Our Industry Person of the Week is Rebecca Peters, P.E. with Transmission & Utilities – Southeast group at Freese & Nichols, Inc.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Rebecca: I started my engineering career designing bridges and then transitioned into designing water transmission pipelines and pump stations. After several years of designing pump stations and pipeline I wanted to learn a more technical and specific aspect of pump station and pipeline design known as surge analysis. I have spent the past four years analyzing the effects of hydraulic transients on transmission systems.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Rebecca: The things I love the most about my job is the ability to challenge my brain on a daily basis with some of the most talented people in the industry and mentor young engineers. There is a great satisfaction seeing young engineers grow throughout their career to become technical experts and successful project managers.
I am most proud of my ability to share my passion for civil engineering, most specifically surge, with non-engineers through describing how an individual experiences a very minor surge event when they are doing common tasks such as turning on and off the water faucet or pumping gas into their vehicle. There is a gratification that comes with being able to explain things that may appear to be complicated but if presented in the right manner can reach and educate a broader audience that may not have an engineering degree or background.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Rebecca: For someone considering the civil engineering field, the work can be hard and challenging at times, but it is incredibly rewarding. I am able to make a difference in someone’s everyday life by making sure they get water to their homes and businesses in a safe manner. Something that I learned early in my career was that real-life design projects can last a year or longer unlike the relatively short projects that one may encounter in school. While the time spent on a project may seem never-ending at times, over the course of the project one will learn a great amount of knowledge and build some of the most important relationships of their career. Lastly, whether you are considering engineering or new to the field, it is important to always be willing to learn new things throughout your career and take the time to ask questions.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Rebecca: The surge analysis work I have done for the past several years has been some of the most challenging work I have done in my career. Many of the analyses I have modeled were for preventative measures in a system. A recent project had me analyzing and existing system that incurred a line break. Information was gathered for the system at the time of the break and then implemented into a surge model to determine what caused the break. I was able to successfully determine a probable cause of the break and recommend ways to prevent future line breaks. The project experience was incredibly rewarding because I was able to help give a client a solution to a serious problem that was occurring in their system.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Rebecca: If someone tells you that you should reconsider being an engineer, use that as motivation to work the hardest that you have ever worked and prove to them that they were incorrect in their assumptions. Also, work for a company and manager that believes in you and supports you. As a working mom with two young kids, it has not always been easy juggling personal life and a professional career, but with a strong team at home and work I have been able to prove that you can be successful at both.
THANK YOU, REBECCA! WE LOOK FORWARD TO KEEPING UP WITH YOU THROUGH THE #PUMPTALK COMMUNITY!
KNOW AN AMAZING PERSON WHO IS MAKING VALUABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN INDUSTRY? NOMINATE THEM TO BE AN “INDUSTRY PERSON OF THE WEEK”!