- As a transportation engineer, you will focus on figuring out how to move people, goods, and materials safely and efficiently.
- You will design, construct, and maintain highways, railroads, airfields, and water ports.
- Your challenge will be to find ways to meet increasing travel needs by improving current transportation methods and discovering new ones.
Regional and Multimodal Manager
Dakota County Transportation Department
Meet a Transportation Engineer
What do you want people to know about working for a local agency?
I find it incredibly rewarding to work on behalf of the public to improve the transportation system. Every day is about working collaboratively with staff, agency partners, and elected officials to solve problems that matter to people.
What attracted you to work for your current employer?
When I learned about the position it had the right mix of topics that I was familiar with as well as new areas that would provide an opportunity for growth. I have also appreciated being part of an organization that works on a multitude of issues beyond transportation. It’s always interesting to attend a County Board meeting and hear about the wide range of issues the Board is making decisions on from public health, to parks, to social services.
Briefly describe your career path?
I graduated college with a BA in Environmental Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College. After working for three years at a non-profit environmental organization, I pursued a MA in Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver Canada.
After finishing graduate school, I moved to Houston Texas for my partner’s job. Houston is known for its lack of zoning, so it was a unique place to begin a career in urban planning. My first job was at a consulting firm where I prepared comprehensive plans and other planning studies. From there I took a job with a regional transportation planning organization as their pedestrian and bicycle coordinator.
After more than five years in Houston, we moved back to Minnesota to be closer to family. I was fortunate to be hired by MnDOT as the first Metro District pedestrian and bicycle coordinator. This was an exciting time in the field as the state had just passed a Complete Streets statute and I helped the Metro District improve integration of walking and biking into their highway projects. I then moved into a role as Multimodal Planning Director overseeing the district’s bicycle, pedestrian, transit and freight initiatives. I’m currently the Regional and Multimodal Manager for the Dakota County Transportation Department working on transit, Trunk Highway, and bicycle and pedestrian initiatives.
When you reflect on your younger self, can you identify any hobbies, interests, or characteristics that led you to your current position/career?
I have always had broad interests and been eager to learn and try new things. These traits probably have something to do with a career path that didn’t exactly follow a straight line. What I’m doing now isn’t what I would have predicted or probably wanted when I was 20. Looking back, each decision or turning point was guided partially by life circumstances, but also by my curiosity to learn, adapt, and try something new.