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Danielle DeRosa, BEng '10

Civil Engineering | Look for the poles

They hold up lights, signs, wires and flags, but poles, like other ubiquitous features of our infrastructure, are often invisible to us.

Despite that, Danielle DeRosa will tell you that there’s plenty of engineering that goes into designing poles to resist forces like wind and ice loading.

After earning her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering in 2010, DeRosa continued her focus on structural engineering with a master’s degree.

She now brings that knowledge to her role as a structural engineer with StressCrete Group, a company that designs and manufactures prestressed concrete and metal poles, luminaires, and polearms for the North American market.

“We are a made-to-order plant, so we are often designing from scratch and for uses including street lighting, sports lighting and utilities,” she says. “It’s really cool to see the projects I have worked on in real life. And once you notice poles, you realize they are everywhere.”

DeRosa says working in the manufacturing world has given her the opportunity to see jobs happen from beginning to end.

“I’m involved in discussing potential jobs with our sales group, reviewing the quality of our product, looking at ways to improve ordering and manufacturing processes, inspecting poles at job sites and more,” she says. “I need to develop designs that are not only safe but cost-effective and easily manufactured while maintaining Stresscrete’s high standard for quality.”

Even as a child, DeRosa says she was fascinated by construction, so a recent job site visit on the Confederation Bridge connecting PEI to New Brunswick counts as a career highlight.

“I was given a tour inside the box segments of the bridge. It was amazing to see the size of that project and how the bridge was constructed.”

Another career highlight came while working in a previous position at Guelph-based wind engineering firm RWDI, when she helped organize a STEM event for girls.

“Girls of all ages came to learn about RWDI and various STEM careers,” she says. “I led a few presentations and answered their questions, with the hope of encouraging them to follow their passion, even into male-dominated fields.”