Hearing someone rave about a new on-ramp, additional lanes, improved sidewalks or added bike facilities makes CH2M Hill road designer Stephanie Forman's day.
What do you do? I work at CH2M Hill as a roadway engineer — i.e., I design roads. My job is to take a client’s (a city or state) vision and create engineering plans that can be constructed, all while meeting the needs of the project’s stakeholders.
How did you get started in that field? I started out by working for SCI Infrastructure — a roadway construction company — while studying civil engineering at UW. At the time, SCI was constructing a project that CH2M Hill designed. I ended up meeting the engineer of that project at a career fair and was hired within a few weeks. Ten years later, and I’m still here!
What’s a typical day like? I would say that there really is no “typical” day for me — each day is unique. In the office, I can be found working on a multitude of projects and tasks, such as sketching preliminary concepts for Colman Dock, designing Metro’s RapidRide bus zones in Ballard, or widening I-405 in Renton. I also have opportunities to do field work – whether it’s examining existing site conditions or inspecting the construction of my design.
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What’s the best part of the job? The best part of my job is serving my clients and improving our local roadway network! My company takes extreme pride in what we do, and client service is always at the forefront. I worked at Nordstrom for six years, and at my interview with CH2M Hill, hearing the HR rep tell me that they are the “Nordstrom” of engineering firms, I knew I’d love the client focus and service.
Also, I absolutely love it when the projects I work on have a positive effect on the traveling public. Having someone rave about a new on-ramp, additional lanes, improved sidewalks or added bike facilities is always fun when you can say, “I designed that!” Hearing that a client or the public is happy with my work always makes my day.
What surprises people about your work? When people hear “roadway engineer,” they usually think about traffic congestion or construction. People travel on roads every day, but most have never thought about the geometric design behind them. The amount of calculations and design surprises them!
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