U.S. WIN Member Spotlight: Maria Lacal



  • S. Civil Engineering, University of Miami School of Engineering
  • S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Senior Reactor Operator License
  • Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program



Executive Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer for Arizona Public Service, retired (APS)

Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Oversight, APS

Vice President of Operations Support, APS

Director of Operations Support, Nuclear Division, Florida Power & Light Company

Training Manager, FP&L, Turkey Point

Operations Manager, FP&L, Turkey Point

Plant Engineer, FP&L, Turkey Point

Design Engineer, FP&L


Why did you choose the nuclear field or how did you end up in the nuclear field?

After graduating from the University of Miami, I highly considered joining the navy. The naval nuclear program really intrigued me. However, when Florida Power & Light offered me a chance to join their engineering group, I jumped at the opportunity. At that time, FP&L’s engineering organization served both their fossil and nuclear fleet. When their nuclear division was established, I stayed on the nuclear side of the business. After a few years in the design engineering organization, I transferred to the Turkey Point site in South Florida.  Working at the nuclear site and learning about the production of energy was a great experience which I truly enjoyed.  I still marvel at the uniqueness of these amazing plants and the clean-air energy they produce.


What advice do you have for women in the nuclear field?

My advice is to step out of your comfort zone and be a role model for future generations of women in the nuclear field. As women, we tend to take fewer risks and want to be the best we can be before stepping outside our comfort zone or into positions of leadership. Prepare yourself for these opportunities and then believe in yourself. I’ve found when you’re there to support the team’s success rather than your personal gains, people will rally around you to help you achieve your goals. Don’t hold yourself back. Don’t feel like you must go at it alone or have all the answers. Build a strong network of people you trust that will give you sound advice and reach out to them. No matter the challenge, have fun and enjoy the journey. Recognize your colleagues and empower them along your journey.


What is your favorite aspect of U.S. WIN?

U.S. WIN offers a fantastic network of people and programs. Take advantage of them!  Get engaged, get involved. U.S. WIN is doing a fabulous job of moving the needle when it comes to the development of its members to achieve their goals and positions in leadership.  It also equips its members to be great ambassadors of this amazing industry.  I have seen so many members grow, become more empowered, and flourish in their careers, in large part, because of their involvement with U.S. WIN.  Seeing people grow and succeed really jazzes me.  So having personal experience with the programs and networks that U.S. WIN provides, encouraging others to take advantage of these great benefits, and getting to know a lot of great people in U.S. WIN has been fun and rewarding for me.