Moving into Management Takes Training and Empathy

female manager
Photo credit: Kateryna/Adobe Stock

Natalie Carmen, P.E., M.ASCE, combines her experience in landscape architecture and agricultural engineering with her knowledge of civil engineering principles to design erosion-control, environmental, stormwater, water, wastewater, site development, and roadway projects. In August 2021, she was promoted by her company — Stewart, an engineering, design, and planning firm with offices in North Carolina and South Carolina — from project manager to director. She credits her success to her mentors, a three-year leadership development program, and her passion for meeting the needs of clients, communities, and team members.

What does your job as a director entail and how does it differ from your role as a project manager?

Stewart has seven practices and civil engineering is one of those. Within that practice, we have three offices, and I am the director of the Raleigh (North Carolina) civil engineering office. My boss is the practice leader, and I supervise six people.

Natalie Carmen
Natalie Carmen

As a project manager, while I was managing day-to-day tasks and the efforts of staff, I was not completing one-on-one or quarterly reviews or recruiting and hiring. Those are all part of my responsibilities now. Stewart did a great job in the two years preceding my promotion to support me in building those skills.

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