Susan Dondero-Dores, PE was once the only woman engineer working in Urban's Highway Department. Undeterred, she quickly rose through the ranks. Susan's husband, Gus, who worked in Urban's Airport Department recalls, "Susan's desire to succeed was incredible. She took every opportunity to improve herself, often going to meetings with department leaders just to learn from them." Yet, just as her career was about to really take off, she decided to make a career change - becoming a full-time mom. Susan thought that her children, two and four years old at the time, needed her full attention. "It was a difficult decision," she says, "those years that Gus and I spent trying to juggle work and family were years well spent, but that was time we will never get back with our children."
The next 10 years would fly by quickly as she became involved with her childrens' school activities. She became a certified substitute teacher, took care of her kids' friends, and used her engineering background to transform the PTA. She would see her former colleagues at Urban's holiday parties and occasionally, she would be asked to help on a project. "I never felt that Urban was very far away, but I wondered how far I would have made it if I had stayed." Then one day, Susan took the road less traveled. An opportunity arose, and Susan picked up the phone and asked to return to Urban. "I was treated as if I had never left."
Today, Susan continues to be a dynamic leader of the firm. She is a mentor to the many women in the Highway Department and a go-to person with a design question. As a project manager, she works with some of the same people she did before she left - a few of which have surpassed her on the corporate ladder, but that doesn't bother her. "Urban allowed me the flexibility to achieve both - a successful, well-balanced career, and being the parent I always wanted to be."