Grew up: Commack, Long Island N.Y.
Studies: I have a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Career aspirations: Becoming an engineer was not something I knew I wanted to do until college, but I was always good at math and science and loved solving puzzles. This has served me well in my engineering career.
Influences: My first job was with a small engineering firm as an entry level bridge engineer. Their philosophy was the best training to becoming a great design engineer is to spend your first few years performing field structural integrity inspections, so you learn how details of a design can limit or extend the life of the structure. This gave me an appreciation of learning from others and then seeking new ideas for improvement. It has shaped how I approach everything.
Transportation industry start: Bridge engineering was a love for designing grand structures, which then exposed me to the rail and transit industry. I still love big structures but now it is more for a sense of how it contributes to the betterment of society.
Previous role: I began my career at Hardesty & Hanover, a bridge engineering firm, which specialized in movable bridges. With a mechanical engineering degree, I could work on movable bridges, but also learned to practice structural engineering and became a Professional Engineer. I spent the first 10 years of my career building a technical knowledge base in structural engineering and managing projects. During my 16 years at Jacobs Engineering, I became the rail department group leader, which broadened my exposure to all other aspects of rail engineering — signals, catenary, traction power, and communications, and I was responsible for resource management, project delivery, and growth of the group. In 2010, I had an opportunity to join AECOM as the northeast transit and rail leader. This position required me to hone and further develop my business development skills, and I went on to become senior vice president for the transit market.
Current role: I am responsible for providing leadership and direction for the firm’s transit and rail business. This includes increasing the firm’s transit and rail revenue, enhancing marketing capabilities, and strengthening relationships with clients. I am also responsible for providing strategic and tactical advice to WSP clients on a wide range of transit and rail issues, including, project delivery, management, and operations.
Accomplishment: I am extremely proud of the rehabilitation of the Stamford Transportation Center in Connecticut completed in 2003 to accommodate five tracks, including a Northeast Corridor express track. It holds a personal place in my career, as I started in the planning phase in 1995 as a structural engineer and worked my way up to Project Manager when it entered construction in 1998 and saw it through completion. It is now the second-busiest station in the entire Metro North Railroad’s system after Grand Central Terminal.
Challenging/Rewarding: The growth of automated/connected vehicles and how that phenomenon, coupled with the sharing economy, is leading to profound changes in how people view mobility, and how public transit providers must react to this new paradigm. For instance, there are questions regarding the impact of ride-hailing companies on traditional public transit services, but also opportunities for partnerships to improve service with first-mile/last-mile connections. It is extremely rewarding to be able to support transit agencies as they navigate through this new world to improve their overall services.
Skills: A skill that is important and one that I continually try to improve is the ability to listen; really listen. Fully understanding the needs of the project, the client, the employee, etc., is how I find the right solution or manage a team.
Project: My current ‘project’ is to encourage collaboration across our national WSP transit team to deliver an integrated set of solutions for our clients. We have subject matter experts across the U.S. and being able to bring that full suite of services to our clients is my goal.
Profound event: Being active in industry organizations has been an important part of my career, including being on committees for ASCE, ACEC, AREMA, and APTA over the past 30 years. The event that had the most profound effect on me was participating in a year-long mentoring program with WTS. I was paired with a woman who oddly enough was around my age — she was out of the workforce for many years and was for the first time working in New York City, and thus, looking for a mentor. We met bi-weekly for the year, became fast friends, and I sometimes wondered who was mentoring who. We stayed in touch, and very unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cancer and passed a year later. I realized my career, while there were many project accomplishments, was more about the connections I made with the people I have had the fortune to work with. I now see my career through a different lens.
Inspiration: I’m lucky to work with many people who inspire me, but my two sons inspire me the most and I want to be a good role model for them. I want them to understand that women can be both a good mother and have an accomplished career. I hope for them to seek a partner in life who will share their passion for a family and a career.
Favorite pastimes: When not busy spending time with my two awesome boys, who are 16 and 21, you can find me in New Hampshire. I love hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter. The mountains are calling.