Gina Showers Career Profile
Three key pillars — Approachable People, Proven Capabilities, and Global Experience — are the foundation of the TYLin brand and the reason for our success.
Next up in our Connection Builders series is Gina Showers, PE, Sr. Engineer, Roads and Highways. Her interest in how multimodal forms of transportation impact city residents led her to a career as a transportation engineer. Read about her journey and why she believes the impacts of Covid will affect commute types and frequency over the next few years.
What or who inspired your pursuit of a career in transportation engineering?
When I was young, beyond having strengths in math and science, I never thought about engineering as a career. But as I got older, I became fascinated by the human side of transportation, particularly how multimodal forms of transportation impact all city residents, from pedestrians and bike riders to people who use public transportation.
What keeps you motivated at this point in your career?
I’m motivated by my team and the almost daily opportunities for collaboration as we work towards a common goal of improving people’s lives. I’m also inspired by the concerns of people in the Chicago area, where I work and live, regarding safety and environmental issues. Both challenge me to be creative and practical in developing solutions.
What industry trend will impact your field the most significantly in the next decade?
A significant role for transportation engineers and city planners will be learning how the impacts of Covid will affect commute types and frequency over the next few years. More people are working from home, but we’ve also seen a surge in bicycle sales and use over the last few years. Understanding these trends and incorporating them into our designs will be key. Bicycle and scooter share programs have gained popularity and will be important to keep in mind.
What impact do you hope to make in the next five years of your career?
Our team has begun the process of creating our own design standards for Complete Streets. I want to continue to develop and implement those standards for a more efficient design process to increase the quantity and safety of Chicago bicycle networks.
If provided $1M investment to solve a major challenge within the transportation field, what problem would you tackle?
Unfortunately, in the transportation field, $1M doesn’t typically go a long way. One of the biggest challenges we face is funding. While $1M would be a small fraction in the scheme of our projects, I would put it towards the city’s goal of upgrading all protected bike lanes to concrete protection by the end of 2023.
What has been the defining moment of your experience at TYLin?
A defining moment in my career was participating in a bicycle workshop that we held as part of a project where I led the design. I met directly with members of the community to understand their concerns and questions. Unlike more formal public meetings, we had the ability to explain our project one-on-one with participants and show the improvements planned for the neighborhood.
What have been the skills/strengths that have helped you succeed most in your career thus far?
Two skills I’ve found to be invaluable: being adaptable and adjusting to different team dynamics. In this field, I work frequently with other departments, agencies, and teams. It’s important to learn how these groups operate and how to work best with them. The other skill is organization…the ability to keep things on track especially when faced with shifting priorities.
What are your professional goals? Where do you see yourself at TYLin in 5 years?
Over the next five years, I’d like to work on projects that will challenge me to be innovative and make a better tomorrow for a community and its residents. I also see myself continuing to be a mentor to younger engineers so that I can help them, to whatever extent possible, develop as professionals and serve our clients.
What do you enjoy most about working at TYLin?
Even though I work in the offices of my client (Chicago Department of Transportation), I always marvel at the broad range of resources I can tap when I need help. In almost every situation, my colleagues across TYLin are always willing to assist.
Recently, TYLin unveiled a new brand position – Connecting people, places and ideas. How does this apply to the work you do?
This positioning is at the heart of what I do as a transportation engineer. From a broader perspective, it’s what everyone at TYLin — across all our sectors — does daily: we make connections to improve people's lives.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to others about their careers?
Celebrate your wins, big or small, and learn from them. We’ve all been told to learn from our mistakes, which is true. But learning from our successes is perhaps more important because it not only helps a team’s dynamics, but also builds an individual’s confidence, knowing that what you’ve done was effective.