#Eweek2023 Spotlight | Zoe Smith

Always calculating the best moves.

For National Engineers Week 2023, we’re sharing stories from Cushing Terrell’s engineering talent to learn more about how they chose their profession and what makes them tick. 

Who or what inspired you to be an engineer?

My uncle was a civil engineer for the Anaconda Company in the mid-1970s. He was credited with developing environmental measures to clean up the Silver Bow Creek between Butte and Anaconda, Montana. I remember touring the Anaconda smelter when I was a young girl and thought it was really cool because they gave us big chunks of slag from the floor, which were cooled drips from five-ton smelting pots.

Who is an engineer you look up to and/or admire? 

Pretty much each and every engineer at Cushing Terrell. I am SO proud of the attentiveness and talent we have under our roof. I have a treasure trove of engineering brothers and sisters who so willingly share their knowledge, ideas, and solutions.

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

Healthcare design. Early in my career at Cushing Terrell, I was mentored through the healthcare studio and had the privilege of working with some incredibly gifted engineers. I also had the benefit of working with really respectful and appreciative healthcare clients in Montana.

One of the many healthcare design projects Zoe has worked on for Bozeman Health. This is Bozeman Health’s Cottonwood Clinic and Surgery Center.

What has been an innovative, out-of-the-box project you’ve worked on recently?

The Montana Heritage Center in Helena. With stringent environmental conditions required for the proper preservation of artifacts, the HVAC design was among the biggest challenges our teams have ever faced. The client has been a blessing to work with — they are as passionate about their conservation duties as we are about our engineering design.

Rendering of the Montana Heritage Center in Helena, Montana, currently under construction.

What things can you not help but engineer in your life?

I like to snow ski and am always analyzing movements, efficiencies, and the physics of the best turns possible.

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

Pick your engineering field not just based on the earning potential but more so where you might get to — or have to — live.

Zoe at a Glance

  • Associate and Mechanical Engineer
  • Living in Helena, Montana
  • Defining characteristics: Humor and sarcasm… not necessarily in that order. 
  • Interests: I love to ski and mountain bike ride. I enjoy a cold beer and good friends — mixed with one of the first two activities… even better.
  • Side note: Zoe might be a “lifer” — she’s been with Cushing Terrell for 24 years!
Zoe swooshing down the Bowl at Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana. And of course… calculating the best turns possible.

Read about the other engineers we’ll be highlighting for National Engineers Week 2023!