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Providing Local Engineering Resources to Wisconsin Municipalities

Marie Phelan Amundson, PE, recently joined the Snyder & Associates’ Madison office as a Civil Engineer. With over eight years of municipal engineering experience specializing in stormwater management and GIS asset management, the Madison, Wisconsin, team is excited to have her onboard.

“Marie brings a valuable skill set to our team that will help us serve the diverse needs of our municipal clients,” shares Mike Calkins, PE, Business Unit Leader for Snyder & Associates Madison. “In addition to her expertise with stormwater and GIS, her design experience ranges from trails to stream restoration and erosion control. She’s a proven leader with a passion for municipal engineering services, and we look forward to working with her.”

Marie grew up in Ohio and went on to graduate from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and minors in Environmental Engineering and Spanish. Post-college, her career brought her to Seattle, Washington, and Dubuque, Iowa, before Madison. In her free time, she enjoys camping and hiking with her husband Keith and dog Louie. She’s also an avid participant in community theater and has enjoyed acting in plays since first grade.

“There’s so much opportunity here in Wisconsin,” shares Amundson. “The culture at Snyder & Associates and the resources this position provides to help me achieve my career goals is what excites me the most.”

More insights about Marie include:

What inspired you to pursue an engineering career?

My Dad started school for civil engineering with a minor in environmental engineering, but he later changed directions to the medical field. Based on what he knew about engineering from his time in college, he felt it would be a good fit for me. In addition, I was always good at math and science, so teachers encouraged me to check it out. In high school, I took a few classes at camp that covered different engineering fields and civil just called to me.

What do you think is interesting or unique about engineering?

One of the unique and interesting things about civil engineering is the ability to see the results of your hard work in the final product; be that a stormwater pond, a building, or a bridge. I love being able to point to something as we drive past and say “I worked on that!” My husband doesn’t find it to be as much fun as I do.

What do you find challenging about your career?

The most challenging part about engineering is that no two projects are the same. The landscape, project parameters, and clients are different for each project. It’s also what keeps the work interesting.

What personal or professional achievement are you particularly proud of?

Starting two different GIS departments. In my first job after college, we were working on a project that needed GIS. I had some experience with it through a class in college and nobody else at the firm did, so I offered to take on the challenge. Through research and tutorials, I worked my way through it and developed a deeper understanding of the technology and its benefits in order to guide clients. I really enjoy using GIS, and I think it’s super useful.

If you could spend a day living in another time period, what would it be and why?

I’ve always been drawn to the period in the late 19th century and early 20th century. There was enough technology to make life a little easier, but little enough you still had to have an imagination to keep yourself occupied.

What three items would you take with you to a deserted island?

If I have to survive for a while: A big, floppy hat to protect me from the elements, a knife, and a lighter. If I’m just chilling for a little while before coming back: A book, a deck of cards, and some snacks.