ACEC California President Mary Erchul recently gave a presentation to the Association for Women in Science’s Sacramento Valley Chapter on the subject of Navigating a Career in Civil Engineering. Erchul discussed her role as a Construction Manager/Resident Engineer for Ghirardelli Associates and as President of ACEC California. Erchul discussed how she advanced to where she is today, including diving into her background, education, job progression and mentors. The audience was very interested in the challenges Erchul has faced along the way, including equality, empowerment, unequal pay, lack of solid role models and work/life balance issues.
Erchul stressed that being persuasive, assertive, flexible and compassionate has helped her achieve success. Also discussed was her drive to get things done and willingness to sometimes break the rules.
Erchul encouraged the women to be open-minded, straightforward and inclusive in problem solving. Additionally, the audience was encouraged to build on individual strengths. Lastly, Erchul presented what she looks for when hiring, which includes candidates with initiative, optimism, the ability to adapt, and who are decisive and competent, passionate and willing to learn.