A Series of Interviews with the Women of Anvil
Anvil is constantly evolving. Whether it’s expanding the scope of our projects through technological innovation or even improving the level of benefits we’re able to offer our employees, Anvil has always known that engineering and progress go hand in hand. With this belief in mind, it’s no secret that our industry, and company, have undergone many changes over the years.
Alissa Engelby, a Lead Structural Engineer out of our Anchorage branch, has witnessed some of these changes first-hand.
“When I first started in engineering, I was usually the only woman in the room or even within a company,” Engelby said.
An engineer for over twenty years, Engelby was forced to endure discrimination early on in her career before making her way to Alaska and Anvil.
“At my first job, my boss got a few phone calls that some clients didn’t want to work with me,” she shares. “He told them to give me two weeks, and to come back to him if there were any issues. I worked very hard to make sure there were no issues.”
Despite the adversity she’s faced, Engelby has enjoyed a successful career in our industry, and is hopeful for the next generation of female engineers.
“Have confidence in yourself,” she tells them, “and if you have a strong work ethic, you’ll succeed. When I first started, there was always the assumption that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I think the opposite is now true.”
Cynthia Greene, a Project Controls Lead in Billings, holds similar sentiments.
“The message that is given to women early on in education has changed,” Greene said. “Working together we can accomplish amazing things.”
Greene, who’s been with Anvil for nearly twenty years, has grown to appreciate the value of working on a unified and diverse team.
“At Anvil, we work for each other, and each person’s individual success elevates us all,” she said.
This sense of unity, shared among all women in the engineering industry, transcends work at Anvil. For Greene, professional inspiration is drawn from a figure from within her own family: her sister-in-law.
“She has accomplished so many things as an engineer and manager in the field of aerospace,” Greene said. “She is a leader, mentor, and inspiration to many. She has given me the renewed energy to continue to improve and achieve new accomplishments.”
As Greene alludes, a strong sense of ambition is a common trait among women in this industry. Kari MacDonald, a Project Manager in Anchorage, isn’t afraid to push boundaries whenever she can.
“Within this industry, initially, it seemed like women were only in administrative roles,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald recalls a story from early in her career, an instance where the extent of her skills weren’t being properly utilized.
“I hate filing and, unfortunately, it was a large part of my first job in oil and gas,” she remembers. “However, my boss believed that the success of our team hinged on working together. He really enjoyed filing and felt I was better on the phone talking to candidates, so we divided and conquered. I’ll always remember this – it showed me the value of a team and not a position.”
As our industry continues to evolve, Anvil pledges to progress alongside it. On this International Women in Engineering Day, we applaud the careers of all women at Anvil – your unique experiences and unrivaled dedication make Anvil the company that it is today.