Happy Women’s History Month! This month, we’re highlighting the incredible women of Lund Opsahl who continuously redefine what it means to be in this industry. We spoke to Alissa Capuano, EIT who is currently working on our King County Metro Transit South Annex Base project and private residences. Reflecting back on her four years of experience in this industry, she shares her career journey and what being a woman in engineering means to her.

Why did you go into structural engineering?
My dad was a civil engineer, so I always looked up to him in terms of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be an engineer, and I think I really honed in on structural engineering because I like the visual aspect—you’re building buildings. That connection is very immediate and concrete, and I always loved the idea of structures that make an impact on the community that uses them. Maybe you’re building a family’s dream house or you’re facilitating a place of work that contributes to society.

What is the best part about being a structural engineer?
I think it’s that gratification of seeing what you’ve spent so much time and energy on come into use and really impact community. That gives me a lot of self-fulfillment.

What does being a woman in engineering mean to you?
I definitely take pride in it. I love telling people that I’m an engineer.

I do know some firms not like Lund Opsahl, where there very much is bro culture, but I have never felt that here. Here, it feels like I belong. Gender is kind of on the sideline, and that’s ideal.

What was your journey to Lund Opsahl like?
I went to Seattle University, where I got my civil engineering degree with an emphasis in structural design.

I went to one of those mentor afternoons (I was really going for the free pizza). The engineers that came shared who they worked for, what they’re working on, but then they also had to share a fun activity that their company does. A lot of the engineers said “we go out for drinks”—very generic team bonding things.

But Kevin Aguilar, a Lund Opsahl engineer, said “we just did an escape room”, and I had just done an escape room for a friend’s birthday, and that was my “in” for conversation. So, I got his business card, and then three months later I sent him my resume. Then, I did my internship here during my summer between junior and senior year of college, and that internship very much cemented that structural engineering is the right place for me. I really liked the design side. You get to nerd out with the numbers.

What in your career are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my baby project. It’s this private residence down in Malibu that was my first crack at a project that was relatively large scale. I was stepping into the project management role, and it was my first time taking the whole project from top to bottom I got to design all the gravity and the lateral, which was a first for me in my career to do both all by myself, with guidance and corrections from Shawn, the PIC. I’m very proud of that one.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would die to be a fly on the wall. There are situations where you’re just like, “what could possibly be happening?” And it’s a dual superpower because you could fly, but at the speed of a fly.

What is your superpower?
I’m good at communicating—communicating what needs to be done, but also focusing on not just the work, but also the people themselves. If other people have questions, I feel like they’re comfortable asking me even if I don’t know the answer, because they know I’d be able to point then in the right direction.