#Eweek2022 Spotlight | Danielle Johnson-Hazlewood
Who (or what) inspired you to become an engineer?
Like many people, I originally didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was good at math and enjoyed drawing and being creative. It wasn’t until high school that I began to be inspired by building design with hopes of designing my own house one day. While exploring colleges, I was directed to structural engineering and had a number of people discuss future opportunities with a dual major in architecture and engineering. So, for me, it has never been one person or one thing that led to my current path, but a series of opportunities and discussions that resulted in me pursuing licensure in both disciplines — architecture AND engineering.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
While my education covers both architecture and structural engineering, I’m currently employed as structural design engineer in training (EIT) with Cushing Terrell. For someone so new in their career, my experience varies across all scales, materials, and sectors. A majority of my experience thus far has been on large commercial mixed-use projects that incorporate wood framing, steel canopies, and concrete/post-tension slab and podium designs. Outside of that, I’ve begun to gain exposure with some smaller commercial steel buildings and existing building tenant improvement projects. At this point in my career, I’m not limiting myself to one area of expertise as I plan to gain a wide range of knowledge and understanding before specializing.
What is one of your favorite projects and why?
One of my favorite projects since working with Cushing Terrell is a small CT (computed tomography) addition to an existing hospital. While it’s not complicated — think of it like adding a shipping container full of CT scanning equipment and connecting it to a hospital via a new vestibule — it’s my first project serving as both the design architect and engineer on a project. It’s a great experience to not only be a part of a team, but also to utilize my knowledge in both professions to aid in the successful completion of a project.
What has been an innovative, out-of-the-box project you’ve worked on recently?
One of my most innovative projects stems from just prior to me joining the Cushing Terrell team. It was a underground parking garage entrance for which the client wanted to have a large, two-foot-thick concrete wall with steel spanning through the wall and cantilevering out over 20 feet. This image shows what it looked like during construction.
What piece of advice would you give a young person interested in becoming an engineer?
Don’t be afraid to pursue this career. Engineering is about embracing new challenges and learning to push the envelope on what is possible across all disciplines. If you’re interested, let’s sit down and talk about the opportunities available to make it happen; let’s talk about the type of engineering interests you have and where you see yourself. It’s important to have a good mentor who can help you align those opportunities with what you want your future to look like. Engineering is so much more than just calculations, it’s about realizing tangible things that people experience in real life.
Are you involved in activities that help engage students/young people in engineering?
At my previous company, I was in charge of a DEI Youth Outreach program where we presented and volunteered with schools and organizations that promote engineering opportunities. I find it to be extremely rewarding to help inspire kids as our future engineering and design talent and could definiely see myself getting more involved with local Austin programs in the future.
Danielle at a glance
- Pursuing licensure in both Structural Engineering and Architecture
- Living in Austin, Texas
- Defining characteristics: Confident, resourceful, enthusiastic, and generous
- Interests: Travel and adventure! As shown below…