Since graduating in 2014, Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) alumna Hannah Breed has made a significant impact on the Charlotte engineering and greater business community. Last summer she was promoted to studio manager at her firm, Urban Design Partners, and this past October, she was recognized by The Mecklenburg Times as one of Charlotte’s 50 Most Influential Women.
Drawn to Charlotte’s big city environment, Breed left her native South Carolina and moved to the Queen City with her husband Josh Breed ‘15, also a CEE graduate. The two met in high school and served together in the Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity.
“Theta Tau probably had the most impact on preparing me for where I am today,” Breed says. “I made so many friends, and it was great for building a network and really making a connection with others in the organization.”
After four years at another firm, Breed joined Urban Design Partners as a civil designer in 2018. In her current position as studio manager, she oversees a staff of nine designers and project managers. In the five years since joining the firm, it has more than tripled in size and added a second office. “It’s been neat to be on the ground floor and see the growth and have a voice,” Breed says.
As a licensed professional engineer in South Carolina and North Carolina, Breed leads a number of residential, commercial and mixed-use projects throughout the Southeast. While she is involved in a range of land development projects, adaptive reuse is her favorite. “We take existing mill buildings or old industrial buildings and turn them into something fun that people want to go to,” she says.
Breed is most proud of Lintmen’s, two mill buildings just outside of uptown Charlotte, located within walking distance of the NoDa Arts District, light rail and Cross Charlotte Trail. She was involved in the grading, stormwater and construction of the revitalized site, which now features a food hall, office and retail space, and community space with a stage, playground and splash pad.
Breed is also active in the Charlotte business community, having served in a variety of positions for the Charlotte chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW). The group works to advance women in commercial real estate fields, such as engineers, architects, lawyers, lenders and brokers. Breed’s CREW colleagues nominated her for the 50 Most Influential Women award, which was presented on October 19.
“I was really surprised by the nomination,” she says. “I was so flattered and didn’t think I had a chance of winning.”
“This accolade not only underscores Hannah’s remarkable contributions to the profession but also serves as a testament to the high quality of our academic programs and the extraordinary impact of our alumni,” says CEE Department Chair Juan Caicedo. “It is extremely rewarding to see our alumni succeed and make positive contributions to society.”
As Breed’s young career continues to thrive, she is grateful for opportunities in the College of Engineering and Computing that prepared her for her roles today. In addition to Theta Tau, she was active in the student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, where she held leadership roles and competed in the concrete canoe project.
“Our canoe stayed afloat, but I did get wet,” Breed jokes.
Breed also worked with CEE Associate Professor Dimitris Rizos on the launch of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA), which is designed to increase student interest and develop curriculum in railway engineering. A self-proclaimed “train nerd,” Breed enjoyed the experience and considered working in rail engineering before settling on land development.
Although she now calls North Carolina home, Breed continues to root for her beloved Gamecocks. “I had a great time at USC, and everyone in the office knows me as the big Gamecock fan,” she says. “I’m always pushing to hire more Gamecocks.”