Women’s History Month: Meet Jennifer Akashi of MNS Engineers

March is Women’s History Month and it is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the critical contributions women have made to the engineering profession. From Nora Stanton Blatch in 1905 becoming the first woman in the United States to obtain a degree in civil engineering and Lillian Moller Gilbreth who became the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering to Dr. Ellen Ochoa Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and the first Hispanic woman in space, women have been breaking down barriers to open professional pathways for future generations of female engineers.

This month, ACEC California will be highlighting women engineers that are excelling at their profession and helping set the standard for future engineering professionals through dedication, high work ethic, and a commitment to serving the public. MNS Engineers submitted a profile of Jennifer Akashi, an engineer with a deep interest in water infrastructure.

Meet Jennifer Akashi of MNS Engineers

Jennifer AkashiIn celebration of Women’s History Month, MNS Engineers (a multi-service infrastructure consulting firm with offices throughout California) was asked to highlight the achievements of one of our rising stars. While we have many women at MNS who meet this criterion, we chose to focus on one of our younger engineers, Jennifer Akashi, EIT and 2016 CalPoly Pomona graduate.

Jennifer comes from an engineering family. Her father, a mechanical engineer, first sparked her interest in engineering as a profession. From a young age, Jennifer spent many hours in the garage with her dad hammering, welding, assembling, building. You name it, they did it. “My dad always had a hands-on project for us to work on in the garage” says Jennifer, “He can fix anything”. As an adult, she attributes her handy(wo)man skills to this time spent with her father.

While having an engineer in the household certainly influenced her decision to pursue engineering, it was ultimately her love of the environment and sciences which led her to choose civil engineering as her career.

1410900344665Unlike many students entering college, Jennifer knew she wanted to get a civil engineering degree. She just didn’t know EXACTLY what she wanted to do. To help guide her through her course work and lay the path for her future, she joined an on-campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). It was there she was advised to seek out internships as a means of focusing her career. She pursued both public and private sector opportunities; assisted with proposal preparation and budgets; and was involved in the design of water, wastewater, and surface water projects.

In August 2016, Jennifer joined MNS. When asked what attracted her to the firm, she replied, “This was the first job (in engineering) where my bosses were female. Having strong women role models and leaders was an important factor in my decision making.” She also enjoys the variety of work and growth opportunities within MNS and is particularly interested in recycled water. As her technical abilities mature, Jennifer sees herself in a Project Management role overseeing large water infrastructure projects.

Jennifer’s next challenge is the California Professional Engineers exam.

IMG_0893Some fun facts about Jennifer:

  • She holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Emphasis
  • She enjoys backpacking with her boyfriend, reading, cooking, and traveling
  • After graduation, she spent a month traveling through Europe.


ACEC California’s Engineering Excellence Awards Wrap Up

ACEC California’s 1st Annual Scholarship Foundation Fundraising Dinner presenting the ACEC California Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) was held on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at the Parc 55 Hotel in San Francisco, California. With over 300 attendees and 28 firms receiving awards, this year’s awards ceremony recognized recent achievements of the engineering and surveying industries.


Bill Wagner presenting the 2016 Legislator of the Year award to Senator Patricia Bates, at the EEA Banquet.

In December we announced Senator Pat Bates as our Legislator of the Year. We were honored that the Senator was able to accept the award at our EEA banquet.

Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center was not the only project to receive an award. Notably, many firms won multiple awards. The top 18 award winners were eligible for the top California Golden State Award. And all 18 of these Honor Award winners are eligible to go on to the national Engineering Excellence Award competition in Washington D.C.


Left to Right: Megan Guida, Ralph Guida, Senator Bates, Kurt Yoshii, Jeff Walker, and Stephanie Wagner.

Brad Diede, Executive Director of ACEC California stated, “Many deserving projects were submitted to this competition. All of these firms should be very proud their contributions to our society. We were pleased to be able to recognize their distinctive and inventive concepts.”

For a complete list of all the award winners, click here.


Brad Diede, Corey Walker (Past Scholarship Award Winner) and family at the EEA Reception.

ACEC California is excited to have brought the Scholarship Foundation and EEA together and affirm the fundamental role that ACEC California member firms play in building and maintaining the quality of our infrastructure. Thank you to our panel of judges and our members’ support. Congratulations to all our award winners!

Click here for a look at all the photos from the banquet!


Assembly Member Jim Frazier Named 2015 Legislator of the Year

Frazier head shotFor his strong support of investing in innovative transportation infrastructure systems in California, ACEC California is pleased to announce that we have selected Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) as our 2015 Legislator of the Year.

“Assembly Member Frazier knows well the importance of efficient and effective transportation systems in California,” said Bruce Presser, ACEC California President. “From ensuring that local governments are empowered to more effectively manage their roadways through express ways, to supporting a comprehensive statewide transportation infrastructure investment, Assembly Member Frazier is not afraid to stand up for his values. “

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