We recently spoke with Jackie Dylla to learn more about her new role as Vice President and Principal Scientist leader in the environmental group. We asked her about her background, her approach to problem-solving, and advice to those just starting their career.
What is your current role at Braun Intertec?
I am a Vice President and Principal Scientist leader in the Upper Midwest environmental group in charge of growing and delivering on transportation projects. Currently, I supervise a staff of ten employee-owners who almost exclusively work on transportation and other corridor-type projects. I also serve as a leader/technical for environmental compliance related to design build projects.
What is your professional background?
I received my Bachelor of Science in environmental science from the University of Minnesota. I have been providing environmental consulting for over 20 years now.
What interested you about your profession?
When I first started, I enjoyed being outside and feeling like I was making a difference for the environment. I found a job where I was able to do both. As my career progressed and I became involved with high-profile projects, including the I-35W Bridge collapse and the Green Line Light Rail project, I realized the process of building and working with a project team on creative ways to address environmental issues and keep projects on track (no pun intended), is something I really enjoy.
What is your favorite aspect of your role or the most rewarding part of what you do at Braun Intertec?
To this day, whenever we cross the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge my kids say, “Look! It’s Mom’s bridge!” In fact, our project team has worked on almost every major roadway, bridge, or transitway in the Twin Cities metro and many more in greater Minnesota. It’s satisfying to have that type of impact. I also enjoy being part of a team and providing unparalleled service to our clients on large, long-term projects. It’s rewarding when you finish one project and start on another and hear people say, “Well, Braun Intertec is here and they’ve done this before, so follow their lead.”
What is your favorite thing about working at Braun Intertec? What do you feel makes it unique?
My absolute favorite thing about working at Braun Intertec is the people I work with. Our employee-owners are hard-working, fun-loving, and family oriented which strikes a balance to the rigors of working in the consulting field. I also greatly appreciate that our leadership team supports and encourages employee-ownership thinking as well as a diverse workforce through our Ownership at Work and Empower Women groups, both of which I have had the fortunate opportunity to lead/develop.
What technical specialty/service(s) do we offer that you feel differentiates Braun Intertec from other firms?
I think our geotechnical engineers and construction materials project managers are, hands down, the best in the transportation business. Their technical expertise is relied on by the various Departments of Transportation. We often assist with developing statewide construction specifications or methods which are often reproduced on other construction projects.
How do our different technical specialties interact with one another?
Because our specialties have such great relationships with one another and through our employee-ownership drive, collaboration amongst the technical specialties is much like that of a sports team. We are all driven to a common goal, know what our individual roles are, and want to enjoy our work.
What is your approach to client problem-solving?
Sometimes your client just wants to be heard and I think a majority of problem-solving is being a good listener. To be honest, I like to talk. In the past, have been quick to jump in with solutions right away. Being a good listener, however, is something that I have been working on throughout my career. I have found that letting your client talk things through while providing accurate and select advice at key moments, lets your client feel part of the project and builds trust. Also, allowing a client to talk freely helps develop a personal relationship which is essential on long-term projects. In fact, I consider many of my clients close friends.
What traits do you look for in your team members?
When you work in the consulting and construction industry, you look for people willing to roll up their sleeves and get things done. Oftentimes, our work is the one thing needed to keep a project moving on schedule. It’s essential my team members understand the importance of our roles, prioritize responsiveness and do things right the first time.
What should new Braun Intertec employees know about working here? Do you have a piece of advice for someone entering your profession?
My advice isn’t particularly directed to someone new, but is geared toward women entering the architecture, engineering, and construction field. Until the face of this profession changes dramatically, there will be a lot of times that, as a woman, you will second guess yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I have reflected on my day and thought, “if I only spoke up” or “if I only didn’t sound so harsh” or “if I only could talk about hunting”. I know now that as a woman, I bring a unique perspective and dynamic to this profession. I’ve stopped working on how to “fit in” but am rather working on how to change the industry so others feel accepted as they are.
What are some of your hobbies or interests you like to do outside of work?
My husband, kids and I love spending time with each other and we are simultaneously homebodies and world travelers. We recently took a backpacking trip across Europe for 17 days and are already planning our next adventure. When not traveling, I like to run, play golf, swim/float in our pool (for the short time we can in Minnesota), do home improvement projects, and relax on the couch with our two dogs and two cats.