#Eweek2019 Spotlight | Amairani Fruechte

The more calculations, the better

For National Engineers Week 2019, we’re sharing stories from some of CTA’s engineering talent to learn more about how they chose their profession and what makes them tick. 

What inspired you to become an engineer?

I didn’t know about engineering until my aunt described her friend’s successful career as a computer engineer. I was intrigued and realized the common characteristic among engineering professions is math, which happens to be my favorite subject! I decided to give it a shot.

I enrolled at Iowa State University with a major in computer engineering. After being introduced to electrical engineering, I decided to make the switch. I liked that electrical engineering used more calculations and was more hands on.

What is your specific area of expertise and why did you choose it?

There are so many career options for electrical engineers, however, I had no idea consulting was even a possibility. In a way the career chose me. I had an interview in college for a job at an MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) firm and the interviewer later confessed he knew the job would be a great fit for me. During the interview, the more he talked about what a typical day would be like, the more I was interested.

Looking back, I can’t imagine myself in any other career. I can honestly say I love my job. My favorite part is seeing my designs come to life through successful projects — being involved from start to finish is very satisfying. Each day is unique in this field of engineering; there’s never a boring day!

I don’t currently have an area of expertise as I’d like to become a well-rounded electrical engineer before I pursue anything else. However, the area that interests me the most is lighting; it has the potential to transform any space.

CTA’s new office in Austin was remodeled to reflect the spirit of the city and the creativity of our employees. Amairani was instrumental in the lighting design of the space. 

Tell us something about the field of engineering that is surprising or not common knowledge.

I’d say the biggest surprise has been landing in a job that requires social skills. There are many preconceived traits about engineers. However, engineers and engineering don’t fall within a particular mold. It’s not just about sitting at a desk solving problems, there’s a lot of team work among many disciplines and personalities.

What is one of your favorite projects and why?

Hands down, my favorite project to work on here at CTA has been Google. I worked on the lighting for the second and third phases, and I enjoyed every minute of it. There’s so much creativity in our office and it clearly shows when you see client spaces like this one. My favorite part was coordinating specialty lighting throughout the unique spaces.

What piece of advice would you give a young person interested in becoming an engineer?

I think most of the engineering careers seem very intimidating to young people, in particular girls. I would recommend learning more about careers in engineering because the possibilities are truly endless. For anything you have an interest in, there’s most likely an engineering career for it. Don’t be afraid to give it a chance; it’s perfectly fine not to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at this age. Engineering can be challenging, but it’s definitely rewarding!

Amairani on the roof deck of the CTA office in Austin, Texas, with the state capitol building in the background. 

Amairani at a glance

  • Electrical Engineer in Training
  • Living in Austin, Texas
  • Defining characteristics: strong, independent, determined, detail oriented, and, after recently participating in running races, surprisingly competitive!
  • Interests: hanging out with my husband, weightlifting, running, hiking, enjoying craft IPAs at a brewery, trying out new restaurants in Austin, or our favorite — traveling

Amairani at Emory Peak, the highest point in Big Bend National Park in southwest, Texas.