TxDOT sees more women entering field of engineering
By Heather Deaton
ATLANTA — The number of women in key leadership positions at TxDOT is on the rise as TxDOT celebrates International Women in Engineering Day.
The agency’s rural Atlanta District is home to eight women who are licensed professional engineers, and just last year, Rebecca Wells was selected as the first woman to lead district operations.
Accomplished women such as these engineers are being celebrated across the world on June 23, International Women in Engineering Day. Their stories are all filled with hope and encouragement for others to simply do what they love.
Wells’ talent in science and math was discovered by a high school counselor who told her she would make a great engineer.
“As a teenager, I made up my mind to pursue the career that she recommended to me,” Wells said. “It made sense for me. I knew I would enjoy it and that I would make a good living, and I’ve never looked back.”
Atlanta District Director of Transportation Planning and Development Katie Martin said her love for math also led her to a career in engineering. She feels blessed to have a great job in the town where she grew up.
“I have always loved being involved in hands-on projects. I love solving problems, finding answers and reaching solutions,” Martin said.
Engineering Assistant Juthika Golder immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh. She wanted to be an engineer as a young girl but didn’t immediately pursue it. She has since received her master’s degree in civil engineering and plans to soon take the exam for her professional engineering license.
“When life gave me a second chance, I took that opportunity. I went back to school, got my engineering degree, and here I am today,” Golder said.
As a child, Atlanta District Director of Construction Kim Garner remembered riding from job to job with her father, who owned a construction company.
“I love to see a project come full circle,” Garner said. “We get to see it in the planning process, design and then ultimately in construction.”
Garner added that among the many reasons she enjoys working for TxDOT is that her job allows her to balance work and family. Martin and Wells agreed.
“The work life balance with TxDOT is great. I have two very active children that are involved in many activities, and I’m able to pursue a professional career, but also raise them and be a part of everything that they do,” Martin said. “TxDOT provides an amazing opportunity for work-life balance,” Wells added. “It has allowed me the flexibility to develop my career as an engineer while still being involved with my daughters as they were growing up.”
These women are grateful to those who paved the path before them, and they are hopeful that their work will inspire other young women to join the exciting field of engineering.
“If it’s something you’re interested in, if it’s something that makes you feel good about going to work every day, and if it’s something you enjoy doing, then do it,” Martin said. “Don’t let anything stop you.”