Employee-Owner Spotlight: Meet Katie Kinsey

July 30, 2020


Katie Kinsey


Professional Engineer*

Professional Engineer* Katie Kinsey is dedicated to helping her Iowa clients discover new and responsible ways to deliver clean water to their citizens and communites. From drinking water to wastewater, Katie believes that preserving our planet’s greatest resource plays a vital role in SEH's mission of Building a Better World for All of Us®.

From permitting to design and public engagement, to modeling and construction, she has worked in all aspects of drinking water and wastewater utilities.

Katie joined SEH in May 2020, and we recently sat down with the Iowa native to learn more about her career, what it's been like onboarding in the midst of a pandemic and advice for others doing the same, the importance of understanding the "why" behind each project, and what led her into water engineering.

What aspects of the field drew you in? How did you know you wanted to work in the water sector?

I was in high school when I realized I wanted to become an engineer. I really enjoyed math and science growing up, and felt like engineering might be a good fit. When I started college, I entered the engineering college undeclared. A family friend worked at a water utility and offered to give me a tour around the treatment plant during my first year. Seeing the process of how water is treated interested me and made me realize how much more there is to the treatment and deliverance of water than turning on a faucet and it just appearing.

You came on board during the pandemic. Describe the process of onboarding during a time of social/physical distancing. Any advice for others considering a change in company or career?

It was very strange to go through the interview process during the pandemic. All of my interviews were done over the phone or video rather than in person. My first day on the job at home was also very strange. Using GoToMeeting, email and instant messaging helped me get started and feel like I was meeting and getting to know my colleagues even though we weren’t face-to-face. Some advice I would give to others changing companies during this pandemic: trust your gut and be flexible. Normal is not normal anymore.

What would you describe as your greatest ability to help clients solve their water and wastewater challenges?

I care most about my clients and their needs. When I partner with a client, I take ownership over their system as if I were on their staff. Ultimately, I treat their water system as if it were my own.

What is the first thing you consider when beginning any water or wastewater project?

I seek to understand why the client wants or needs the project completed. Understanding the ultimate goal helps me better understand the project as a whole, what the client’s needs are and how I can best meet them.

Why did you join SEH? What drew you to our company?

SEH is a great company that truly believes in work-life balance. We have an employee stock ownership program (ESOP), which allows all of our employees to truly take ownership in SEH.

If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner with Helen Keller. We all experience struggles in life; some of us allow those struggles to hold us back. She is someone who took the struggle of being both blind and deaf and still became an amazingly accomplished person. She didn’t let these challenges hold her back. I would love to learn from her to make sure I push through my struggles and never let them hold me back.

*Professional engineer registered in IA

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