Alumnae Spotlight: Rose Cook and Lynn Faughey

“Rutgers taught us to be engineers, problem-solvers and critical thinkers.” – Lynn Faughey

Twin sisters Rose Cook ENG‘88 (pictured left) and Lynn Faughey ENG’88 (pictured right), president and vice president of The FlexPro Group, the specialty consulting firm they co-founded in 2008. The Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based firm delivers project management expertise to the pharmaceutical industry, while offering its consultants the opportunity to achieve a flexible, harmonious work-life balance.

Why did you choose Rutgers School of Engineering?

Rose: I’m looking back to when we were 18! Our father was an engineer. We chose Rutgers because we were both good at science and math.

Lynn: We lived in New Jersey, so Rutgers’ value and affordability were part of our decision. We both got half scholarships to Lehigh – but even with those scholarships, the School of Engineering was a better value.

Was it important for you to go to school together?

Lynn: Yes, it was. Growing up, we’d always had the same friends and shared everything –even birthday cakes! But even though we promised ourselves we wouldn’t room together, we ended up on the same dorm building as freshmen.

Rose: Moving forward into our sophomore, junior, and senior years, we lived in an on-campus apartment and so did actually room together.

What did you do after graduation?

Rose: I majored in Mechanical Engineering and held a number of technical engineering and senior-level management jobs in large Fortune 500 companies like Johnson & Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, and Nabisco. I also did some consulting.

Lynn: Our paths were similar. I majored in Package Engineering and also worked in technical and managerial capacities for Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive.

Why did you found The FlexPro Group?

Rose: After my first child was born, I went back to work part-time, working 2 or 3 days a week. After my second child was born, things were more difficult, so I quit working altogether to focus on my family.

Within six months of quitting, I was getting calls to work on projects. This was a light bulb going off! I realized I could take on high-level projects with Fortune 100 companies on a part-time basis. I subsequently started Rose Cook and Associates, doing projects for pharmaceutical companies. I did this for about seven years before returning to work in a director role.

During this time, Lynn and I talked a lot about being part-time, working moms. This was the journey for me.

Did your journey differ, Lynn?

Lynn: My journey was very similar, actually. I had two children 15 months apart – Irish twins -- so I learned the hard way. I went back to work full-time after my first child was born, and cut back to part-time after the second.

I was able to work out a job share arrangement as a senior packaging engineer, with a colleague. We were eventually promoted to managers of our department as a job share. This was an accomplishment: when we first proposed a job share, we couldn’t believe we were told, “You know, this will stall your careers.” In the end, everyone was very supportive and we job shared for three years.

Like Rose, I took time off, worked part-time and accepted consulting work.

Talking with Rose, I realized that we were missing a real opportunity here. That light bulb went off and we started The FlexPro Group in 2008.

How did you divide things up?

Rose: I worked full-time at the start and Lynn worked half time because she was also our first consultant. It’s important to understand that we both made conscious choices to leave our jobs to start the company.

What sets FlexPro apart?

Rose: FlexPro is a project management consulting firm that provides flexible working opportunities. Our projects are technical in nature – many of them involve engineering.  Out of our team of 30, six are working moms and dads.

Lynn: Of our team, 70 to 80 percent are engineers and a number of our consultants also have MBAs. About half are women.

What has been the most rewarding thing about building FlexPro?

Lynn: It’s having an idea and bringing it to fruition. We’re now a $6.6 million company and have achieved awards from Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in America! We’re achieving the idea!

Rose: We feel that every day there’s still a lot to do. There are always new opportunities. The fun isn’t over – it’s really just beginning.

Did Rutgers help you succeed?

Lynn: Rutgers definitely taught us to be engineers, problem-solvers, and critical thinkers.

Rose: I think to be successful, you need to know how to navigate a big company. We both worked at J&J. Because Rutgers is a big school, it gave us great practice in navigating a giant company like that.

Did you face any special challenges as female engineering students?

Rose: I don’t think I had to work harder as a woman, but I do think I stood out more because there were fewer women in the program. It didn’t hold us back. I was actually president of the student chapter of ASME.

Did you have a favorite Grease Truck order?

Rose: Not so much, but we used to go to the White Rose or Greasy Tony’s late at night.

Where do you see yourselves in ten years?

Rose: It is more than likely we’ll still be operating a successful company but from a Board of Director level, providing strategic direction.

Lynn: Maybe I’ll be a grandma! I imagine I’ll be out of the day-to-day running of the company in ten years.

You work together and you’re identical twins. Do you spend time together outside of the office?

Lynn: Yes! We live about ten miles apart. I still call Rose when I want to go on a shopping spree.

Rose: Our kids hang out together, too.

What do you do to relax?

Rose: If I had more time, how much of a foodie I’d be! I read Zagat’s from cover to cover for fun.

Lynn: I love trying new restaurants. My husband Mike, who is also an ’88 SoE graduate, and I are empty nesters now that our kids are in college. We took a cooking class and are making gourmet food at home.

Do you have favorite restaurants in Philadelphia?

Rose: These days tapas restaurants are popular. Barbuzzo is one we tried recently, with small Mediterranean plates. Another great restaurant is Vedge. It’s great food whether or not you’re a vegetarian!