Member Spotlight: Brittany Downing

The Member Services Committee is excited to promote our amazing volunteers in a new section of the monthly digest. If you know someone we should feature in the “Member Spotlight,” send an email to committee chair Brittany Park. For our first spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Brittany Downing of City of Portland. Take it away, Brittany.
Brittany Downing

Where did you go to school?
I graduated from OSU in 2017 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. While in school, I joined the engineering sorority, Phi Sigma Rho, and I am actively involved on the board of our chapter’s Alumni Association as the Events Chair. I also continue to support the collegiate members as an Alumnae Advisor.

Where are you employed, and what is your role?
I currently work for the City of Portland at the Columbia Blvd Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Condition Assessment Program for the Bureau of Environmental Services. My group uses a three-level approach for assessing the condition of the electrical, mechanical, and structural assets at both wastewater treatment plants (Columbia and Tryon Creek) and 98 pump stations throughout the city. We use this information to help prioritize rehab and replacement projects. I am closely involved with what we call “Level 2 Condition Assessment” and manage the data collected from the non-destructive diagnostic tests (such as vibration monitoring and oil analysis) performed on these assets.

What was your first introduction to PNCWA?
I began working at the plant in June 2018, and that summer, I met a fellow PNCWA member during a site assessment. She introduced me to the Student & Young Professionals Committee, and during a networking social, I learned about InFLOW. In 2019, I was accepted in the inaugural InFLOW class for PNCWA, and I am now a Co-Chair for this committee with Sam Hawkinson. I have also become involved with the Racial & Social Justice Subcommittee, and I am very excited to see what these two committees accomplish this year!

What is something you love about your job?
I really enjoy looking through and manipulating data. It’s like a big puzzle, and when I get the model to work, I get very excited.

Do you have a mentor or someone who is an important influence on you? 
I don’t have an official mentor, but I really look up to my current supervisor, Mia Sabanovic. As another female engineer, I am constantly inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication she brings to her industrious visions.

What’s an example of how 2020/COVID changed what you do?
I rarely see my coworkers in person, and I miss being able to pop over to someone’s cubicle when I have a question. I do get to visit the plant maybe once a month for onsite inspections, but it is now on an as-needed basis.

What’s one of your goals for 2021?
Pass the FE and PE exams.

Do you have any pets?
I have one orange tabby cat named Tigger. I got him for my 15th birthday when he was two months old. He just recently turned 11!

Do you have any off-the-beaten-path recommendations for visitors to Portland?
Kelly Point Park is one of my favorite spots during the summer! The park is bordered by the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and it’s a 15-minute drive from the Columbia Blvd Wastewater Treatment Plant. I usually sit on the Willamette side for the sunsets, and you can watch the BIG boats enter and exit Portland.

What is a hobby or favorite activity?
I really enjoy swimming! I began swimming in high school and became a swim instructor/lifeguard when I was 16. I have continued working at a pool and, before COVID, had been teaching swim lessons at Portland Community College on the weekends.

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