Being a Civil Engineer with a master’s degree in Urban Planning has provided substantial value to Parker Just’s career. The 2016 graduate says, “Engineering and planning are really two sides of the same coin, both are working towards improving the quality of life for the communities and clients that we serve.” Having a background with both groups, Parker has been able to “speak the language” and understand where both sides are coming from, leading to developing the best possible solution for all stakeholders.
Parker’s degree in planning helped him develop several skills that he uses in his career. He was able to develop extensive skills in ArcGIS mapping, which is something that is relatively rare in the engineering profession. Studying urban planning also enabled him to extensively develop softer skills such as public speaking and conducting public meetings. He finds this has proven to be tremendously helpful whether he is working on a stormwater master plan for a small community or developing maps detailing hydrologic calculations for a large watershed management plan.
The most rewarding part of Parker’s job is being able to work with communities to understand what their needs are and work with them to improve the quality of life for their residents. Since he specializes in stormwater design and floodplain management, he often works in communities with severe drainage and flooding issues. His technical background in engineering allows him to assess issues that communities may be having with drainage networks or infrastructure and to perform detailed floodplain modeling. His background in urban planning allows him to see bigger picture issues and attempt to identify a solution that may be less “by the book”, which optimizes the public’s benefit.
Parker indicates, “I can honestly say I would not be as successful in my career without supplementing the technical knowledge that I gained from my engineering degree with a degree in urban planning.”
Hannah Fleck was a combined degree student in Civil Engineering and Urban and Regional Planning. She received her M.S. in 2012 and she received her B.S.E. in 2011. She now works at Guidon Design, a private design and consulting firm, in Indianapolis.
Over the past 5 years Hannah has worked on a wide variety of projects including site design and development, regulatory research for large infrastructure projects, and LEED consulting. The ArcGIS skills that she learned at the School of Planning and Public Affairs have been invaluable to her civil engineering teammates. She uses ArcGIS on a regular basis to pull property information that is used to start conceptual design. She also uses her training in zoning laws and codes to do regulatory research for infrastructure projects. Most recently she was working on the improvement of a low head dam in Indianapolis that will need multiple permits to go into construction.
At the intersection of planning and engineering Hannah has found a passion for green building design and construction. As a LEED consultant she blends all her technical knowledge and planning savvy to successfully lead projects through the certification of LEED projects.
Prior to Guidon Design she worked at C-Wise Design and Consulting in Iowa City. She is a board member of the Market Leadership Advisory Board for the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for the Indiana Chapter. Much of her success is deeply rooted in the education she received from both her degrees at the University of Iowa.