Jessica Baker, P.E., CFM, PMP
Employer: Halff Associates, Inc.
Position: Water Resources Department Manager
Location: Richardson, TX
NSPE member since: 2006
What you do: Our water resources team is made up of project managers, engineers, and geographic information system (GIS) analysts. We are focused on providing quality hydrology and hydraulics studies, floodplain management applications, and watershed and stormwater planning for municipal clients throughout Texas. GIS has become an essential component of our analyses and we are now offering standalone GIS services such as Web maps and iPad/iPhone applications for our clients. I love being involved with the public outreach components of our industry—sharing knowledge with project stakeholders, elected officials, and citizens. I perform numerous training courses throughout the state focused on floodplain management and I'm passionate about educating to ensure communities minimize the loss of life and property due to flooding.
What do you value in the people you work with? Accountability. Our team and firm are based on taking ownership of our responsibilities. We all work together to ensure that as a team, we are accountable. I think follow-through is one of the most important aspects of our careers. I feel very fortunate to work with the best and most dependable team. I always know that each person will do whatever it takes to accomplish our team's goals.
Biggest professional role model? Walter Skipwith, P.E., has been my mentor throughout my career. He is incredibly respected in our profession and his leadership and guidance have shaped my approach to my career. I feel so incredibly fortunate for the opportunities that Walter and Halff Associates have provided me.
What do you think companies need to do to attract younger generations into the engineering industry? Flexibility. More and more, our employees want to work incredibly hard, but need to balance that with their personal lives and interests. Technology today allows us opportunities to work outside of the traditional 8 a.m.5 p.m. business day. I hope that we will continue to see increased flexibility in our work lives so we can accomplish our goals while pursing personal interests as well.
If you weren't an engineer, you'd be: an event planner! After working on the Dallas Engineer's Week event over the past six years, I feel that I have really grown to love planning a large event... it is so satisfying to look out and see a large crowd enjoying an event that you've worked so hard on.
Proudest engineering accomplishment: I was incredibly honored to be selected as the Dallas and then Texas "Young Engineer of the Year" in 2008.
Your hobbies? I greatly enjoy travel wherever I can book a trip! Recently I went to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates which was an amazing experience. Also, I annually travel to California and Colorado to visit friends.
Finish this sentence: In 10 years, I hope... to be able to look back at successful, high quality projects. But, I will always continue to learn, grow, and build upon what I have now. I find it so important to never be satisfied with our current place—we must continue to improve in all aspects of our lives in order to be our best.
You joined NSPE to... Network with other engineers in our industry and give back to our profession. I've loved the professional leadership and growth experiences provided by NSPE/TSPE.
Your desert island book: Anything by Emily Giffin. I love a good simple beach read! Much more laid back than the typical technical reports I review.