Member Feature: An Interview with Elizabeth Herbst

Name, position, and company:  Elizabeth Herbst, Environmental Engineer, CDM Smith

How long have you been at your current job? 10 years

What brought you to the QCA? I was living in Montana and met a nice young man who lived in the QCA. Two years later, we got married and made the Quad Cities our home.

What are you working on when you're at the coworking space? A little bit of everything! Mainly environmental permitting for construction projects that will impact waterways and wetlands, with a lot of project management as well.

Tell us a bit about why your job is important: I help clients efficiently complete projects while complying with environmental regulations. If I do it correctly, we minimize environmental impacts (protecting the environment) to help complete projects with fewer schedule delays. It is the best outcome for all parties.

You are a woman in science and engineering. Were science and math always interesting to you? What made you decide to pursue this type of work? When I was in high school, my family went to check out colleges for my older brother.  In just every information session, schools talked about their engineering student populations being 20 to 30% female. I thought, “That’s stupid, I can do that.” And the thought was born. My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in Civil Engineering, but early on I worked in environmental permitting and found my niche.

Favorite part of your day: That time after dinner, in the time before our youngest goes to bed, when we get to play as a family, which is made up of my husband, our three year old son, and one year old daughter.

What are the challenges of being a remote employee? Are their specific benefits? I think the biggest challenge is staying connected to my work team, most of whom work in the same office. It took a while to make it work, but as long as I complete my tasks, I set my own hours.

What drew you to the TCC and made you decide to abandon your home office and the coffee shop to come and work here? I eavesdropped on Leslie talking about The Creative Collective at a coffee shop and introduced myself. While working in coffee shops is great, coffee grinders are a bit awkward to explain during phone calls. I also appreciate having the opportunity to engage in conversations during the day.

Three favorite activities outside of work: Spending time with my family and reading.  I don’t know if I have time for a third favorite!