Degree Fields
Industry Options
Precollege Ideas
Academic DegreesCareer Planning
University Choice
Diversity & WomenSCCC PodcastsSCCC Newsletter
Meet Professionals
Downloads & Links
Site Search / A -Z

Bookmark and Share


Civil Engineering Overview - Overview PowerPoint - Podcast

Anne J. Gorczyca, P.E.
Assistant Area Construction Manager
Massachusetts Highway Department
Boston, MA

 
B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Massachusetts
M.S., Construction Management, Northeastern University
"I am currently employed as an Assistant Area Construction Manager for downtown contracts on the Boston Central Artery Project. I oversee construction management consultants, approve extra work and contract variances, and participate in dispute resolutions."
"Civil engineering students should focus on improving their written and oral communication skills and take full advantage of co-op or internship opportunities to get experience before graduation."


Gorczyca: "To be a successful engineer, it's important to know theory but you have to know how to apply it and that is where your experience comes into play. That is why it's important to try to get some experience before you focus on your particular area of concentration. You have to be able to write clearly, to communicate your thoughts, to communicate problems that are happening in the field to designers. You have to be able to be independent at times and then you have to be able to work as a team at times too."

Gorczyca: "Salary and work hours are a trade off from my experience. If you are looking for a high paid job, there is a lot of responsibility and time commitment that comes along with that. For instance, a contractor will typically get paid more than their counterpart in the public sector or from the owner's side because they are going to be working six days a week and very long days. So that's a tradeoff."

Gorczyca: "I have a great deal of support from the two managers I work for, my manager and our director of construction and I consider them mentors, people I can sit down and talk to and get feedback. They even volunteer feedback to me and I think that has made my job here and my transition to a management role so much easier, having people who support you and are there as a resource."

Gorczyca: "I don't think there is a lot of job security anywhere and even working in the public sector where there is a little more job security than in the private sector, I don't take anything for granted. That's why it's very important to keep pursuing your field academically. Any opportunity you can have to increase your knowledge, to increase your experience, to increase your ability to meet other people I think is very important. And you have to work hard and do the best job possible and realize there are no guarantees."

Gorczyca: "The size of a company has considerable influence on the salary range for a given function. Larger firms tend to offer higher starting wages and more benefits, but upward mobility may be highly competitive. A smaller company may pay less but offer a more direct path to greater responsibility and a bigger check. It is your preference, and up to you to seek out the facts regarding each individual company you might consider working for."

Q: What is an average day like?
Gorczyca:
The average day for me consists of maybe a couple of job tours with resident engineers to view the progress of the construction contract. And also attending meetings. Some of the topics of the meeting may be a traffic meeting. We may be having a traffic change and we're planning the best way to implement a traffic move to have the least impact to the commuters, to tourists in downtown Boston and to the businesses. I also attend meetings on how to minimize night time noise from the construction projects. We attend meetings to deal with schedule issues on particular contracts and then to deal with construction issues. We may be having problems with one particular construction operation where we have a technical issues meeting and try to resolve the problem we're having in the field. So there are site tours and meetings and then time briefing my boss. I work for the area construction manager and brief him on the so-called hot issues that I'm working on, have been working on the last few days to keep him updated on what's happening because he's dealing in a macro sense as well.

Q: You have to work long hours, weekends?
Gorczyca:
I don't have to work weekends, thankfully, on this job. Some days can be longer than others but, thankfully, the day absolutely flies by and so I don't have a complaint about that. There are times when you are busier than others and you have to take advantage of when things are slow and try to make sure you leave on time so you're able to take care of things in your personal life for when it's busy.

Q: Is working as an engineer everything you thought it would be?
Gorczyca:
I think when I was a student, an undergraduate student, I had visions of working in an executive suite and having assistants taking care of all the grunt work for you. When you actually start working, especially in construction, you're working in inclement weather, you're working in the rain, you're working in the cold, oftentimes you're working at night, especially in transportation because those are the only times you can work on the roadways. You are doing a lot of typing, a lot of administration work yourself, so it certainly isn't as glamorous. I'm not wearing expensive designer suits to work, I'm wearing very practical clothes. I'm dressed to work. So it's a little different in that sense but I find it very rewarding and I'm very happy with the way my career has turned out.

Q: What about job security?
Gorczyca:
To be honest, I don't think there is a lot of job security anywhere and even working in the public sector where there is a little more job security than in the private sector, I don't take anything for granted. That's why it's very important to keep pursuing your field academically. Any opportunity you can have to increase your knowledge, to increase your experience, to increase your ability to meet other people I think is very important. And you have to work hard and do the best job possible and realize there are no guarantees. And I think that's just the state of the economy now in the United States.

Q: How about salary and advancement?
Gorczyca:
Salary and work hours are a trade off from my experience. If you are looking for a high paid job, there is a lot of responsibility and time commitment that comes along with that. For instance, a contractor will typically get paid more than their counterpart in the public sector or from the owner's side because they are going to be working six days a week and very long days. So that's a tradeoff. I think what you have to find is what you want out of life and try to find the best mix.

Q: Mentors?
Gorczyca:
As I mentioned earlier, I'm fortunate to have two older sisters who are civil engineers. And one sister works in Boston as well. And I guess I would consider her a mentor. When we're spending time together on family issues, we're not talking about work often because we have many interests but whenever I do have a particular question or a concern, she's someone I can call and ask for input on something or how she dealt with this situation since she has been working a few years longer than myself. So I'm very grateful to have a person that I can call. I also have a great deal of support from the two managers I work for, my manager and our director of construction and I consider them mentors, people I can sit down and talk to and get feedback. Even they volunteer feedback to me and I think that has made my job here and my transition to a management role so much easier, having people who support you and are there as a resource.

Download Full Profile as PDF
 


Science
Technology
Engineering
 Computer Science
 Engineering Technology
 Engineering
  -- Aerospace
  -- Agricultural
  -- Architectural
  -- Bioengineering
  -- Chemical
  -- Civil
  -- Computer
  -- Electrical
  -- Environmental
  -- Industrial
  -- Manufacturing
  -- Materials
  -- Mechanical
  -- Nuclear
  -- Mining
  -- Petroleum
  -- Software
  -- Others
Mathematics
Computing
Healthcare


Students
Counselors
Teachers
Parents
Graduates

      AboutContactsCopyrightMedia SupportSubscriptions