Kathleen Baker – Mechanical Engineer
How long have you worked for Iconica?
What is your position?
Engineer II – Mechanical Plumbing Engineer
What led you to the engineering field?
Ever since I was little I was into building and playing with Legos. In High School I took some engineering classes, joined the robotics team, and knew I wanted to work in the engineering field. In college I studied Mechanical Engineering. I wanted to study this field because it is a broad subject and hands on.
What would you say to someone in high school looking at a career in engineering?
I find it very rewarding. It can be a lot of work at times, but if your brain is geared like mine, it’s worth it. I love that you get to see what you have made afterwards with your team and clients.
Gin and tonic
What has been your favorite project to work on?
I have been working on Sauk Trails Plaza II for several months. We designed it with a newer HVAC and VRF system. It’s been really cool to have the jobsite so close to our office. We are able to go over to the building frequently. I am proud to be part of the team.
What the least glamourous about your job?
Sometimes we have to go into existing buildings to check out a potential job. Some of those sites can be pretty run down, have no air conditioning, and really dark basements! That, and I sit at a computer most of my day.
Are you a morning or evening person?
What is something you look forward to every day at work?
I really like the REVIT program right now and working with both the engineering and architecture departments. We have found ways for us to integrate on both sides and automate some of the tasks that can be a bit tedious with previous software.
What are some of the benefits of our integrated team atmosphere?
I love working in our team settings and appreciate having the construction and architecture staff close to my office area to talk to. I can get close to instant feedback on work or a question instead of having to wait a week or two to get an answer, and then rework the project.
How does Iconica support you in your career?
I have been sent to a couple different trainings on products and general HVAC training. Iconica has paid for me to be part of the local engineering society, ASHRAE.
I really like the TV show, ‘The Wire’.
How do you cope with the stress of tight deadlines?
I don’t mind pushing towards deadlines and I know that usually things are calmer after. Since we work as teams, it’s usually not all on one person but everyone. That helps, and then we are all stressed together to get it finished!
Do you have a dream project?
Anything that is “smart building” or a project that will be integrated with controls, temperatures, music, and technology.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Playing ultimate Frisbee team and softball on the weekends.
Favorite breakfast food:
Everything bagel with vegetable cream cheese.
How would you encourage more women to be in the engineering field?
I think we should encourage young females with interests in engineering and introduce them to engineering before college. Engineering-related programs in high school and middle school would boost more females to get into engineering in a less stressful environment and can make them more confident about pursuing engineering in college and after graduation.
How do you think we can grow more females in the engineering department at Iconica?
If we grew our engineering department that would probably make it easier, but reaching out to younger engineers, recent graduates, or interns, would probably help get more female applicants.
How do you handle being the only female in your department?
I don’t really notice it too much, there’s so much integration with other departments. People here are respectful to each other so it’s not a big deal to me.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I can juggle.
What would you say to anyone considering working with Iconica?
I think this is a different workplace than the typical consulting engineering firm. There is good communication between disciplines and you get to see more of each department and projects. By not staying in my “silo”, I have learned more about architecture and structural engineering.