June 18, 2019
Coffee Break! Meet Becky Ward, our Newest Leader in Raleigh
By: Trang Vu
As we gear up for International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, we wanted to take the time to feature some of our female leaders. This week, I had the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee with Becky Ward, our stormwater group leader in Raleigh. Becky is new with our firm after our recent merger with Ward Consulting Engineers. Over coffee, I was able to learn some interesting tidbits about her, such as her love for watercolor painting. Becky also has over 35 years of experience as a civil and stormwater engineer and one of her main passions (in addition to painting) is providing environmentally sustainable designs to help shape the earth for future generations. I’m glad she chose the engineering route because she and her team are invaluable assets to our firm.
Q. I know it’s been a whirlwind for you and your team these last few weeks after coming on board so thanks for taking the time to meet with me today! Tell me about your role in our Raleigh, NC office.
My role is the Stormwater Group Leader and my team’s primary focus will be engaging in stormwater projects that support the municipal sector under term contracts as well as stand-alone projects. We currently have a two on-call contracts, one with the City of Raleigh and one with the Town of Cary, that we’re excited to bring to Timmons Group. We are also looking forward to supporting our other offices!
Q. If there’s one thing you want your WCE clients to know after the recent merger, what is it?
I’d like our clients to know that we’re bringing the same capabilities that we had before, but we’re adding to that a variety of services that Timmons Group can offer. This could include structural, roadway, and water & wastewater services that Timmons Group has great experience in.
Q. What most excites you about your work?
The thing that excites me most is taking an environmentally sensitive approach to design. Traditionally, civil engineers have been associated with mass grading, and that’s just not what civil engineers do.
Q. As a woman in engineering, how do you feel that the industry has changed since you first started your career?
There has been some progress made but I don’t think it’s as much as I had hoped for, you know, 35 years ago when I started. There’s still not enough women engineers and I think we need to do a better job educating young girls at an early age that it’s ok to go into science fields.
Q. You’ve been in the industry for over 35 years, if you could give one piece of advice to a young engineer regarding their career, what would it be?
Be selective picking your first job. Don’t just take a job because you need a job. Most likely, your second job is going to be based on your first job. It is hard to get the opportunity to expand because of salary requirements. Make sure that you’re doing what you want to do when you get out of school.
Q. Follow your dreams, right?! Can you tell me about a point in your career that you are most proud of? I’m sure there are multiple!
My decision to follow my interests in stream restoration when it was a new science and being successful in obtaining an on-call contract with the state of North Carolina that we held for 10 years.
Q. If you were not a civil/stormwater engineer, what would you be?
An artist, more specifically, a painter. I like watercolors. I was an art and math science major my first two years in college and my parents wanted me to be an art teacher. I was really good in math, so I was recruited by Michigan State University for their Women in Engineering program and I’ve had a great career ever since.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Q. What was your first job?
Q. What would your ideal Sunday be like?
Getting up late, going to the gym for water aerobics, and working in the yard or around the house.
Q. What is your favorite book/movie?
Movie: Jurassic Park (The original)
Book: Pride and Prejudice
Q. What is your most beloved charitable cause?
PBS or Multiple Sclerosis.
Q. If you could live in one place for the rest of your life with money not being an issue, where would it be?
Where my kids are. But my son just bought a house in Hawaii so that would be a win-win!