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From mines in Mongolia to nitrate plants in Niagara, Melissa Ostrowercha’s experience is as varied as it is significant. With a career in civil engineering spanning two decades, she has the insight and intellect to satisfy a hard-to-fill gap in the industry for well-rounded project managers.


“It’s tough to find people who can work with designers, contractors, and clients, while keeping everyone happy and the project moving,” said Melissa. “You have to have the technical knowledge to talk to designers and the ability to relay that information in plain English to a client.” But great project management skills don’t develop overnight. “The best PMs are able to shift focus quickly, prioritize, and be flexible,” she explained. “I could have never done this 20 years ago.”


In fact, in her early years Melissa had every intention of becoming a computer engineer. While she loved math and computers, after her first year of study she decided to focus on a discipline that was more in touch with everyday life. Enter civil engineering. “Civil engineering is a great discipline for people like me who enjoy a variety of tasks,” Melissa explained. “You can be designing a site plan for a residential tower one day, and then a big sewer system the next. It is a discipline every project relies on, no matter the size or scope.”


Creative thinking is key to becoming a top-notch civil engineering professional. “There’s a multitude of solutions to every problem, you just have to find the right one for your project,” Melissa said. Beyond creative thinking, maintaining relationships is crucial to a healthy career in engineering. “You will cross paths with the people you meet on a project again next year, five years from now, ten years from now, as colleagues, competitors, or bosses,” she advised. “Civil is a small industry. Always put your best foot forward.”


As WalterFedy’s service areas and offerings continue to grow, project managers like Melissa are actively searching for top talent to join their teams. “WalterFedy is a people-friendly place to work,” said Melissa. “It is a family environment with strong teams, which is something I’ve never experienced before. Everyone wants you to succeed, and if you have a challenge, they are always available to offer support.”


If you are interested in joining Melissa’s team, visit our careers page for an up-to-date listing of current opportunities.

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