Celebrating Women in Construction Week: A Q&A With Megan Solina

Post by 
Megan Solina
Published 
March 7, 2024

This week, Isomer Project Group shines a spotlight on the vital role women play in the construction industry, in celebration of Women in Construction Week. Our focus narrows on Megan Solina, a project engineer whose journey through the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) space is both inspiring and enlightening. From her academic pursuits at Mississippi State University to her impactful role at Isomer, Megan's narrative underscores the evolving landscape of opportunities for women in engineering. Through her experiences navigating a traditionally male-dominated field, Megan offers a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and the unwavering determination that has defined her career. Join us as we delve into Megan's story, uncovering the inspirations, projects, and advice that have shaped her journey in the construction and engineering industry. This week, we salute all the women at Isomer and in our industry!

Can you share a bit about your journey into the EPC space after graduation?
In May 2019, I completed my studies at Mississippi State University. Due to the university's geographical location, education was geared more towards pursuing a career in oil and gas manufacturing. Nonetheless, after participating in a 3-term co-op program in this industry, I realized that my true passion lay in the technical and design aspects of engineering. Initially, I believed that the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) industry was not open to new graduates and was reserved for seasoned engineers with years of experience. After relocating to the East Coast on a whim after graduation, I struggled to find what kind of opportunities would be available for me. Fortunately, I discovered that EPC companies were starting to seek young, fresh talent. During my job search, I came across an Entry-Level Process Engineering position at Wood Group PLC. It was an ideal opportunity to begin my engineering career in the EPC space, and I am delighted to report that I am currently continuing my career at Isomer Project Group.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering and how did you find your niche?
During high school, I dedicated a significant amount of time to figuring out my areas of excellence. While many of my peers had already committed themselves to careers in traditional fields such as nursing or teaching, I had no desire to go that path. Despite my inclination towards and proficiency in mathematics, I struggled to envision a viable career path in this domain alone. When I first studied chemistry, I discovered I had a true passion for engineering. Chemistry and mathematics were particularly engaging for me and pursuing a career in chemical engineering seemed like a natural fit. Throughout my academic journey, I continued in this field, driven by my love for details and technical thinking, which is what engineering requires.
You've worked on projects across various industries. Could you tell us about a project that stands out to you as particularly challenging or rewarding and what lessons did you learn from that?
In my professional tenure, the most significant project I have had the privilege of working on was in Canada. This project involved the engineering design of a new paper machine, and I was involved with it from start to finish. Initially, I joined the project team as a project controls specialist, responsible for scheduling and cost control. As the project gained momentum and required more resources, I assumed some process-related tasks. Towards the end of the project, as the project management responsibilities were changing hands, I worked as a project engineer to support the piping and electrical teams in completing their deliverables. By the end of the project's lifecycle, I served as the project manager, responsible for responding to field requests as the on-site construction was underway. This project was gratifying because it offered me a well-rounded understanding of the engineering projects industry. I began working on this project about six months into my career, and by the time it concluded, I had acquired substantial knowledge and experience in the field.
As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry, have you faced any unique challenges or obstacles in your career journey?
Working as a female professional in a male-dominated industry has presented multiple challenges, particularly after having children early in my career. It is commonplace to observe men, husbands, or fathers continuing to work while their spouses stay at home to care for the children, which is often financially feasible in this industry. My situation differs because I continued to work after having kids. The COVID-19 pandemic had a noticeable effect on my family because my daughter was born during the worldwide shutdown. With that, childcare costs have become exorbitantly high due to the declining economy. Fortunately, I have been privileged to work with companies that acknowledge the world has changed and that are empathetic to the various circumstances people face in their personal lives. I believe that efficiency and quality of work are the most crucial factors in determining an employee's value, regardless of gender.
What advice would you offer to other women aspiring to enter the construction and engineering industry?
I would like to encourage women who aspire to enter the construction and engineering industry to trust in their capabilities. Age and gender should not be perceived as intimidating factors to those interested in entering this industry, as the EPC world is results driven. In order to keep strengthening our industry, it is important for leaders to acknowledge that women can excel in this field, and it is our collective responsibility to create an environment that fosters equal opportunities, supports diversity, and encourages women to pursue their interests in construction and engineering.

About Isomer Project Group

Isomer Project Group exists for one purpose - to help bring great ideas to life. We have the experience of best-of-the-best EPC organizations but the fresh ideas and passion of a tech startup.

Founded in 2020, Isomer Project Group is based in Greenville, SC. The company is anchored by partners who together have successfully managed more than $2 billion in industrial projects across multiple markets - many of them representing first-of-a-kind technologies and processes. The firm plans to continue growing its team of engineers, project managers, and other professionals to support clients looking for an innovative approach to project execution.

Nothing gets our team excited like a good challenge. Drop us a line at contact@isomer.group or give us a call at (864) 565-9100 to connect and find out how we can help bring your idea to life.

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