Meet Our Rail & Transit Engineers — Part 7
Bethany Dawa, P.E., Group Leader — Transportation
“ I wanted to work in an industry that directly benefited my community.”
How did you start your career in transportation?
I started my career in land development, where I worked on commercial and residential development projects, from hotels to condos to single-family homes. I learned all aspects of design and analysis for these projects, including mass grading, precise grading, drainage, utilities, Americans with Disabilities (ADA) access, and roadway. Within land development, I quickly found myself most interested in roadway design, and knew that I wanted to work in an industry that directly benefited my community.
Why did you choose to become a transportation/rail and transit professional?
I wasn’t quite satisfied with land development, I left to focus on public transportation infrastructure projects. Within two years of making the switch, I had worked on streetscape, highway, light rail, heavy rail, bike path, and bus rapid transit (BRT) projects. I knew that I had found my calling in civil engineering.
What are some of the most memorable projects you have worked on and why?
While working as an in-house consultant at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) in Southern California, I was the project engineer for the design of the I-15 BRT Stations. These stations connected to the I-15 Managed Lanes via Direct Access Ramps (DARs). It was the first large transportation project I got to see through from 30% design through construction and start of service.
Being in-house with the client and helping them to navigate the approval process with the transit agency, the City of San Diego, and other stakeholders, and seeing the project built and implemented — that was an invaluable and satisfying experience that fueled my passion for transportation projects.
“The two trends I see the most in Southern California are the implementation of technology (ITS, autonomous vehicles, positive train control, etc.) and a shift towards multimodal facilities…”
What trends do you see in the transportation/rail/transit market or in the industry as a whole?
The two trends I see the most in Southern California are the implementation of technology (ITS, autonomous vehicles, positive train control, etc.) and a shift towards multimodal facilities that benefit all users.
What do you enjoy about working at T.Y. Lin International?
I appreciate the diversity of exciting projects, the professional and supportive team atmosphere, the high quality of work, and, as a mom, the respect for families and work/life balance!
“There are so many different types of projects and areas of concentration within our industry that there is no end to what you can learn.”
What advice do you have for engineers just starting out in their careers?
With regards to acquiring skills and experience, my advice to young engineers is to embrace diversity and volunteer for as many tasks as possible. There are so many different types of projects and areas of concentration within our industry that there is no end to what you can learn. Gaining exposure to various disciplines can help you determine if you want to hone in on a specific area of focus, stay more general, pursue a project management path, or stay more purely technical.