Tag: Civil Engineer

Career Reflections: Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in STEM

6 images in a blue box with various female engineers working and text says Celebrating Women in STEM Careers

Every February 11th, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in STEM. This day comes with the reminder that young girls are not always encouraged to pursue careers in math and science-centric fields, but we’re here to remind everyone that these careers are open to anyone who is bold enough to challenge stereotypes that could otherwise keep them away.

We asked a few of the amazing women who work at Hoyle, Tanner what they would tell their younger selves about becoming an engineer. Their advice:


Marisa DiBiaso is a Senior Civil Engineer and has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 8 years. She specializes in land development and site design work. If she could speak to her younger self, she’d advocate for reaching out to others sooner:

“I would tell my younger self to seek out more mentors for guidance on different skillsets and general career advice. There are a lot of people that enjoy mentoring, and I’ve benefitted from some really great mentors over the course of my career. I wish I had connected with more people sooner. I’d also tell myself that while working hard and doing quality work are really important, you shouldn’t need to work harder than everyone else to be respected. Finally, speak up and ask questions. Sometimes we are afraid of revealing that we don’t understand something, but often times asking a good question can show you are engaged and thinking ahead. You aren’t expected to know everything!”


Emily Belisle is an entry-level Civil Engineer who is in her first year of employment with Hoyle, Tanner (and worked with another firm previously). Her answer puts the career into perspective:

“I would tell my younger self that becoming an engineer is no harder than becoming anything else. As long as it is what you want to do, it’ll be worth it.”


Payton Borza has been working in our Florida office for 6 years as an Airport Engineer. If she could talk to her younger self, it wouldn’t have anything to do with being female or male – instead, it would have to do with following your own inner calling.

“There are so many different types of engineers and different fields you can choose! Spend time thinking about which ones interest you the most.”


Suzy Sheppard one of our talented Senior Airport Engineers and has built her career in her 25 years at Hoyle, Tanner. To her younger self, she’d encourage patience:

“Growing up I believed that all my career goals would be achieved by 30. Engineering is a dynamic field that is always changing and there’s always something new and exciting to discover. I would tell my younger self to prepare for a lifetime of learning and growing. You may reach your intended goals at 30 or you may not, but there are always new goals to be made.”


Katelyn Welch has been building her career at Hoyle, Tanner for the past 6 years as a Structural Engineer, designing bridges and working on construction sites. Her advice is not one of regrets but one of welcomed lessons.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Engineering is a career where you learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes.”


Rychel Gibson has been an Environmental Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 5 years, building on her career with projects in asset management and water purity. To her younger self, she’d encourage bravery.

“Don’t be intimidated. You have the brains and the drive. You can do this.”


Monika Ingalls is a Civil Engineer who has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 2 years working in our Burlington, Vermont office. She would warn her younger self not to sweat the small stuff.

“I would tell my younger self to remember to stay focused on my goals and to not worry about inconsequential matters. I would also say to not worry so much about being the only girl in the room because the world is changing and more women are joining the workforce every year!  And lastly, I would remind myself to pay attention in structural analysis more often!”


Nicole Crawford has been an Airport Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 7 years where she’s not only been doing calculations, but has also been a mentor to others. Her advice comes with a gentle instruction.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You have your own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the most important thing you will learn is how to evaluate them for yourself.  Improve where you need to but advocate for yourself using your strengths….and trust me, you have some. Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t click.”


If we can learn anything from these women, it’s not to shy away from a challenge, and not to be intimidated by a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics!

A Resident Project Represenative’s Perspective – Civil Engineers as ‘civil’ engineers

Recently while on-site, I was helping train a summer intern.  In describing what I do in the field vs. what she was learning in the classroom, one thing that came up was how I handle mitigating   public complaints – definitely experience you don’t gain in the classroom, but also something rarely discussed there either.  How I explained it to her, in general, was that we are Civil Engineers by education, but when we are dealing with public complaints we are called upon to be ‘civil’ engineers.

Parking Lot Construction As RPRs, we serve as the face of our clients, who in our field are more often than not public agencies –DOTs, municipalities, airports, and the like – that people rely on to provide them with clean water, handle their refuse, and provide safe roads and bridges to accommodate their travel from “point A” to “point B”, among other things. Every construction project has its share of challenges, but when it’s a public infrastructure project there is often more scrutiny from the public eye as it is their money funding the project and they have more of a stake in the final outcome.  RPRs are the civil engineers fielding the public concerns when there are “cracks in the driveway from blasting”, “sediment in the pond from digging”, or “no more trees screening my view from the highway”. We often hear from impassioned abutters who never had this problem before the “Town decided to re-do the bridge” or the “State decided to widen the highway”, and so on and so forth.

Utilities Construction Along Rt 28The complaints don’t come in when there’s a lull in construction; they often come in first thing on a Monday when everyone is trying to get organized for the busy week ahead.  They come in during the critical part of an operation.  They come in at the very end of a long day when the thoughts of the day’s activities can’t seem to wait any longer to make it into the daily report.  This is when we must remember to be ‘civil’ engineers by putting aside the stresses of the day to address the public with a thoughtful ear.  We must express a general concern for what the issue is, regardless of how minute or outlandish it may sound.  We must remind ourselves that it is difficult for most people to “see the forest through the trees”, especially well into the middle of a project when the area looks nothing like its former self, and a shadow of the finished product.  The concerned neighbor and the irate business owner are not focused on what the plan says (nor are most trained in reading the plan); they care about the immediate impact of the current construction effort.

By representing our clients in a ‘civil’ manor, we offer inflamed abutters a professional courtesy, and portray our clients’ intentions to address the issue at hand.  In some cases, this alone is enough to allay their fears – knowing that the project isn’t carrying on in a wonton fashion, but rather under watchful scrutiny.  Whether that neighbor is being cooperative or difficult, whether that business owner is being reasonable or unreasonable, we must remain ‘civil’ in our handling of their concerns – especially when we are tired, our patience is worn thin, and other situations on-site are demanding our attention.  To do otherwise would be a disservice to our clients, our profession, and the public we serve, and dare I say ‘uncivilized’.

RPR, or Resident Project Representative, is the general term for an inspector, resident engineer, contract administrator, clerk of the works, etc.; basically the field person responsible for ensuring that a project is constructed per the Contract Plans and Specifications and reporting back to the Owner.