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How did you find yourself on this career path?

My love of math as a child piqued my interest in engineering. Later, listening to Caltrans engineers being interviewed about bridge failures during the Northridge earthquake in 1994 led me to pursue civil engineering degree at UC Berkeley. Minoring in City and Regional Planning solidified my interest in transportation, and I started my career at a small, woman-owned transportation firm, CCS Planning & Engineering. I have been working as a consultant on transportation infrastructure projects for my entire career. I have been blessed to join teams that were supportive, encouraging, and offered opportunities for advancement. 

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?

I love that I get to work on exciting projects and that my work has a positive impact on the community. 

What is something you’ve done in your career that you’re proud of?

Throughout my career, I have designed and managed projects of varying sizes—from local intersection improvements to projects of regional significance such as interstate widenings. I am glad to be able to work on such a wide range of projects and contribute to improving transportation infrastructure in the Bay Area. I am also proud to be able to contribute to the advancement of underrepresented groups in transportation and STEM through my volunteer efforts with Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), Women Transportation Seminar (WTS), and Girls, Inc. Along my career path, I have grown professionally and personally through volunteering.

What advice do you have for young girls and women who are interested in your field?

Definitely gain some experience in the industry through internships. That will help solidify whether the transportation field is for you, whether you prefer the private or the public sector, etc. Also seek out mentors, in college and throughout your career, who you can turn to for guidance or a listening ear. Build a supportive network. Gaining the perspective of others in my field has been invaluable for me.

April 15, 2021

Meet Michele Johnson, Senior Engineer & East Bay Roadway Team Lead

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