Petroleum engineer blends safety and fashion

(WAFB) - It's no secret men outnumber women in the engineering industry.

"You automatically feel like you have something to prove," said Jaime Glas.

Glas, a petroleum engineer, also knows the uncomfortable feeling of walking into a room of professionals wearing flame resistant clothes that don't fit.

"The women feel it, but the men recognize it," Glas explained. "I could talk to any man and say, 'Isn't it crazy that this stuff doesn't fit us?' and they're like, 'Yeah.'"

Glas says she first noticed an issue with the jumpsuits as a student at LSU while interning with an engineering company in California.

"I got there the first day like normal and they handed me this potato sack that just fell off of me," Glas said. "It was so big, and I was like, 'Am I supposed to wear this outside?'"

Glas says at the time, it was normal in the engineering industry to wear clothes that weren't designed with females in mind. But Glas had bigger plans. She entered the workforce in 2012 as a production engineer, yet again wearing a baggy garment.

"It was embarrassing really and at the time, there had been some advancements in design in fitting better, but mostly for men," Glas said. "Sometimes people don't change what isn't completely broken if it's working."

You've heard necessity is the mother of all invention, so while Glas worked in the field during the day, she was busy at night researching safe, fire resistant clothing for women. "That's when I really started thinking there's a need for this. No one has paid attention to it yet, so I'm going to do it," she said.

"When this came about, the light bulb went off and it just felt so right and so perfect," Glas said. "It was marrying something I was interested in and something that was career oriented."

She tested products at a trade show in June of 2017 and after five years as an engineer, called it quits to focus on her idea. "People were responding to this and accepting and supportive of this," she recalled. "I need to focus my full attention if it's going to go anywhere and help women everywhere," Glas said.

Only five months into production, HauteWork, formally known as Hot Stuff SafetyWear, has sold around 300 garments and reached people beyond the oil and gas industry.

Glas is quick to point out the purpose of the clothing line, which also features t-shirts, overalls, and steel toed shoes, isn't to draw attention to women in the workplace, but help them blend in.

"I think when you feel good in what you're wearing, you do a better job at work," Glas said. "You feel more confident, so that's what it's all about."

All products, according to Glas, are certified by the Underwriters Lab to NFPA 2112 and 703 standards.

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