To honor women engineers at Thornton Tomasetti, Women@TT's Global Programming Committee is sharing stories about remarkable women. Stefania Farrugia, Senior Marketing Manager, conducted the interview.
Since starting out in the AEC industry back in 2007, I have been lucky to work with many inspiring women, from colleagues in MarComm to technical staff across a range of specialisms. I first met my interviewee – the brilliant Megan McEveley, an engineer in our Warrington office - when we started working together as Women@TT Coordinators for our region in September 2021. Having worked with her closely since then on a wide range of initiatives and benefited directly from her insight, ideas, and expertise, I knew she would be a great subject for my INWED2022 interview.
Stefania Megan, what inspired you to become an engineer?
Megan It’s a bit of a classic story initially because when I was younger, I was very much into maths and physics. My hometown is not far from Daresbury Laboratory, which is a research lab for nuclear physics and accelerator science, topics that have always fascinated me. When I was 12, the school’s career advisor suggested being a nuclear physicist. I had no idea what that was, but it sounded very cool! From then on, I started to gear my decisions towards this path, and by the time I was 18 I had diverted only slightly – the goal was then to be a nuclear engineer. I went to Cambridge University to study engineering and in my final year, I ended up specializing in aerospace engineering whilst taking some specific modules in nuclear power and energy. Following university, I was lucky enough to land my role at TT in September 2020, and here I am!
Stefania What is interesting about your background?
Megan There are probably two angles that are a little more unusual regarding my background. Firstly, when I was 15, I took the initiative to apply for and achieve a scholarship place at a boarding school in York – moving away from my home and friends. Going to boarding school is not something every 15-year-old might think about (and it certainly was quite a shock to my parents!) but to me it was the best way of achieving my goal of going to a top-tier university and becoming an engineer. Boarding school also gave me a lot of confidence and independence, which has benefited me greatly.
Secondly, and probably most surprisingly, in my personal life I’m a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter and have been competing for several years now in various places including South Africa. As you can imagine, pretty much everything in my life revolves around my competition calendar – from what I eat, to when I sleep and so forth, and it is a lot of commitment! To be successful, I need to be very organized, good at communication, confident in my abilities and have a strong work ethic – skills that transfer really well into my job, too.
Stefania What are your career goals?
Megan I have always been someone who likes to set goals and work towards achieving them, a theme that runs through both my professional and sporting endeavours. I enjoy every aspect of my sport, and with work, it’s the same. I want to wake up every day and be excited about the day ahead, and I know my career at TT will hold some great opportunities to experience new challenges, travel, visit project sites, meet inspiring people and be constantly learning. One of my more defined career goals is to bring these aspects together and experience living and working in another country - ideally Australia – as I’d really relish that challenge. I’d also love to get to a point in my career where I can inspire and influence young engineers and students, particularly young women.
I’d also love to get to a point in my career where I can inspire and influence young engineers and students, particularly young women.
Stefania Who are your role models and what have you learned from them?
Megan : I genuinely believe that you can learn something from everyone you meet in life because everyone has had different life experiences. That could be a person you bump into in a supermarket or your company’s CEO – you just have to keep your ears open!
In terms of an individual that I find inspiring, I think I’d have to say, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is the embodiment of someone who sets his mind to a goal and goes out and achieves it. Not many people can say they have been Mr. Olympia, an actor, and a politician! They are three completely different careers but are evidence of his attitude that if you want to achieve something, and it is a priority for you, with enough hard work and dedication you can achieve it – even if it seems impossible at the start.
Stefania What advice do you have for women who are just starting a career in the AEC industry?
Megan Be a sponge! Absorb everything you can from everyone you meet. Take every opportunity that comes your way – or that you can seek out – and although you might feel out of depth or uncomfortable initially, you need to focus on the fact that every learning situation is helping you to progress and reach your goals.
I also think it’s important to be aware that as a woman, there are lots of programs out there to help you, including sponsorship, internships, training opportunities, mentors, etc. Use the platforms available to women so that it feels like a benefit, not a hindrance – these opportunities are there to be given to someone, so why not you?! And of course, wearing my Women@TT European Chapter Coordinator hat, I’ve got to give a shout-out to internal programs such as Women@TT, which offer a huge amount to our staff members, both men and women.
Related INWED 2022 Profiles
INWED 2022 - A Conversation with Caitlin Patterson
INWED 2022 – A Conversation with Diana Sagastume
INWED 2022 – A Conversation with Athina Spyridaki
INWED 2022 – A Conversation with Colleen Harper