What do you do?
I direct a team of technical experts and we are currently developing and implementing the coordinated Transport Management Plan for the Dubai World Expo in 2020 as well as supporting several rail projects for WSP USA.
Where are you originally from?
North Georgia, USA
How long have you been with WSP? In the region?
I have been with WSP USA since 2015, and have split my time between the two, USA and Middle East, for the last two years since moving to Dubai.
What got you into engineering?
While not a trained professional engineer, I have always worked in transport and I have spent the last 20 years managing transport-related projects from planning and design through to construction. My professional career began as a logistics officer in the US Army, where I planned and executed complex multinational transportation and logistics operations across Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East. After the army, I was a government program manager responsible for evaluating, selecting and delivering over 70 nationally-funded transportation and infrastructure projects involving multiple freight and passenger railroads in the US. I left the “client side” to join WSP in 2015 and have supported similar projects as a consultant in both the US and ME ever since.
What has been your best accomplishment at work?
The Expo 2020 Crowd Control project has been a very exciting project, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to apply my experience as a “client” in the US to similar problems faced by the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (RTA). Expo will have the world’s attention when it begins in October 2020, and leading this project has been the most rewarding project of my career so far. Overseeing the development of a complex series of transport plans to support Expo 2020 has been technically very demanding, and learning the culture, customs and client expectation in the Middle East has been quite an experience! Most of all, I have loved leading a team of diverse and top-notch professionals from all over the world.
What are you passionate about?
Leading teams of professionals to provide value to clients while also creating learning and growth opportunities for the team members.
What is it you do outside of work that you feel most proud of?
My husband and I have four kids ages 12, 10, 7, and 5. Over the last 12 years of being working parents, we have developed several strategies to try to maintain an optimal work-life balance and it continues to be a work in progress to prioritize our work and personal obligations. As working parents, we try to set an example for our kids that work can be something you enjoy that brings a lot of personal satisfaction and pride, and while we may miss some of our kids’ activities, we also focus all our free time trying to spend quality time as a family.
What can you say about gender diversity? In the industry?
I have been delighted with the diversity of my team here in the ME, not just gender, but the nationalities, too. My team is comprised of men and women from Scotland, India, Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, all of whom are highly competent, capable professionals, which is the most important aspect for me as a project manager.