Patricia Trzcinski

“Don't think of graduation as the end of learning. The degree can open the door to great opportunities, but you must keep stretching your mind and thinking about the next step forward.”

Home: Highland Village, Texas

UT Dallas Degree: BS - Economics, 1990; MPA, 1992.
Profession: Director, Compensation and Benefits at L-3 Communications, Electronic Systems Segment and Link Simulation & Training Division. I take care of compensation, benefits, payroll and employee records

My Work

I'm responsible for surveying the labor market and analyzing our workforce to determine if the pay rates we provide to our employees are market competitive. Beyond just base pay, I look at trends in incentive compensation and total employee rewards. I am also the primary interface with our Shared Services payroll organization, helping to ensure that employees are paid correctly each payroll. I have had the tremendous honor, too, to support a very talented technical and scientific workforce. They challenge me and keep me thinking all the time.

Honors/accolades, additional degrees received, and/or previous work/positions held

When I moved to Dallas in 1985, I started going to Dallas County Community College as soon as I could. I was working for Standard Oil when they were purchased by British Petroleum, and they moved the Dallas operations to Houston. That was my chance to go to school full time and complete my Bachelor's degree. That was in 1988, and UT-Dallas only admitted upper-division. I had already fallen in love with Economics so it was an easy decision. When I completed my BS in 1990, I received a referral from a professor to a temporary position at the Super Collider, and was there for about 4 years. I joined Hughes Training, a division of Hughes Aircraft in 1994. In 1997, Hughes Aircraft was purchased by Raytheon, and in 2000, Raytheon sold the simulation & training business I work with now to L-3 Communications.

The Value of My Degree

I never thought of myself as a "numbers" person. I took courses in statistics and econometrics, and found it intriguing. When I was in school, computers were just becoming common, and I made sure I knew how to use the analytical software we used in my Master’s program. I don’t do much programming, but it helped me learn to think in an organized, rational manner, and that has made learning more at work the most natural thing I could do.

My EPPS Success

I had fantastic professors. The other students were interesting, came from a variety of backgrounds, and made the courses interesting.

Advice for EPPS Students

  1. Take the temporary assignment. You don’t know where it might lead.
  2. Employers value quantitative skills in many roles, so don't tie yourself down to one industry.
  3. Don't think of graduation as the end of learning. The degree can open the door to great opportunities, but you must keep stretching your mind and thinking about the next step forward.

Other Interests

My husband and I like to travel around to different casinos. I realize it makes no economic sense. We also like to take long drives in the countryside. I've been to all of the lower 48 states, with the exception of the Dakotas, and that may happen this summer. I don't feel the need to leave the U.S. because there's so much to see and do right in our own backyard.


Posted April 2015