" Transportation is a major part of life, and this career path allows me the chance to make it better for others."
What's been your most rewarding project(s) while at your firm?
I performed field construction management and engineering on two portions of the Illinois High-Speed Rail project between Shipman, Illinois and East St. Louis, Illinois.
The overall goal of the project was to improve passenger rail service between Chicago and St. Louis to balance the use of the transportation network in the area. The two tiers of the project that I worked on were rewarding because the sheer size and scope of the project allowed me many opportunities to grow in my role as an engineer. With nearly 50 miles of railroad corridor improvements including 20-plus miles of second main track construction, I was exposed to a varied mix of project components that gave me a sense of the challenges faced when taking ideas from planning stages to real-life construction.
Now that I have transitioned into design work, I use that experience to critically evaluate if project components are constructible. Additionally, the project taught me that while technical knowledge is important to engineering, interpersonal skills are also key to successfully delivering projects. The project allowed me to join a construction management team that was able to build and maintain positive relationships with our client, multiple contractors, and the residents of the area over the course of more than two years.
These relationships helped us to deliver innovative solutions to problems encountered in the field, from working with the contractor to safely and efficiently accelerate track construction to assisting local residents who were impacted by the adjacent work. When the work was completed I was proud to say that I had been involved with a project that will hopefully have a lasting impact on broadening transportation choices in a major corridor of Illinois.
Most interesting place you've traveled for work?
Downtown Seattle to inspect rail at an intermodal facility
What inspires you about your profession?
Transportation engineering is inspiring because it has real-world impacts on every single person. Transportation is a major part of life, and this career path allows me the chance to make it better for others. It is simultaneously humbling to think about and difficult to wrap my head around how projects I’ve previously worked on and projects I’ll work on in the future have significant impacts on our transportation network.