Celebrating Women Impacting Water – Komal Ahmad
EBA project engineer Komal Ahmad was drawn to water engineering and hydraulic modeling through her graduate coursework. Below, she answers some of our questions about her work and her experiences as a rising star among #WomenImpactingWater.
Where are you from?
What do you do for EBA?
I work as a design engineer/hydraulic modeler for the Water Systems Engineering Department at EBA.
What inspired you to pursue a career in the water industry?
I was inspired by my hydrology coursework in grad school and by reading about the research efforts of various hydrologic/hydraulic modeling groups.
How long have you worked in the field?
Almost 2 years.
What’s the most interesting project you are currently working on?
I think that my modeling work for the DC Water sewer collection system is quite interesting because I get to work on the system verification and calibration processes for a very large and complex model.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing is learning about the interaction of modeling, design, and construction constraints because it encourages me to think broadly and holistically about each of my engineering projects.
When you aren’t at work, what are you most likely doing? (hobbies, etc.)
Watching Netflix and playing Xbox.
What has aided your growth and development in the field so far?
The most important step for me has been finding good mentors and colleagues and learning from their insights.
Why is water engineering a good career choice?
Water engineering is a good career choice because it provides the space to work in many different areas. You can work on water/sewer infrastructure design, stormwater design, hydrologic/hydraulic modeling, water/wastewater treatment systems, stream restoration, and so many other things.
What advice do you have for encouraging the next generation of women impacting water? What can organizations do to encourage more women in water?
Women should not be afraid of the learning curve that all new engineers face as they start out in the water industry. It can be easily overcome with a bit of time and effort. Organizations should do more to foster a collaborative and inclusive work environment where new engineers, especially women, are provided numerous hands-on opportunities to learn and grow.
What are some of the top issues facing the field now?
As a whole, the water industry has been slow to adopt new cloud-based technologies for asset management. Insights from hydraulic modeling could also be used more effectively for capital improvement program budget purposes. Engineering design for water and sewer infrastructure can also benefit from greater innovation.