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Reconnecting at the 23rd Annual Leadership Forum

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By, Alexandra Kleyman, AICP, Boston Region MPO

On April 23rd, WTS-Boston’s 23rd Annual Leadership Forum honored Judith Nitsch, PE, LEED AP BD+C, over breakfast at the Courtyard Boston Downtown. Over 100 WTS-Boston members, sponsors, and invited guests gathered for this annual event that honors an exceptional female in the field. Ms. Nitsch was selected for this award due to her 40 plus year commitment to building better communities and the vision and skillful strategy that have made her a leader.


Ms. Nitsch is the Founding Principal of Nitsch Engineering, Inc., a 100+ person firm headquartered in Boston, and with offices in Washington DC, and Worcester and Lawrence, MA. Established in 1989, the firm has provided civil, structural, and transportation engineering; land surveying; planning; green infrastructure consulting; and GIS services on projects in 20 states and 5 countries.


Judy is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. She is a registered professional engineer in 27 states, and is a LEED Accredited Professional BD+C. She received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2010 and an honorary Doctor of Engineering from WPI in 2015. Her work as a civil engineer has focused on the design, permitting, and management of site development and infrastructure-related projects. Much of her firm’s civil engineering work includes consulting for and designing the sustainable sites aspects of green building and green infrastructure projects.
Judy described her firm’s successes as resulting from a combination of three things – fabulous projects, wonderful clients, and terrific employees. As she spoke to the crowd gathered at the Leadership Forum, Judy imparted four stories of teamwork that shaped her career –


     • In her first job after college, she was prohibited from going to construction sites. Only the men could go to construction sites, and she did office work. The lack of construction experience was somewhat of a problem until she hired Sam Sleiman. She described that Sam had field experience and she was the one responsible for communication. They “kept each other out of trouble.” The teamwork lesson she learned from this experience was to focus on her strengths and become excellent at them.

     • Judy partnered with Lisa Brothers and they came up with the “two pair of eyes policy” in their work. The idea being that someone always must review your work who knows nothing about what you’re working on. Without this approach, Judy said “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

     • Throughout her company’s history, they have grown through teaming on projects. Nitsch is the largest women owned business in New England and has greatly benefited from the Women Business Enterprise (WBE) program. Today, WBE work comprises 19 percent of Nitsch’s business.

     • A key focus for Judy is building the future workforce. She holds us all responsible for creating the diverse workforce of the future. Developing this diversity is key to maintaining the vitality and responsiveness of the field – a diverse workforce leads to the generation of diverse ideas.


WTS-Boston was thrilled to honor Ms. Nitsch at the annual Leadership Forum. In addition to building a leading company and being a vital member of WTS-Boston for over 25 years, Judy started Nitsch Engineering’s annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day. This event has introduced many aspects of engineering to 6th to 12th grade girls for the past 18 years and continues to serve as an important avenue for middle- and high school aged girls to learn about engineering subjects such as waterfront/ocean engineering and resiliency. Congratulations Judy!

 

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