Cari P. Orsi LEED AP-project engineer for Pare Corp., was recently named 2012 Young Engineer of the Year by the Rhode Island Society of Professional Engineers for her achievements in education, employment and professional and public-service activities. Since joining Pare in 2004, Orsi has received her master’s degree in engineering and construction-project management, become a LEED-accredited professional and served as a board member and the first female president of the Providence Engineering Society.
PBN: In addition to becoming a LEED-accredited professional with the U.S. Green Building Council, you’re also a founding member of Pare’s sustainability committee. What made you take these initiatives?
ORSI: I have always had a love for the outdoors and the natural environment, and as a civil engineer, I get the opportunity to decide how new development projects will impact the environment. Using low-impact designs and strategies is something that most civil engineers were doing long before the green movement came about, however, when it took hold, it was something I believed in and wanted to be part of. I felt obtaining the LEED accreditation was important to further my knowledge not just in sustainable civil-design concepts, but also in how sustainable, site design can relate and have synergies with sustainable-building concepts.
PBN: What’s unique about providing civil/site engineering for schools?
ORSI: One item would be the circulation of vehicles and pedestrians. On a daily basis, there are school buses, cars carrying parents, teachers and students, pedestrians and bicyclists all trying to access the site. It’s always a challenge to try to separate the user groups for each to function safely, allowing drop-off and pick-up times to run smoothly.
PBN: Why is it important to advocate careers in engineering and the sciences to children?
ORSI: It’s important to introduce these careers to students to familiarize them and expand their horizons, so they know these career opportunities are available. Unlike firefighters, teachers and bankers, civil engineers are not easily recognizable, nor is their work always apparent. Yet, the majority of our work serves the public, and we always work closely with local governments and public entities … in fact, much of our hard work is constructed underground and out of sight. The first step to recruiting more talented engineers is to make sure students know that the career actually exists. •