Alla K.

  • Title: Water Resources Engineer
  • Alma Mater: North Carolina State University, Bachelor of Science – BS, Biological Engineering
  • Hobbies: My primary hobby is golf; however, it’s more of a passion.  I play every opportunity I have and enjoy everything about it. Other hobbies I enjoy are snowboarding in the Colorado mountains, which I do once a year, spending time with family and friends, and following all the Raleigh, NC, local sports teams.  I am a Carolina Hurricanes fan and an NC State fan.

I chose to pursue a career as a Construction Engineer/Inspector because…

This profession plays an important role in building the infrastructure for communities in the most efficient way. The construction engineer role is a perfect career for young professionals who are eager to constantly learn new engineering skills. Each project is different, and we do not execute the same task repeatedly. Additionally, there is something truly satisfying about seeing the progress of your work daily.

The thing I love most about my job is…

I have been a part of the team that works on the roadway and bridge reconstruction in Elmhurst, IL since December 2021. There are two new bridges that we have been building/inspecting simultaneously. One is a two-span continuous PPC I – beam structure with multi-column piers and integral abutments while the second structure is a skewed four-span continuous bridge that consists of steel plate girder composites and stub abutments. As an engineer on this project, I study every foot of the substructure and superstructure before inspecting it. I must understand bridge construction in-depth to recognize potential deviations from the design. My detail-oriented brain loves it.

My favorite thing about TranSystems is…

The commitment to improve everything in their power. TranSystems goes above and beyond to secure jobs for their employees by fighting for design/construction projects and winning them.

Since joining TranSystems…

I have grown as an engineer and as a woman in general. I love to be professionally challenged. Engineering gives me a purpose, fulfills me as a person, and makes me feel useful. I joined a WTS Advancing Women, Advancing Transportation team whose mission is to strengthen the transportation industry by investing in a brilliant resource of ideas and hard work.

6/7 – 8:00 AM – Begin work for the day

I start working between 6:00 am – 7:00 am. My workday starts at a project with one or multiple general contractor crews such as carpenters, iron workers, pile drivers, and others. I meet with the general contractor’s superintendent or a foreman, whoever is at the job site to discuss a work plan for the day. During these morning meetings, I offer my professional assistance to the contractor in case they require any type of clarification regarding the design of the structure.

8:00 – 11:00 AM – Read through project documents

After my morning meetings, I usually spend 2-3 hours reading the special provision, contractors’ submittals, or standard road and bridge specifications. These documents give me a significant understanding of how our final product must look, how much material and what kind we will use, the contractor’s means and methods, safety measures, and many more.  As a field construction engineer, I am required to keep track of the used materials during construction. I perform mathematical calculations regularly to create Inspectors’ Daily Reports (IDRs).

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM – Continue work on current projects

I am currently working on a roadway and bridge reconstruction. Specifically, Tri-State Tollway Ramp F from South of I-290 to South of St. Charles Road.

12:30 – 1:00 PM – 30-minute lunch break

1:00 – 2:00 PM – Check-in with colleagues

I meet with my colleagues, field construction engineers, on a regular basis. We work on the same project but with different crews. There are engineers who inspect earthwork or electrical or roadway construction parallel to the construction of the structures that I oversee. Our schedules often depend on the contractor’s performance, so we must communicate closely to get a better understanding of upcoming construction-related events.

2:00 – 3:00 PM – Daily to-dos

The most recurring items on my to-do list are Inspector Daily Reports (IDRs), Daily Activity Reports (DARs), and a list of contractor submittals that I want to study before one or the other activity starts.

3:00 – 4:00 PM – Meet with mentors

To me, being a construction inspector means being a part of an excellent team of specialists who are professionally assisting each other daily. I am truly grateful for our assistant RE Mike who seems to have answers to all my questions regarding road and bridge construction. He is one of two people at the office who regularly check in with me and assist me whenever needed.

4:00 PM – Pack up and head home

Usually, I stop working at 4 pm. It takes me about an hour to get home from the project. When I get home, I spend time with my fiancée talking about our eventful workdays while making dinner. Often, we like going on a walk after dinner.

Looking ahead

I am looking forward to completing a one-year-long bridge construction project as a part of the Tri-State Tollway reconstruction. I eagerly anticipate seeing the final product of our professional effort.

What’s next?

I am currently working towards completing the IDOT Erosion Control Training and the IDOT Documentation of Contract Quantities course as well.

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