Through Q&A articles and Instagram/Facebook Takeovers, our "In Her Boots" series is designed to showcase and provide an inside look at what a day in the life looks like in the shoes (or boots) for some of the exceptional women at Clark.
Today we're highlighting Martha Quigg. An engineer with Atkinson Construction—a Clark subsidiary, Martha works on the I-5 Dupont-Steilacoom Rd to Thorne Ln (JBLM) project in Washington.
What drew you to a career in the construction industry?
I was drawn to a career in construction during my time at the University of Washington (UW). I joined the American Society of Civil Engineers Steel Bridge team at UW and quickly learned that my organizational skills, desire to learn new things, and positive problem-solving attitude were valued and encouraged by my peers.
When I realized that I could build a career out of these attributes in construction, I knew that it was the right industry for me!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is from my first project manager. They said, “Spend time working on tasks that are high importance and low urgency”.
This advice has helped me stay focused on tasks before they are blown up into a big problem to fix – and gives opportunity to discover and correct issues without them turning into an emergency. Sometimes it’s a challenge to stick to this advice, but I try my hardest to focus on tasks that meet these criteria.
What is one of your favorite projects you have had the opportunity to work on?
My favorite is the one that I am currently working on: I-5 Dupont-Steilacoom Rd to Thorne Ln (JBLM).
I am growing and using the skills I learned on my first project and amplifying them to a larger scale as I work with several self-perform crews and larger trade contractors. We just completed the largest project milestone so far – opening the new Berkeley bridge that serves exit 122 of I-5 over an intense 56-hour weekend closure.
Now, the public gets to use the bridge we’ve been working on for the past year and a half!
What is your proudest professional achievement?
Delivering the Direct Connect project in February 2019 is a highlight of my career. The night before the ribbon cutting ceremony, I worked night shift to help restripe the highway, which allowed traffic to enter the bridge. The next day at the ceremony, Atkinson and WSDOT were congratulated for our hard work and ingenuity to deliver this project. I am so grateful to have Direct Connect as my first project because of the new opportunities I was presented with, as well as, the outstanding co-workers that helped me develop to be the engineer I am today.
What advice do you have for a young woman looking to enter the industry?
Dive in! What you put into your work is what you’ll get out of it - going the extra mile and producing high-quality work pays off!
Also, it’s important to find people both on your project team and externally that you can go to with questions. Having a diverse group of advisors will help broaden your perspective and will allow you to make the best decision instead of always taking one person’s advice as the correct way to create a solution.
Check out our Instagram Story as Martha shows us what a day in the life is like in her boots.