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Audrey Housson


Geotechnical Engineer at Black & Veatch

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My name is Audrey Housson, and I'm a tunnel engineer for Black & Veatch. I started out as a geology undergrad student at Texas A & M. In the world of Texas, the industry that is really dominating is petroleum engineering, or petroleum geology. That was not a path for me. So I just landed, through contacts, a job in tunnel construction. What really stuck was the time when I went to the job site for the first time ever and we were doing drill and blast work for a shaft. We got to set off the blast and I was hooked from then.  

I was able to then start becoming a designer for Black & Veatch. Going forward, I’m looking forward to managing more large-scale design projects, getting more involved with the geotechnical investigations, and beefing up my technical background.  

The tunneling industry is great because there's always something new to learn. Your day-to-day job function is always changing. This industry needs so many people in order for it to keep going. Tunneling is the future.  

City Centers are getting bigger and bigger. So as a civil engineer, you can have a huge impact on cities and quality of life by being in building underground. That's super impactful and it's what keeps me going.  

When I first became a contractor, I was welcomed by my team. I didn't have any problems. But also, I knew in the ‘70s women were bad luck in tunnels. So we've made steps but there's more to go. On the design side, there's a bit more women. So that's just been a different experience.  

I first heard about UCA through Women in Tunneling and my mentor that was at Atkinson Construction, Lizan Gilbert. She was the one who introduced me to Women in Tunneling, which is part of UCA.  

The Women in Tunneling Breakfast has gone from like maybe a handful of women to like a huge group. The first Women in Tunneling event, which was the one that I was involved with, was just a trip down to San Antonio. That was my job site. So that was like the first time I was meeting women in tunneling that were outside of my construction company.  

I had always been the only female on the job site in the technical role. So meeting other women in tunneling was huge. 

There's so many diverse backgrounds, no one's coming out of school with a tunneling undergrad degree. Instead, they’re coming with civil, they're coming with geology or mining. So, it doesn't matter what path you start out on. But landing here is always going to be a great choice.