Shiloh Butterworth


Lindsey Butterworth

When Shiloh Butterworth became director of employee experience at PAE Engineers in 2015, he was charged with leading a workforce that in just five years had grown by 400 percent, expanding from one office in Portland, Oregon, to additional locations on the West Coast. Despite that growth, turnover was significant, and PAE especially struggled to retain female engineers.

Butterworth SMLR’15, a highly decorated combat veteran with a degree in labor relations and certification in workforce diversity and inclusion, arrived at PAE qualified to help. “When you’re in charge  of battalions,” he says, “you set the culture for that organization—the tone, the motivational level, and the success.”

Butterworth says that his Rutgers education helped him understand the importance of shaping a workplace that fosters work-life balance and gender equality, especially in a field where 40 percent of women leave by mid-career. 

In a proposal to PAE’s management, Butterworth explained that offering paid family leave—a benefit not mandated in Oregon—could increase employee engagement and productivity by enabling staff to take time for family when needed. As a result, PAE began in January 2017 offering six weeks of paid leave for any employee welcoming a child through birth, adoption, or foster placement, or coping with their own or a loved one’s serious health condition. By fall 2017, turnover had dropped from 18 to 9 percent, and the company had retained all of its top female engineers.

That success “is a powerful statement that’s helped leadership understand we’re doing the right thing,” says Butterworth, adding that for the company “it’s the perfect alignment of who we are as a culture.”