Interview with Structural Designer Nathalie Rhoads


In 1951, the National Society of Professional Engineers initiated Engineer’s Week to highlight the important role engineers play in our society. It’s been celebrated every year since. E-Week events and publicity also focus on attracting young people to the profession.

In honor of E-Week, we’ve asked some of WBRC’s newer engineers and engineers-to-be about their chosen careers.

Nathalie Rhoads – Structural Designer

Nathalie Rhoads is a high-energy professional with a strong background in Lean design and operations. Joining us in September 2022, she has totally engaged with all things “WBRC.”

Why did you become an engineering professional? What attracted you to this profession?

I wanted to become an engineer so that I could have the skills to contribute to the development of safe, sustainable infrastructure. I have always been motivated by the fact that engineers can design solutions that improve people’s lives, and I am particularly passionate about how those skills can be used to help those in underserved communities.

What traits do you think are needed to be successful in your engineering discipline?

You need to be a strong communicator to be successful in structural engineering. The projects that we work on involve coordination with individuals from various backgrounds such as contractors, architects, and other engineers, and it is crucial that you can convey your ideas effectively to all stakeholders.

When you first started working in engineering, what was most surprising to you?

I was most surprised to see how diverse the field is. With an engineering degree, you can work in many different environments such as manufacturing, field services, and design. There is not one fixed career path you need to follow, and a breadth of experience is encouraged in the profession.

What would you say to a young person who is interested in becoming an engineer but unsure if they have what it takes?

It is never too early (or too late!) to get hands-on experience to see if engineering is a good fit for you. You can volunteer for organizations like Habitat for Humanity to get construction experience, and you can reach out to employers in your area to ask if you can shadow an engineer for a day.