Pia Wilson

“What I enjoy most about my job is that even though every day can be challenging, knowing that I am able to support the mission of the lab in the work that I do is incredibly rewarding. Having the opportunity to use my experience and utilize my analytical and negotiation skills is a plus.”

— Pia Wilson

Title: Procurement specialist/senior buyer

Year started at PPPL: 2019

Originally published in July 2021


Pia Wilson brings decades of experience purchasing components for trains to her current position of purchasing for PPPL’s flagship experiment

Pia Wilson came to PPPL with 28 years of experience procuring spare parts and services for trains and light rail for New Jersey Transit before becoming a senior buyer for PPPL. Now, she is in charge of purchasing components for upgrades on PPPL’s fusion experiment, the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U).

Wilson joined New Jersey Transit a year after graduating high school. She worked her way up to a manager of material purchasing for the Rail Operations Department. She was responsible for purchasing all spare parts and services to support rail operations and a distribution center with approximately $100 million worth of inventory. After a brief retirement, she saw an ad for procurement at PPPL, and it was a perfect fit. “It was a good fit for PPPL and a good fit for me!” she said.

“I love buying and being part of a team that makes a difference every day,” Wilson said. “You get to meet a lot of people as a buyer…It’s a lot of meeting and greeting and talking to other people and problem-solving and that’s what I enjoy. And, of course, I always feel like my contributions are valued and appreciated, so that’s the best part of it all.”

Wilson grew up in Newark, New Jersey. “We didn’t have a whole lot, but we had a lot of love,” she recalled. My parents were very loving, kind, hardworking individuals and my mom always said, "further your education, work hard and treat people fairly and you will be successful". WIlson did just that, graduating from Union County College in 2003, Rutgers University Business School in 2007, and received MBA from Saint Peter's University in 2009. After her long career for the state, Wilson retired for about two years before being hired for her current job at PPPL.

Wilson and her husband, Robert, who is in law enforcement, live in Hillside, New Jersey. They have three grown children, Pia, Charles and Brittany, and two granddaughters, Nahayla, 12, and Nour, 2.

Please describe your job:

“I am the procurement specialist for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade and the Facility for Laboratory Reconnection Experiment (FLARE). It’s very interesting because it involves commodities that I’ve never purchased, and I’m dealing with engineers and meeting a lot of new people and a lot of new suppliers. It’s a very interesting job, and I like working on the NSTX-U project because of their goal to develop fusion energy. I think, ‘This is really important because it’s cutting-edge technology that will make a difference in people’s lives.’”

Three things about yourself:

  1. “I have a lot of empathy for people. I care about other people’s feelings.”
  2. “I love my family.”
  3. “I believe in hard work and working together as a team and doing the right thing.”

What does working at PPPL mean to you?

“I love PPPL …I’ve found it to be a very welcoming and open culture where ideas, viewpoints and diverse cultures are valued. My experience there has so far been very good working with different cultures and different backgrounds, and I’ve enjoyed working with everybody. I’m just happy to be a part of the University and PPPL, and I look forward to many more years!”