Alumna Lindsey Keziah found a fulfilling career in transportation engineering
For alumna Lindsey Keziah, attending the University of South Carolina was an obvious choice since several of her family members are alums. However, choosing a major was not as simple.
After taking a chance on civil and environmental engineering, she found both a passion for transportation engineering and a job at Davis & Floyd, the South Carolina engineering firm she has worked for since graduating cum laude in 2008.
“My mom recommended engineering because I enjoyed my math classes growing up, but at that time I didn't know what kind of engineering I wanted to do,” says Keziah. “I remember when my advisor asked me to choose, I just said ‘civil.’ It was a very quick decision, and I was well into my career at USC before I realized it was something I'm interested in and wanted to continue to pursue.”
As Keziah’s academic journey progressed, it became obvious that she had made the right choice and felt more at home in the civil engineering program. She attributes her positive experiences at the university to the relationships she built with her classmates and instructors.
“It was difficult in the beginning because the classes were tough, but I really liked the atmosphere of the program and the group of friends I had bonded with,” Keziah says. “Professors were always willing to go the extra mile when I had questions, especially [Michael] Meadows. I was able to get internships with SCDOT and Woolpert Columbia with his connections, which helped me nail down exactly what I wanted to focus on after graduation.”
Transitioning from college to the workforce can be difficult, especially for those who, like Keziah, graduated during the 2008 recession. “I realized I was competing not only with peers who had just graduated, but also with people who had been laid off,” Keziah says.
Fortunately, it did not take long for her to be offered a position at Davis & Floyd, where she started her career in transportation engineering. From the beginning, she has always felt supported at the company, both professionally and personally.
“I love the firm and the people I work with. It's mainly the culture that I love here,” Keziah says. “This is a very family-oriented company, and they recognize the balance that I'm looking for. I have also had great managers that have helped me to continue to excel.”
Keziah’s job duties have shifted over the last 15 years, but her experience at Davis & Floyd remains fulfilling. At first, she mainly worked on creating plans for contractors to build infrastructure like interchanges, roadways and sidewalks using Computer-Aided Design tools. Now, in a more senior role, she reviews project budgets, submits proposals, and keeps her team on schedule.
“The relationships that we have here make a big difference,” Keziah says. “I feel comfortable and confident because I've known people for so long, but I do recognize that there is a benefit to having experience in more than one place. So, whenever we bring new people into our company, I try to take advice from them: ‘What did your old company do that we didn't?’ ‘What can we do better?’ ‘How can we grow?’”
As a woman, Keziah is aware that she is part of a minority in the engineering industry. But she has always felt welcomed by her peers, especially since joining a local chapter of Women in Transportation, an organization dedicated to creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable transportation industry.
“I love being able to reach more women in my field and forming those bonds,” Keziah says. “It's a very encouraging organization to be a part of. It strengthens us and gives us extra confidence to see other women from all over South Carolina who are doing great things.”
Keziah advises current civil engineering students to explore as many applications of the field as possible through their coursework and extracurricular experiences until they find their passion.
“There are a lot of different paths you can take in civil engineering, so don't hesitate to check out other opportunities,” Keziah says. “There's always time to find a good fit for you.”