News Jun 21, 2019

Women in Engineering Day: Transforming for Tomorrow

Here’s how we’re putting the spotlight on inclusion and diversity across our company – including recent recognition as a Winning ‘W’ Company – and celebrating our innovators transforming the future in honor of International Women in Engineering Day.

Four women and a man in a group shot

Creating a company like no other means reimagining approaches to inclusion and diversity that transform the future.

From our CEO and Executive Leadership Team marching at Dallas Pride to our newest employee network that’s raising awareness about individuals with physical, mobility and cognitive impairments and their caregivers, with Jacobs’ eight passionate employee networks, we’re celebrating inclusion and diversity more than ever before.

While these trailblazers are already advancing our transformation – for example, more than 120 Jacobs Women’s Network (JWN) members gathered earlier this month to empower women and engage men at the network’s first-ever Global Summit – we know inclusive, accountable leadership starts from the top.

And that’s why our recent recognition from 2020 Women on Boards (2020WOB) as a Winning ‘W’ Company is so exciting.

Nearly one-fourth of public companies in the U.S. have no women directors on their boards. 2020WOB is a non-profit education campaign aims to change the narrative by advocating for companies to increase the numbers of women on corporate boards of directors to at least 20% by the year 2020 – an important milestone year for gender equality, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.

The Winning ‘W’ Company honor recognizes our achievement of 20% or more corporate board seats held by women, and in case you missed it, Georgette Kiser and Barb Loughran recently joined our Board of Directors, raising our percentage even more.

But, the transformation doesn’t stop there. Worldwide, our innovators and problem solvers are challenging the status quo, imagining and delivering critical solutions for a more connected, sustainable world. From improving an isolated community’s access to vital services to facilitating delivery of life-changing therapies, in honor of International Women in Engineering Day, here’s how we #TransformTheFuture:

Transforming the future with sustainable solutions

At this year’s European Women in Construction & Engineering (WICE) Awards in London, Jacobs’ Catriona Schmolke, Kate Carpenter and Katy Kemble received recognition for their contributions to the construction and engineering industry. Attracting over 400 nominations, the WICE awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of some of the industry’s leading talent.

Jacobs Senior Vice President and Global Head of HSEQ, Security & Resilience and Sustainability Catriona Schmolke received the WICE 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Engineering award.

“Who doesn't want to work in an environment where everyone belongs and can thrive?” she enthuses. “It’s a wonderful time to be an engineer, so many world challenges, ripe for innovators and improvement.”

Key to solving these challenges? Inspiring the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) innovators – and that’s just what nine Jacobs women set out to do recently in Malawi.

Joining a team of 25, the group – led by team leader and Jacobs’ own civil engineer and JWN Learning & Development Co-Chair Kelly Jeffrey, who was named to the Women’s Engineering Society’s (WES) Top 50 Women in Engineering – traveled to Mangochi, near Blantyre, Malawi to empower the local community and enhance the aspirations of young people towards careers in STEM. With the new classroom block the team built at Rainbow Hope Secondary School, students now have access to resources and equipment to immerse themselves in STEM education.

Elaine Clarke, Jacobs process engineer, knows firsthand how powerful STEM education opportunities can be. She says she struggled to make the decision between pursuing an engineering, law or English degree. That is, until a female engineer from the ESB came to her own school to inspire students to consider the possibilities of a STEM career. Then the decision became obvious, she recently shared with Engineers Journal.

“I was inspired by the diversity and flexibility offered by a career in engineering, and regardless of whether it’s the nanobot delivery of personalized drugs or a world with zero carbon emissions, engineering gives you the tools to go out there, be creative and make an impact.”

Speaking of impact, Jacobs electrical engineer and New England chapter co-lead of our Harambee employee network – which advocates for an inclusive culture and work environment that actively supports the recruitment, retention and advancement of Black talent – Francesca Sally is leaving quite the impression on Boston.

When she isn’t on the airfield analyzing electrical components or in the office designing lighting and lighting control systems, she’s out in the community putting her muscles to work as a Habitat for Humanity builder, collecting Christmas gifts for financially stressed families and coaching youth basketball at Boston’s Hill House, a non-profit community center. Recently, Francesca even helped mastermind Boston’s first annual Juneteenth celebration to support Boston’s black community with access and funding for STEM programs and share black culture and history.

Some nearly 7,000 miles away in Kibembe, Uganda, Erin James, Jacobs roadway engineer is experiencing the Ugandan community’s rich cultural history while joining forces with Bridges to Prosperity – a non-profit organization helping eradicate poverty caused by rural isolation with the design and construction of pedestrian footbridges – to build a bridge in in the community as part of the organization’s first-ever Women’s Suspension Build.

Kibembe sits on the bank of the Sironko River and floods for more than three months of the year, becoming dangerous to cross and eliminating residents’ ability to reach critical services. With the new footbridge, the all-female group – including volunteers from McElhanney, Kraemer North America and PCL Construction – will connect more than 1,700 individuals, including over 300 children, to a market, primary and secondary schools and medical centers.

Since 2014, Jacobs volunteers have improved community access on B2P builds in Panama, Nicaragua, Rwanda and several other locations. For Erin, who serves as the Communications Co-Chair for JWN, the ASBI Women’s Build marks her fourth B2P build.

“This build is particularly important to me because I know the impact that global empowerment of women can have for everyone. Some may doubt the effectiveness of sending nine women to Uganda to construct a bridge by hand, but I can assure you that’s not all we’re doing,” she expresses.

“Working alongside the community, we’ll exchange technical and cultural context to help the community build future bridges independently, and by empowering local women to join us, we’ll help them become marketable assets. In turn, greater gender representation in leadership and governance boosts economies by tapping into the underutilized half of the population, provides education opportunities for girls and even leads to reduced violence and increased public health. When we empower women and girls,we all win.

Today’s challenges of urbanization, resource scarcity, climate change, digital proliferation and security demand innovative approaches to connect more people and places with the means to live better and work smarter. Curious? Jacobs is hiring!Click here to view available career opportunities and join us in delivering the promise of a more connected, sustainable world.