Engineering Week: Today is For Girls Only!
A special part of National Engineering Week is Girls Day, which focuses on inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers and introducing role models they can follow. There are many talented, accomplished women leading and shaping Engineers In Action and today we are excited to introduce you to Civil Engineer and founding EIA board member, Julie Guy.
Share a bit about your engineering career:
I am a civil engineer and have enjoyed a satisfying career developing the infrastructure that communities depend on. In 1987 I joined a new engineering firm and over the next decade became majority owner.
Any favorite projects?
Probably the most complex project our firm (Guy Engineering Services, Inc) managed was the Elm Creek detention pond at 6th St and Peoria in Tulsa. In the 1920’s the city enclosed Elm Creek in a large storm sewer. Over time the drainage area developed and the runoff exceeded the capacity of the storm sewer such that frequent flooding occurred in this basin.
Our project was to design a beautiful detention pond that had no concrete walls or side slopes and to save as many trees in the park area as possible. The design was subject to the review of the neighborhood parties as well as the City. This project required the skills of not only civil engineers, but also landscape architects, hydrologists, structural and electrical engineers. In addition to the complex design, project management was also required to keep the team of designers communicating and cooperating, keeping the project under budget and on schedule. Utility relocations were also required and accomplished.
The result was an award-winning, oft-photographed pond near the downtown area.
How did you get to EIA? Although I found great fulfillment as engineer and business owner, I was led to use my entrepreneurial and engineering knowledge to tackle new problems – in places in dire need of these capacities.
Through my pastor who had traveled extensively to Bolivia, I learned of the devastating effects of poor infant and child health, and how these impair a community’s long-term wellbeing by reducing school attendance, reducing wage capacity and eliminating occupational options. Although there were existing organizations tackling these problems, the projects took 4-5 years to complete and lacked long-term viability. In 2008, I was a founder of Engineers in Action, (EIA) created to bring responsive and lasting solutions to underserved communities-in-need by highlighting health-related engineering issues to be solved and assisting with solving them.
What advice would you give a young lady thinking about am engineering career?
A great career choice! In the late 1970’s, women engineers were unusual. Over the years, I encountered more women engineer comrades and made long-lasting friends with both male and female engineers. I learned new things on every project, whether it was how things are done in the real-world or new design skills. Problem-solving can be accomplished by men and women, each may have their own approach.