Lynda Fuqua, E.I.T.
Klotz Associates, Inc.
Engineering, University of Houston
"As an Associate
Engineer, I work primarily in site development. I am involved in
developing local sites, reviewing drainage information,
conducting hydrology studies, bridge inspections and designs,
and road design work."
"The most important
thing that students interested in civil engineering should do is
to go and visit with practicing civil engineers and find out
what they do."
"I just chose the best one that I thought would be best for me, and that
was Klotz Associates. Because they gave me a variety of work. I like
variety in my work. I don't like to just do one thing. Being stuck behind
the computer. I like to get out and be with people. I like to do all sorts
of work, so my job never becomes monotonous. They were willing to give me
that, and they also understood I would be eventually on my way to my PE
pretty soon, and they were going to put me in project manager in the near
future after doing that. They don't hire anybody that they cannot at least
promote two times. And so they meant I had movement. I could go up in the
company, and that was very important to me. Someday I want to run a
company. I told them that. I want to run a company, and I guess they
seemed to have the kind of company that I'd like to run."
"We work as a team. When we have big projects we all pull different parts
of it. There are some things, though, that we work on all by ourselves,
individually. And that's a lot of fun. You can take a project from the
very start and take it all the way to the end and then when it's finished
you can go and say 'I did that. That was my job.'"
The only constant in the
professional lives of civil engineers is that they never have typical
days. Every day is different, bringing new challenges and unique demands,
and the nature of these demands varies according to the specialization and
seniority of the engineer. On the other hand, most report they work in
teams, they spend time on things not necessarily well described in their
titles, they concern themselves with continuing education and their
networking part of the time, and women and minorities report a better
environment than may once have been the norm in engineering. Virtually all
engineers spend some part of every day doing some routine administrative
tasks, and newly-graduated engineers may be surprised to find they will
most likely file, type, send e-mail, make phone calls, take notes in
meetings, and many other ordinary chores. Civil engineers have a wide
array of specialty areas to choose from. The titles civil engineers hold
are far more broad than most people know and their duties are even more
Q: What do you do in work?
I'm an associate engineer at
Parks Associates. I do a lot of things. I'm more in the site development
area. So I develop a lot of local sites here in Houston. We also have been
doing some hydrology and hydraulics, like the area we're in, where we're
on-call for the city. We review all their drainage information. I've done
a little bit of that. And then we've also been working on the Houston
Bikeway System, and we've been real active in that, especially downtown by
Herman Park, which is a great park here in Houston. And we're developing a
really nice bikeway which have a lot of things brewing, a lot of bridges,
and so that's mostly what I am doing, is making sure we can get under the
bridges. We also do the bridges, my team, and so we're doing a lot of
bridge inspections and bridge designs, and I do road design work, and in
the past I've done a lot of getting variances and conditional uses and
Q: How did you get your
Actually, I was a full-time
student at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, when I got my first job,
and I didn't want a job. I'm a mother. I had my son to take care of, and
so I said, well, I don't want to work. But I had an engineer come and say
do you want to work for me? And he gave me an offer I couldn't refuse. I
could work whenever I wanted to, as often as I wanted to, and work at
home, work anywhere. And so I said, okay, I'll do it. Eventually it worked
into a full-time position there, and I went to school then part-time. So
they ended up giving me their full-time. When I left Alaska and came down
here. I networked through CE, and I went to every Houston branch meeting
that they had, and I've been real active in the local University of
Houston ASCE. I got to know a lot of presidents and owners of companies
and principals. When I was graduating, I had straight out offers. If I
wanted to come work for people, they would hire me. Instead of
interviewing four people, I went and interviewed companies and I found out
the companies I wanted to work for when they gave me offers, and I just
chose the best one that I thought would be best for me, and that was Klotz
Q: Why did you chose them?
Because they gave me a variety of work. I like variety in my work. I don't
like to just do one thing. Being stuck behind the computer. I like to get
out and be with people. I like to do all sorts of work, so my job never
becomes monotonous. They were willing to give me that, and they also
understood I would be eventually on my way to my PE pretty soon, and they
were going to put me in product manager in the near future after doing
that. They don't hire anybody that they cannot at least promote two times.
And so that meant I had movement. I could go up in the company, and that
was very important to me. Someday I want to run a company. I told them
that. I want to run a company, and I guess they seemed to have the kind of
company that I'd like to run.
Q: When did you know you
wanted to become an engineer?
When I was in about fifth
grade, I wanted to be an architectural engineer. I've always been
fascinated with structures, of any kind. And I like solving problems. I
think that's the biggest thing. I love solving problems. I like problem
properties because I will find the way to make it work. I don't know why.
It's just something I decided I was going to be. I planned my whole life
to be it. It took me a little longer than I originally planned. I've had a
couple of kids along the way. But I just wanted to be an engineer. The
thing is, school didn't tell me I wanted to be an engineer, it was being
around people. My friends had fathers that were engineers. I think my dad
wanted to be an engineer originally, and that might have been some of it.
But I just love it. I like doing it.