Member Spotlight Archive
July 2020 Member Spotlight (1 of 2)
Name: Clea Baumhofer
Company: Toole Design Group
Title: Project Engineer
College: Johns Hopkins University
Degree: Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 2014
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I first became interested in transportation in high school, when I discovered a love for bridges and big pieces of infrastructure that can symbolize a city, like the Brooklyn Bridge for New York. As I learned more about civil engineering, I became interested in how people interact with infrastructure and how we as engineers can improve that experience. Now at Toole Design I focus on active transportation design, making biking and walking on our streets safer and more enjoyable.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I am very fortunate to have many people I look up to as mentors, but one in particular is my colleague Tina. She is really connected to the mission of our work in improving safety for all roadway users and reminds me to center the well-being of individuals in my engineering designs. At the same time, she practices everyday mentorship of many young engineers at our firm, and she is the kind of caring mentor I would like to become one day myself.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? For me, the biggest challenge is being the bad guy. In my years as a construction inspector, and now as a project manager on design projects, there's times when I have to put my foot down to get the project delivered correctly and on time. I overcome this personal discomfort by focusing on the goal of a safe and successful project .
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? Rather than trying to see into the future, I have preferred to work as hard as I can in my current role and see what opportunities that brings. Right now, I am focused on learning and growing as an engineer so I can deliver projects that have a big positive impact. In 10 years, I would like to be able to look back on a body of work, in Baltimore and the region, that represents a concrete improvement in how people get around in their daily lives.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I have several musical neighbors and we have formed a casual chamber ensemble. Three to eight of us get together weekly for dinner and music in non-COVID times. In summer, I love hiking with my dog and heading to the beach.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I first became involved with WTS in 2018. I was looking to join a professional organization and the dual mission of WTS in advancing both women and the industry really appealed to me. Spending more time with a group of smart, hardworking women was an easy decision.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I have enjoyed connecting with women across the region that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, from the industry chats like the conversation with Chrissy Nizer to mentoring opportunities like working with young women interested in transportation in TransportationYou.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? I am most proud of our Lynn Street project in Arlington, VA which just wrapped up construction in June. This project included safety improvements and at several intersections along Lynn St and Lee Hwy, widening the Custis Trail, and re-imagining the streetscape and entrance to Gateway Park. The corridor serves a key connection between Arlington and DC for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. While the original design occurred before my time at Toole Design, I managed our team's role as the Engineer of Record on the project, and it represented for me the melding of my background in construction inspection with my current role as an active transportation designer.
Spring 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Lindsay Ewell
Company: Rossi Transportation Group
Title: Jr. Traffic Engineer
College: University of Delaware
Degree: Bachelor of Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 2016
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I was exposed to transportation engineering fairly early on in my college career, and quickly found it interesting and was intrigued by the variety of career paths. I enjoy being able to work in a field that is solving problems that have a positive impact on the community.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I was paired with a great mentor in the WTS Mentoring Program. While I've only been her mentee for a few months, Veronica MacBeth has been invaluable with helping me set career goals and have more confidence in myself and my work. She's helped me see projects from a new perspective and consider public opinion.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? I've encountered a few instances where I don't have a subject matter expert readily available to bounce ideas off of, or to offer more in-depth knowledge. I've had to learn through other resources, including through my work on-site at MDOT SHA's Travel Forecasting and Analysis Division.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? In 10 years, I see myself with my PE and PTOE, and hopefully leading a small traffic group at Rossi.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I really enjoy traveling and exploring new places. My college friends are scattered across the country, so I'm given a good reason to visit and see some new places at the same time.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I got involved with WTS shortly after I started at Rossi in Spring 2018. My boss, Rita Ossiander, introduced me to the organization and after my first event (a tour of BWI airport), I was hooked.
What has been a benefit you have seen from your WTS membership? I've met some pretty awesome women through this organization. We're still in a predominantly male field, and having a group of women that supports each other and is always willing to offer guidance and friendship has been amazing.