Alexander Lumber | Champaign, IL

Meet Our Engineer Abby Bernhagen

Craig Fields | with 0 Comments

Meet Our Engineer Abby Bernhagen

MSA Professional Services is a multidisciplinary consulting firm focused on improving communities in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Our staff is comprised of engineers, architects, planners, funding experts, surveyors, GIS specialists and environmental scientists.
Abby Bernhagen is a municipal engineer at MSA. A native of Marshfield, Wisconsin, Abby joined the team in 2012, and her specialties include water and wastewater infrastructure projects. 
Abby was featured in the League of Wisconsin Municipalities' monthly magazine, The Municipality, highlighting women working in and with local governments. Learn more about her through our brief Q&A:
How long have you been at MSA Professional Services? 
I have been at MSA almost four years.
What is your background?
I am a municipal engineer but specialize in water and wastewater projects.
How did you become interested in MSA?
While in college, I attended a handful of American Water Works Association (AWWA) conferences to gain exposure to the industry and discover my options for a career path after graduation. Due to a combination of good referrals from those I met at AWWA, professional acquaintances through friends, as well as my research, I discovered that MSA is a company that would allow me to pursue my interests in water and wastewater. I heard about an open position for a new graduate in my hometown, so I decided to apply. I did not realize at the time how well MSA would fit into my vision of an ideal job!
How did your education at University of Wisconsin-Madison prepare you for a career in engineering?
University of Wisconsin-Madison did an excellent job of preparing me for a career in engineering. Not only were the technical topics covered well, but the communication skills expected once working in the industry, both oral and written, were also improved and refined with required professional development courses. I also had the opportunity to participate in engineering courses where females were well represented, sometimes outnumbering the males. Not only did that enhance my confidence level tremendously, it helped motivate me to finish my education in engineering and ultimately make it my career.
MSA offers scholarships to college students. How important are they?
I feel very fortunate to have attended UW-Madison, which would not have been possible without scholarships I received. When I was 16, my parents divorced and my family’s economic status changed immensely, so to receive the generous scholarship made a difference and contributed to where I am today.
What are your responsibilities and main areas of expertise?
I primarily work on projects that are water or wastewater related. However, I have also been involved with street projects. My responsibilities include Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permitting and report writing, drafting plans and preparing project specifications, construction administration duties and performing construction inspection duties.
What sets MSA apart from others in the civil engineering industry? Why should someone work here?
There are numerous aspects that set MSA apart from other civil engineering firms, including flexible schedules and employee-ownership of the company. I feel very fortunate to have begun my career with MSA.
How does MSA make a positive impact on the communities in which it works?
Through my experiences as an engineer at MSA Professional Services, I’ve helped communities improve their utility infrastructure from start to finish, beginning with design and seeing projects through construction.
How did MSA guide you to grow into your specialty?
Ever since MSA asked what I enjoy most about civil engineering in my interview, they’ve let me adopt a role that allows me to pursue my interests and work on projects that keep me engaged.
How has the industry changed since you started at MSA?
Technology has changed our industry, from marketing, to attracting new hires and becoming more efficient in getting projects finished. Since starting at MSA, I have seen the use of technology explode in a great way, allowing endless and increased opportunities and efficiency.
What has been your biggest success since being with MSA?
I consider the relationships I have made with our clients to be my biggest success so far. It is very rewarding when I volunteer at an event or sponsor a fundraiser and our clients participate too. We not only work together professionally but work together to do great things for our community. I am extremely lucky to be a part of that.
Finding a company that fits your lifestyle is challenging. MSA enables people to positively impact the lives others. From families to communities, we focus on creating a better place to live and work. For more information on exciting career opportunities at MSA, contact Craig Fields.

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