduated from high school. The supplies Brenda and Gail are looking at are for those 11 kids who are now getting ready to go to college.
Brenda asks the HEAT team the question that had come up in the car ride over, “Whatever happened to that student you told me about? The one whose mom dropped him off at school with his belongings and then took off?”
Dr. Williams looks at her, slightly surprised, and says, “You helped him graduate last year.”
Brenda stops and stares while she begins to comprehend the news she’s absorbing. It’s one of those moments you feel lucky to be witnessing.
“You helped purchase his cap and gown,”Dr. Williams continues. “You got to hug him on his graduation day.”
Brenda recalls the moment. “That was him?” She had no idea that was the same young man whose story inspired her to get involved with HEAT.
A proud smile spreads across her face, “He told me when I hugged him, ‘I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.’”
Gail sums things up perfectly. “When you Google angel, you’ll find Brenda’s picture. She’s involved in everything that makes Honeywell better.”
On the way back to the Honeywell campus, Brenda beams. For her, it’s never about one person. She’s appreciative of the team and the way Honeywell and her co-workers embrace her passion to live for a bigger purpose.
“Most of the things that we’re doing, might not seem that big,” Brenda says. “But when you see the impact you’re having on someone, it just makes it all worthwhile.’”