June 5, 2008Her job: Principal and Director of Florida Operations, Mulkey Engineers & Consultants
Describe what you do in your current work situation?
In my job I am responsible for the Construction Services group in our company. This group is responsible for the administration, oversight and monitoring of highway construction projects. A second role that I am responsible for is the development of our transportation design office in Jacksonville, FL.
Why did you choose engineering?
I initially choose engineering because I really enjoyed math and science courses in high school. I choose civil engineering because I really liked the idea of being able to design something, and then to be able to see my design being built.
Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
I attended college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina where I earned my Batchelor of Science in Civil Engineering. I am now a registered professional engineer in 4 states.
What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
As a Construction Services Project Manager there are so many things that are a part of my work. Beyond reviewing the construction schedule and making sure that the project construction stays on track, I negotiate with the contractor for monies for additional work; coordinate with businesses, residents, the media and others on the progress of the construction; interact with various environmental agencies to show that construction is being performed to provide minimal impact to our environment and natural resources; and provide oversight and inspection staff as needed to make sure that the projects are being constructed in accordance with the plans. Internally, I am responsible for training staff, monitoring the budget on the work that we perform, and to find and procure new work.
What do you like best about being an engineer?
The thing that I enjoy most about being a Civil Engineer in construction is seeing the immediate progress of a project. It is actually quite amazing how quickly things progress on a highway construction project. I enjoy the pace of being a Construction Manager and the fact that when decisions are made you are able to see them implemented very quickly and you learn very quickly about the things that work well and the things that do not work quite as well.
Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
The career accomplishment that I am the most proud of is obtaining my Professional Engineer licensure. I see so many individuals graduate from Engineering who delay taking the examination to become registered. Many then reach a point in their life and career and feel that they can’t go back and complete this important step in the process. Becoming a licensed professional is an integral and important step in ensuring that the engineering profession is held in the highest regard within the community.
What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
My biggest challenge in the pursuit of my engineering career was actually being able to finance my college education. I was the first person in my family to attend school, so my family had not planned for this expense. I was able to get through school on scholarships, loans and working part-time in various jobs while attending school.
Please tell us a little about your family.
I am an only child who was born and raised in North Carolina. In my family I was the first person to attend college and receive a Batchelor’s Degree. I am married to a wonderful and supportive French-Canadian and we have a beautiful baby girl and a big furry dog.
What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
My short term goals are to continue to develop and grow my companies’ first Florida based office. Within two years I would like to see the size of this office be at around 30 people. Looking out into the next 10 years, I would like to think that we have expanded our company to have 2-3 additional thriving offices in the state of Florida.
What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
I have had many positive role models in my life so to name just one would seem unfair. However, I must credit the role of having the most influence on my life choices to my mother. I am so thankful for the work ethic and drive to excel that my mother instilled in me. I am also thankful that she always told me that I could do and be anything that I wanted.
What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
To any young women considering engineering as a career I would say “go for it!” Unfortunately the number of women in engineering is much less than the number of men. Some might see this as a disadvantage, but I look at it as an advantage because you immediately stand out and apart from the typical crowd.
Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
Living in a coastal community, my family and I love boating, fishing, camping, going to the beach or anything that involves being outside. On rainy days we love nothing more than watching a great thriller movie.