“I always knew I wanted to do something that involved math, science, and art. Building model rockets, science projects, and LEGOs were a big part of my childhood. Fortunately, I have had great mentors in my life that recognized my interests and helped guide me towards pursuing a career in engineering. One of my first mentors was my uncle, Tom Knuckey, who’s been a professional engineer for more than 25 years. When I was in grade school, Tom would talk about how bridges are designed or what was involved in designing an interchange, which opened my eyes to the world of civil engineering.
I studied civil engineering (undergraduate) and engineering management (graduate) at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and while in school I had the opportunity to work at Atkins as an intern for the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) group.
After graduation, I was fortunate to earn a full-time position in Atkins’ Transportation Graduate Training Program (TGTP). The TGTP is an 18-month training program structured to offer new college graduates innovative training that capitalizes on the firm's internal capabilities, while providing professional development experience. The training program gave me the opportunity to rotate through various transportation groups, which really helped me develop a clear vision for my career path. My technical rotations included highway design, ITS, drainage, tolls, and Construction Engineering Inspection (CEI). Being exposed to a multitude of technical training rotations also gave me an understanding of how engineering teams work together to complete and deliver complex projects. Another great aspect of the program was the non-technical training, which included presentations and projects on the business of engineering, marketing, human resources, project pursuits, and client relationships which exposed me to topics and concepts about leadership and project management.
I am now a senior engineer for Atkins’ Florida highways group and also the national coordinator for the TGTP. Looking back, I feel blessed to have gone through the TGTP because it gave me an opportunity realize my ultimate career path and make connections with many influential people in the transportation engineering industry. I will be forever grateful for the education and opportunities provided by my mentors, Atkins and the TGTP.
My advice for new graduates: Establish a good work/life balance. Finding a balance between work and home was definitely a challenge at the start of my career. I have a passion for the engineering profession and really enjoy working at Atkins, so I tend to get carried away in my work. However, I have learned over the last seven years that balance is very important for long-term success. I am still very dedicated to my profession and my career, but I am also working on spending more time with my family.”