Humor, project management, and finely honed com- munication skills are typically not found in the same sentence, perhaps not in the same person, at least according to some engineering stereotypes. Civil engineer and longtime SWE member Beth Boaz, P.E., has combined these abilities to shape a fulfilling, contributive career.
A project manager in the Denver office of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, as well as a professional speaker and trainer, Boaz was one of the first women engineers in her organization. Once there, she took her communication skills to another level by joining Toastmasters International, where she served on the board of directors and found joy in helping others improve their speaking abilities. Among other efforts, she led a Toastmasters program for inmates at a Colorado women’s prison.
At the same time, Boaz discovered that humor is an effective means of neutralizing otherwise difficult situations. She once wrote an article for SWE Magazine describing how, as the lone female, she used humor to successfully challenge an arbitrary and irrelevant policy in her office. She has also presented on the important role of humor in project management.
Her capabilities proved particularly valuable when working on modifications at two dams, where she facilitated contentious public meetings and appeared on TV to explain the need for and progress on the projects, and in her involvement in a Department of the Interior-wide effort to reduce the risks posed by dams.
Boaz has also enjoyed self-expression through music, having played viola with the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra.
Who Are the Women Engineers We Should Know?
Quite often, those who are behind the scenes and out of the limelight make real change in the workplace and in our communities. It is our intention to recognize such women and make their efforts better known in our SWE Magazine series “Women Engineers You Should Know.”
Casting a wide net, SWE Magazine staff and editorial board members seek contemporary women whose lives have embodied the Society’s mission to: “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force for improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.”
Through a variety of means, including fielding suggestions and conducting archival research, we will examine the stories of many women who have made a difference in these critical areas. Determining a final list is a daunting challenge, and our selections are in no way meant to be definitive. While some names you may recognize, many are not recognizable to most people. From a variety of perspectives, in different environments and moments in time, these women represent “ordinary” when doing “extraordinary” things. In saluting them, we are saluting all the women, known and unknown, past and present, who have advanced our mission.
Nominate women engineers to know for our next article. The deadline for nominations is Friday, December 28, 2018. Submit nominations here.
With each submission, please include the following.
- Nominee info: name, why her, links supporting your nomination, areas of expertise, where is she located
- Nominator info: name, email, how you know the nominee
Thanks for your help, and look for the Spring 2019 issue of SWE Magazine.