GEOSTRATA, 2017, July/August
Jennifer L. Trimble, PE, D.GE
Jennfier L. Trimble, PE, D.GE, is a geotechnical manager at Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP (RK&K), a multidiscipline civil engineering firm based in Baltimore, MD. She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering from West Virginia University (WVU). She is a registered professional civil engineer in five states and the District of Columbia.
At RK&K, Trimble’s responsibilities include planning and directing geotechnical explorations, preparing geotechnical engineering reports, conducting geotechnical analyses and technical reviews, developing plans/ specifications, and providing QA/QC in support of highways, rail transit lines, buildings, water and wastewater facilities, and other civil engineering projects for both design bid-build and designbuild contracts. She is an executive board member of RK&K’s Women’s Leadership Forum, a grassroots initiative that empowers, retains, and promotes the advancement of women within RK&K. She is a 2016 inductee of the Academy of Geo-Professionals as a Diplomate in geotechnical engineering.
Trimble lives in New Freedom, PA, with her husband, Brent, and son, Logan.
What class did you enjoy the most while in school?
I absolutely loved my introduction to soil mechanics and foundations classes.
What was your favorite project?
My favorite project to date would be for the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) – Section 100 – I-95/MD-43 Interchange Express Toll Lanes Project. This project required a wide variety of geotechnical work: deep and shallow foundations for bridges, back-to-back retaining walls, pavement design, culverts, noise barriers, staged construction, and ground improvements. There were even some concerns about construction adjacent to existing infrastructure elements, such as a 108-in. inner-diameter water main.
What is your favorite song and artist?
One of my favorite artists is Billy Joel. My favorite song is “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett.
What is your favorite movie or television show?
I love the movie Gone with the Wind. It amazes me that it was made in 1939, especially all the detail that was put into the set and the costumes.
Where did you spend most of your childhood, and what was it like for you to grow up there?
I grew up in Holland Township, NJ, a very rural community in Hunterdon County (no exit off the Turnpike or Parkway!) near the border of Pennsylvania. Growing up there was great! All my family lived within 30 minutes, so there were lots of family gatherings, such as birthday parties, holidays, and picnics. Beach time was spent at Island Beach State Park. We went fishing at Round Valley Reservoir or Spruce Run Recreation Area, danced at the YMCA, and always went to Jimmy’s Ice Cream Stand for a dusty road sundae!
When did you realize that you wanted to study civil engineering?
What were the key factors in your decision to become a civil engineer? I realized I wanted to be part of the civil engineering community when I was at WVU. Freshman year is all about general engineering. After that year ended, I went to presentations from each engineering discipline and had to pick which one I wanted to focus on. I knew right away that civil engineering was for me — especially the environmental and earth sciences that are associated with civil engineering.
How did I choose to focus on geotechnical engineering?
At WVU I worked with graduate students to conduct research for their geotechnical master’s thesis under Dr. Mo Gabr. I spent two summers interning for Melick-Tully and Associates, PC, a geotechnical firm in NJ, where they had me doing drill rig inspections, construction material testing, site reconnaissance, and laboratory testing. The uniqueness of geotechnical engineering appealed to me; I realized early on that each site is drastically different, and you never know what you’re going to find. (I also tell people it is because my mom did not let me get dirty in the sandbox!)
How do you feel about the state of civil engineering and the profession as it is today?
Civil engineers are in high demand. Between our aging infrastructure in need of rehabilitation, decent decree projects to improve the environment, and an increased demand to improve mobility of the public utilizing various modes of transportation, we are a busy bunch of folks!
What do you personally feel are the biggest challenges that are on the horizon for the profession?
One of the biggest challenges for our profession is providing quality services in an environment that is being driven by lowering costs and reduced schedules (design, construction, or both). Because of these compressed efforts, young civil engineers in my opinion are struggling to grasp the differences between reality and paper space, especially how the pieces of a project fit together.
Do you have a message about specialty certification that you’d like for professional engineers to be aware of?
To me it was the next professional step: college, master’s, PE, D.GE. In my opinion, the D.GE shows to your clients and peers that beyond your technical skills, you are also passionate about the work you do to obtain this credential.
Was the effort to get the D.GE worth it?
Yes. As I was putting together my application, it hit me that I have been a part of multiple incredible projects that truly required highly specialized skills.
What are some of your personal hobbies and interests?
My family and I love to take day hikes and ride our bikes on the Heritage Rail Trail. We are also thrill seekers and enjoy amusement parks, especially Hershey Park! I love to fish, waterski, and swim. I enjoy reading, scrapbooking, making handmade cards, and all things crafty! My son and I love to bake cookies and sweet treats! I am also an active volunteer in my son’s school.