People Spotlight, Transportation, United States, Women in Engineering

Our People Spotlight series gives you an inside look at our technical experts around the world. This week, we are highlighting a project manager from our Transportation business line in the Americas and providing you with insight into their inspiration and work.

Bridget is an accomplished transportation project and program manager who has dedicated 20 years of her career to the successful delivery of projects for the Illinois Tollway, including her recent role on the general engineering consultant (GEC) contract and her current position as Deputy Project Manager for the Tollway’s $4 billion Central Tri-State Design Corridor Manager contract.

What project has most impacted your career at AECOM and why? I’ve had the unique opportunity to gain most of my career experience through my roles at the Illinois Tollway, starting as a field inspector and then working on all phases of project development—planning, design, construction management, and operations and maintenance. It’s through this work that I’ve earned the trust of my clients, and it’s here that I developed my expertise and pursued my passion for innovation. I created the Tollway’s asset management database and designed a 50-year program that allows the Tollway to make program repairs that are vital to maintenance and preservation of these assets. As a result of my project experience, I am one of AECOM’s leading subject matter experts in the field of asset management.

As part of my recent work at the Tollway, including on its general engineering consultant contract, I introduced software for electronic design (Bluebeam) review and for virtual public meetings – all of which helped the CTS team transition to remote working during the global pandemic. I’m thrilled to continue my career supporting the Tollway and remain focused on innovation to help one of the world’s premier tolling agencies.

How has your work positively impacted the community? Over the past 10 years, I have led AECOM’s internship program at the Illinois Tollway. As part of my leadership, I’m committed to placing diverse, qualified firms and people into meaningful roles on Tollway projects and initiatives. This has given me an opportunity to introduce women and minorities in the community to STEM careers. Our team has also hired many minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses as subconsultants with key technical and management responsibilities.

Through AECOM, I was also introduced to the American Corporate Partners program, where I mentor veterans. I’m on my third round with the program, helping those that have sacrificed so much for our country with resume development and employment negotiation. I also work with them to create understanding on how the workforce operates while acting as a sounding board on issues they are facing in their transition back to civilian life.

Advancing women in the industry Early in my career I was the only woman inspector at a highway construction site that was using a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Weighing over 1,000 metric tons, the TBM drills through hard rock and requires stringent installation procedures. Some on the site believed it was no place for a woman. I was fortunate to have the support of my manager and subsequently the client, who made sure I had the resources and respect to do the job I was hired to do.

I share this story because their support inspired me to take action on behalf of women in the industry. I’ve gone on to serve as president of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) of Greater Chicago, whose mission is to advance the careers of women in our industry. Now as the immediate past president, I continue to support WTS’s formal mentoring program, and I’ve joined AECOM’s newly formed mentorship program, to stay committed to helping others with their careers.


Bridget Malinowski

Originally published May 19, 2021

Author: Bridget Malinowski

Bridget is a project manager and program manager based out of AECOM’s Illinois office.