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Member Spotlight:

Lauren Shank

The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

 
Posted October 15, 2018

 

Asked why she decided to become an engineer, Lauren Shank replies, “I grew up on a construction site.”

Shank’s father – a civil engineer primarily involved in land development – added architectural building blocks to her collection of toys at age eight and started bringing her along on construction site visits. By the time she was a teenager, Shank was working on those sites. 

“I learned to drive almost every type of construction equipment,” she said. “One summer, we did stormwater installations. My brother ran the forklift and I ran the excavator.”

On other projects, she learned the trades. “We were assembling a small, prefab, metal-frame building. I helped with the framing, insulation and drywall on that project.”

So when Shank enrolled at the University of Delaware, she knew she would become an engineer, but didn’t know what kind of engineer. She studied civil engineering, competed in the ASCE Steel Bridge Competition, completed three years of transportation research, switched to geotechnical research and started the Geo Institute at UDE.

“But I found my way back to construction through a couple of internships,” Shank said. 

During one internship with Parsons Brinckerhoff and Skanksa USA, she served as a quality control inspector on the Indian River Bridge project in Delaware.

“I had a 40-man crew that I worked alongside of, making sure everything was done safely and properly,” she said. “I had to watch the installation of each cable and help check the tension on each. We had massive concrete pours so you would go in at midnight then work all day until 4 or 5 pm, monitoring the install. It was amazing.”

Since joining Whiting-Turner, Shank has gravitated to big projects. She worked as project engineer and assistant manager on the $130-million patient tower addition to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. Currently, she is one of two project managers running a $60-million, 317-unit, apartment building development in Middle River.

“I like the challenges of big projects. I want to continue to grow as a manager so I can run my own $60-million project,” she said.

Shank joined MDSPE to gain opportunities to connect with more engineers. As a new member of the Board of Directors, she is eager to find ways to attract other young engineers to MDSPE and to launch the society’s proposed mentorship program. 

 

 

 

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