Kallyse Crawford is a transportation engineer based out of our Bremerton, WA office. She joined Parametrix in February 2020 and has 3 years of industry experience. She recently earned her Professional Engineer license. We asked her a few questions about her career, future goals, and advice for others pursuing their PE license.
Tell us about your professional background.
I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada and attended a very small school there. When it came time to choosing a college, I decided I wanted more of that small campus feel and ended up at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Something that drew me there was their 5 year Integrated Business & Engineering Honors Program, which is a special curriculum where students earn two bachelor’s degrees, one in their engineering track and one in business, which was geared towards engineering. Lucky for me, I was able to finish in the program in 4 years, and graduated in 2017 with both degrees and a focus in Civil Engineering.
One thing I learned from my time at Lehigh – I was not meant to be a structural engineer, i.e. the only civil elective courses that Lehigh offered during my time there. Not interested in entering the job market with a resume primed for structures, I decided to pursue a Masters of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, which focused in transportation and urban planning – I’d say it took me approximately one hour in class to know that this was exactly what I wanted to do.
Always one for efficiency, I finished my degree early and graduated in August of 2018. I earned my Engineer in Training Certification in my home state of Nevada, and then moved to Charleston, South Carolina where my (now) husband was stationed with the Navy.
In Charleston, I worked as an Engineer Associate in traffic engineering, which involved mostly traffic studies and traffic modeling. When we were re-stationed in Washington, I worked remotely for my previous company until I found Parametrix, and joined as a Transportation Engineer in February of 2020.
I have loved the transition from traffic to design, and have found so much value in branching out. Since then, I (finally!) was able to have our much delayed wedding celebration this summer as restrictions loosened. After returning from our honeymoon, I received my PE, and am now licensed in both Washington and Nevada.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
Growing up, I was very familiar with traffic and transportation since my Dad was a traffic engineer. I’m told he actually was one of the first to coordinate all the Las Vegas signals back in the day. It’s funny to think about it now, being such a large city – I can’t imagine not having signals coordinated. Regardless, it’s this kind of thinking that inspired me to become an engineer.
I wanted to have that knowledge about why something wasn’t functioning right or how something could be more efficient. Overall, it was a natural progression for me.
What is your next career goal now that you’ve earned your PE license? What is your ultimate career goal?
My next goal is to gain more general experience in our industry and start making steps toward taking on more project leadership roles. I also intend to keep up with my traffic experience, and am planning on sitting for the PTOE exam soon.
Ultimately, in my career I would like to make the leap to project management, or beyond, and dive into the business side of things.
Which projects are you currently working on? What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
Currently, my main focus is on the SR 3 Freight Corridor project under Mallory Wilde. While SR 3 is definitely at the top of my list alongside the Lincoln Street Safety project, I think my favorite project so far has been the Gig Harbor Pedestrian Crosswalk Improvements, which updated the curb ramps and installed rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) near the Gig Harbor Costco.
While it may be a simpler project than some of the others I work on, the team branched between all the PSO offices and yet felt seamless. I thoroughly enjoyed the workflow and how efficiently we were able to work together and stay connected. A bonus to any project is getting to work with the signal group, which I have had the opportunity to do a few times now, and I appreciate how that lets expand on my traffic experience. I think this project also helped me demonstrate to myself how far I’ve come since joining Parametrix and switching gears into the design world. I was able to acknowledge that I have gained some comfort and confidence in my new skills. The icing on the cake was getting to watch the project get built and check in on the progress since it is located close to me.
What advice do you have for others pursuing their PE license?
To others pursuing their PE license, I would recommend taking an online course, or something in a format that is right for you. To me, this was invaluable, since the exam covers so many different topics. The classes do a really great job of analyzing the exam and refreshing the skills or topics you will most definitely need.
My other recommendation would be to organize – spend time tabbing resource books and notes, or creating a table of contents to efficiently send you to the right place or equation you need. While you can tab every page at the last minute, it’s important to know where things are so that they don’t get lost in the jumble. Being familiar with your system saves so much time!
Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you to all I have worked with here at Parametrix! During my time here, I’ve encountered some of the best co-workers, supervisors, and teachers one could hope for. Your support has meant everything to me, and I am so honored to work alongside such great people.