Gina Giacone of Santa Rosa’s Summit Engineering wins Women in Business award

Gina Giacone, associate, Summit Engineering Inc., Santa Rosa

,

After working at the California Department of Transportation and United Indian Health Service, Gina Giacone joined Summit Engineering 12 years ago as a staff engineer.

“I’ve moved up the ranks from staff engineer, to project engineer, to project manager, to Associate, to Division Manager, getting married and starting a family somewhere along the way…,” she said.

Giacone is now the leader of a small — “but growing!” — team of four direct reports. Her day includes lots of interaction with staff (meetings, dialogs, problem solving), discussions with clients and government agencies. Constant communication whether it be in the form of email, telephone, or in person is something that is all a part of a day’s work.

“Summit is a fantastic company to work for and is supportive of learning, trying new things, with a ‘family’ culture,” she said. “Summit also is proud to proactively hire and promote female employees in the workplace!”

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR COMPANY

Professional background: California Department of Transportation, United Indian Health Service and Summit Engineering. My specialty is water and wastewater systems.

Education: B.S., environmental resources engineering, Humboldt State University.

Staff: Our division is relatively small — but growing. I have four directly reporting to me.

I’ve been at Summit for over 12 years, starting out as a staff engineer. I’ve moved up the ranks from staff engineer, to project engineer, to project manager, to associate, to division manager, getting married and starting a family somewhere along the way.

Summit is a fantastic company to work for and is supportive of learning, trying new things, with a ‘family’ culture. Summit also is proud to proactively hire and promote female employees in the workplace!

MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO

In the last year I have begun the transition from Project Manager to Associate and Division Manager in Water / Waste Water. This is a big change in both skillset and scope for me and I feel that the opportunity for personal / professional growth is tremendous. I also had a second child (18 months ago) that has changed the whole family dynamic and has created some interesting situations/opportunities at home as well!

WHAT IS THE ACHIEVEMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?

My successful (I hope) balance of my professional life with my personal life as a wife and mother of two children under the age of 5.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE TODAY?

Trying to see the future of Water resources in California and the Pacific Northwest.

WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU: Reliable, accurate, “problem solver,” dependable, resource, fun.

AS A SUCCESSFUL FEMALE PROFESSIONAL, WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST OBSTACLES YOU FACED AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

Proving myself as a capable person in my industry which is largely comprised of men. I have continuously worked on and have been dedicated to developing relationships to build trust with others.

HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR PROFESSION WILL CHANGE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

The awesome thing about my profession is that it is in a constant state of flux — keeps it interesting. There will continue to be advances in technology along with the public realization that our resources are limited. My profession allows people to implement processes to make the best uses of our resources.

WHO WAS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT MENTOR?

My mom. She always supported me in anything I wanted to pursue, without question. She was a double major, teaching at the high school she attended within a few years of graduating high school (teaching others she had gone to school with). She was a humble person and selfless; always putting others before herself.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A YOUNG WOMAN ENTERING YOUR PROFESSION OR THE WORK WORLD TODAY?

Stick with it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Assert yourself, because you are smart enough.

MOST ADMIRED BUSINESSPERSON OUTSIDE YOUR ORGANIZATION: This is a tough question to answer, I find that I am more admiring of traits than any one individual. I am very impressed by business people who are able to successfully balance doing good (for society) and doing well (bottom line). I really just want to work with and surround myself with honest kind people, who do what they say they are going to do, in a drama free way!

TYPICAL DAY AT THE OFFICE: Lots of interaction with staff (meetings, dialogs, problem solving), discussions with Clients and government agencies. Constant communication whether it be in the form of email, telephone, or in person.

BEST PLACE TO WORK OUTSIDE OF YOUR OFFICE: In my garden.

CURRENT READING: The Nightingale.

MOST WANT TO MEET: Tough question to answer…I admire and look up to many people. I would like to meet my grandmother’s grandmother because I’d like to have perspective and context to understand where my people came from. Because I think being able to understand this is crucial to understand where I’m going.

SOCIAL MEDIA YOU MOST USE: Facebook

STRESS-RELIEVERS: Exercise – without listening to music. It’s the best form of stress release.

FAVORITE HOBBIES: Quilting

ANYTHING TO ADD?

I find myself a bit overwhelmed to be receiving this acknowledgement at this time as we are on the verge of electing our first female president. Women are a strong vibrant part of this workforce and bit by bit we are coming into our own.

Thank you very much for this opportunity to represent a positive role of “Women in Business.” I am humbled by your attention.