As a child, Julie Chapman was always drawn to building things, whether that involved projects around the house with her father or Lego sets.
Math and science were her favorite subjects in school, interests that later led to a career in engineering.
“Civil engineering — specifically transportation — always sparked my interest because it was something that most individuals could relate to,” Chapman said. “Most people drive or commute from one place to another and civil engineering allowed me to interact with the public and enhance or improve the infrastructure they use on a daily basis.”
Chapman is now a design engineer at GRAEF, where she works on infrastructure projects that promote safety.
“From resurfacing projects to reconstructions, green infrastructure to sewer systems, it all has an impact to our communities,” she said.
Chapman’s positive demeanor and go-getter attitude make her a sought-after mentor within the company, said Justyce Dixon, corporate marketing and communications leader at GRAEF.
“She has spent many hours working closely with interns and green employees and creating training opportunities in support of their growth at the firm and in the industry,” Dixon said.
Engineering is hard work, Chapman said, and each project presents its own challenges.
“Engineers are expected to be well-rounded individuals,” she said. “We have to know the extreme details of our infrastructure systems and what we’re designing but also the soft skills of how to write reports or speak/present to the general public on topics they don’t understand.
“As project managers you need to be a good communicator and understand schedules, budgeting and negotiations. The most challenging part of being an engineer is to balance all of these skills and do it with success and admiration for your projects.”
Besides her engineering duties, Chapman helps organize internal recreational activities such as dragon-boat races, the GRAEF golf outing and corporate lunch-and-learns.