Julia Kallmerten, PE: An Emerging Leader Among Tighe & Bond Coastal and Waterfront Engineers
Celebrating Women Making an Impact in the AEC Industry
By Regina Sibilia
Project Engineer Julia Kallmerten is making her mark at Tighe & Bond with her specialty in coastal and waterfront engineering. As an emerging leader among our expanding coastal and waterfront services, Julia found her niche starting her career with Tighe & Bond after graduating from the University of New Hampshire with a Civil Engineering degree.
“I sort of stumbled into my current career after identifying that I always had an interest in math and science. I was influenced by the careers in my family – my dad, mom, and sister all work in different areas of STEM. My high school AP Calculus teacher was formerly a Civil Engineer which meant that his math lessons centered around engineering concepts so that sparked my specific interest,” said Julia.
Originally hired to work on site/civil projects for the firm, Julia also wanted to explore more facets of engineering. She found mentors throughout Tighe & Bond who have nurtured her growth during her 5-years in the AEC Industry. Julia has worked with our Bridge and Structural teams crediting the leadership of Principal Engineer Brian Brenner and Senior Engineer Andrea Lacasse exposing her to the complexities and beauty of bridge design.
As she honed her skills in additional areas, she found her current role after being asked to assist with inspections of coastal and waterfront engineering projects. Working under the tutelage of the coastal/waterfront team she eventually started designing projects for clients. This year, she has been continuing her career development by learning from Vice President Jim Russell and Project Manager Greg Coren who came to Tighe & Bond with extensive waterfront engineering expertise through the acquisition of RT Group.
Julia realized this was exactly the focus in engineering she was looking for. She was calculating the mechanics of ocean waves hitting sea walls and performing above and underwater assessments of marine structures. This career track tapped into her love of the ocean and her skills as a certified scuba diver. While she dives recreationally, she uses her safety training while snorkeling in the water to perform assessments on projects.
Discovering a passion within engineering also means breaking ground in an industry that is still growing in gender diversity.
“Usually I’m the only woman in a room for a client meeting or on a job site. Some people don’t even think about it and will easily work with you while others may provide some pushback. It’s made me push myself to be out of my comfort zone to make sure I’m confident in my decisions,” said Julia. She is now seeing a significant shift as she begins to work alongside an increasing number of women engineers – even within her own office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
She has used her experiences to encourage young women just starting out in their careers to not hesitate to visit project sites to make their designs better and to prioritize communication about a final product.
“Ask a lot of questions. There have been times in the past when I was embarrassed to ask questions. We all learn differently and most of my knowledge comes from asking questions and gaining experience.”
For Julia, there is not a more satisfying feeling than seeing her design being built. Especially working in communities throughout New Hampshire she can walk by projects she has personally worked on from start to finish and know that she has made a difference.