Lisa Ramos '06 MBA '06 is keeping the rails safe at BNSF
This is text from the Spring 2016 issue of Wesleyan magazine. Want to be on our mailing list and recieve the alumni magazine? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Ramos ’06 MBA ’06 is a hacker. Not one of those shady ones you hear about on TV, this Ram is a Certified Ethical Hacker — which means she knows all those black-hat dirty tricks but wears white.
She applies these skills in her position as Director of Technology Audits at BSNF Railway, where she and her staff of 12 look for weaknesses in a slew of technology systems throughout the vast corporation.
“We need to understand the mind of an evil person,” she says. “We have to learn what they do so we can identify malicious intent and mitigate it, make sure that we have all the controls in place.”
Right now she’s looking at Positive Train Control (PTC) software implementation, which was legislatively mandated in 2008, but her reach is broad. “One minute we might be looking at a locomotive, then at controls for drones, and then something completely new.”
A Fort Worth native, Ramos followed her grandmother, Helen Rutland Harris ’50, and uncle, Jerry Wood ’69, to Texas Wesleyan, where she focused on accounting, never imagining that she’d end up doing this type of audit. But her curious mind and work ethic, combined with some sharply honed critical thinking, proved valuable, and led her into technology auditing.
“This job is really taking everything you learn and connecting the dots, seeing how everything fits together,” she says. “I think of the Titanic and the iceberg. It’s not always evident what’s out there, so step back and see what is the point of this. Understand the big picture.”
Ramos considers herself a perpetual student, constantly acquiring then applying new knowledge in her job — skills she developed at Wesleyan, where she now serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.
Her advice to current students?
“Learn. Don’t just go through the motions,” she says. “Learn what you should, then constantly learn.”