#Eweek2024 Spotlight | Eileen Egolf

Following in her mother’s and grandfather’s footsteps.

For National Engineers Week 2024, 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 mom worked as a civil drafter in New Mexico for several years. Although she was never formally trained as an engineer, she was naturally talented and took on work far beyond her title. After leaving her job as a drafter, she put her engineering and architectural talents to use running our family ranch in Colorado. She designed the ranch house as well as all the barns and stalls on the property by herself and has completed a number of expansions and renovations independently since then. She’s also the sole caretaker of the property. If she doesn’t know how to fix something, she teaches herself the basics and solves the problem by trial and error. Thus, she is the resident electrician, plumber, and mechanic. Growing up, she was my role model, and she taught me how to approach problems with an engineer’s perspective. Her capabilities and fearlessness in tackling new challenges inspired me to pursue engineering.

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

My grandfather worked as an electrical engineer in the Canadian Airforce and later as a general engineer for a paper mill in Portneuf, Québec. His work was his passion and he took every opportunity he could to learn more about it. He lived to the age of 96 and even in his later years, I always admired his curiosity and desire for knowledge. Unlike many of his age, he endeavored to keep up with the latest technology and advancements in engineering and could tackle problems that stumped people half his age.

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

My expertise is in environmental engineering. I chose to pursue this field because I want to make a positive change in the world. Protecting the environment and beautiful places, like where I grew up, is my main motivation. I believe engineers will be at the forefront of pioneering the necessary changes that will help curb the human impact on our environment.

What is one of your favorite projects and why?

The San Juan solar project for our OPALCO client was one of the first projects I worked on after joining Cushing Terrell. It has remained one of my favorites not only for its environmental focus, but because it was one of the first projects of that magnitude I was involved in. Working on that project was one of the first times I experienced truly feeling like the work I did could make a real difference. I also loved seeing the consideration that was taken to incorporate the needs of the local community.

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

I’m an avid artist outside of work, and I tend to apply much of the same methodology to both my engineering projects and my art projects. This holds true particularly for my cake designs, though I tend to over engineer paintings and sculptures as well!

Eileen at a Glance

  • Civil Engineer in Training with a focus on renewable energy projects
  • Living in Missoula, Montana
  • Defining characteristics: Driven, caring, meticulous, thoughtful, playful
  • Interests: Exploring Missoula’s trails, playing on the city league volleyball team, painting, baking and cake decorating, spending time with cats Lawrence and Kvothe.
Eileen hiking in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Eileen visiting City Palace in Udaipur, India.
One of Eileen’s hobbies is baking and cake decorating.

Read about the other engineers we’ll be highlighting for National Engineers Week 2024!