Inspiring Future Civil Engineers and Construction Contractors

On Tuesday, March 3, our all-female City project team leading the Boones Ferry Road (BFR) Project engaged 20 students from Lakeridge Middle School in an all-day event to showcase the multi-million dollar road project, and to provide an opportunity to both create and observe engineering and construction in action.

Leading the way

The City project team (Crystal Shum, project lead; Stacy Bluhm, project engineer; and Katy Kerklaan, communications and public outreach), also joined by Erica Rooney, city engineer, and Chad Maxwell, construction manager from Otak, Inc. kicked off the day by sharing their unique stories and backgrounds, personal challenges or obstacles they had overcome, and how they got to where they are today in their careers.

Rene Miller, construction assistant, and Dan Payne, superintendent from Wildish – the General Contractor building the BFR project – were also on-hand to share information, fun giveaways and support the kids.

Building a road

To provide the kids with a hands-on experience, the project team and Cheri Davidson (TAG Coordinator at Lakeridge) developed a small group activity with defined roles to “Build a Road” based on engineering specifications and plan sheets that resembled similar infrastructure and elements that are being installed as part of the BFR project.

The team provided materials for the kids to purchase, and a tracking sheet for each group to manage their costs. Elements included installing: stormwater access holes, storm pipe, conduit for underground utilities, new sidewalk, new roadway with rock and asphalt, lane striping and the option to install bike lanes.

The group learned there are a myriad of skills involved in engineering and construction – not just math and science – but a lot more problem solving, project management, and working together as a team to resolve issues.

All aboard the excavator

In the afternoon, the project team led the group out in the field to show them some of the real-life issues they deal with, and had them learn from our contractors about how they operate equipment and actually construct the project.

One of the subcontractors for the project – Turney Excavating Inc. – set up stations and the kids learned about some of the technology they use (GPS) in the field and how they operate different pieces of equipment. All the kids climbed aboard a loader and excavator, looked inside 48“ stormwater pipe and access holes, viewed the new sidewalks being formed, new asphalt placed, special artistic elements, and retaining walls that were in different stages of being constructed.

This was not only memorable and rewarding for the kids, but also for the project team, consultants and contractors who participated in the day. We hope it made a difference in the kids’ lives and their career choices!

National Women in Construction Week

This special event was also timely, as it is National Women in Construction Week (March 1-7)! There is still a large gender gap in the civil engineering and construction fields.

We celebrate the wonderful women who work in construction, public works and engineering services in Lake Oswego! You are paving the way for the future.

We are proud of our all-female project team leading the BFR project to success, and inspiring other women and young girls to work in Engineering and Construction! Thanks Katy, Crystal and Stacy! (pictured below)