Amrita Banerjee, P.Eng. began her engineering career in northern India. In May 2018, she joined Binnie’s Highway Design Division as a Senior Project Manager.
Engineering a Career
After graduating from university, Amrita’s first job was selling computer hardware before she realized it just wasn’t for her. Since she was always a hands-on person who was fascinated by engineering, she carried on her career – moving to America and getting her master’s degree. After graduating, Amrita worked for the California Department of Transportation and enjoyed a sunny life there with her husband.
Amrita enjoyed her time in California, but she and her husband were motivated by the post 9/11 climate shift to move to Canada. Strangely enough, her first job was in the very same office space that Binnie now occupies. Since starting at Binnie, Amrita has worked on projects like the Lougheed Highway Lighting Improvements and Kicking Horse Canyon four-laning project. Her projects to date span across BC – making for fun family road trips. She loves to drive places where she can show her kids the projects that she has proudly been a part of, such as the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria.
Throughout her career, Amrita has learned countless lessons. The first one came from her experience working on a remote project in India. At the time, there was a team of 60 engineers, and she was the only female. She was fresh out of school and began working on a site that didn’t even have a women’s washroom. She went all out to garner respect from her colleagues, working ceaselessly through long days. No one expected her to last, but she persevered and made it through her three-month probation. At that point, she demanded they build a women’s washroom. With a little panache, she made herself heard. Amrita’s main takeaway from that experience – which has remained with her ever since – is that
If you know what you want and stick with it, ultimately, people will listen.
Inspiring the Next Generation
When her son was in grade two, Amrita went to his class to talk about her career. Inquisitive seven-year-olds wanted to know what inspired her to become an engineer. Some of them even remembered her from her first visit when they were in kindergarten and were hungry to learn more. She explained to them that she was always someone who liked to play with LEGO, and now that’s what she gets to do every day. Feeding this curiosity gave her joy, especially since her son has shown his flair for engineering.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Of all that she has done, what Amrita finds the most rewarding is getting to see something built and having people use it and respond well to it. She also recognizes how these projects are a team effort – one person cannot do it all. When you build such giant things, like the Montroyal Bridge Replacement in North Vancouver, everyone’s contributions need to be recognized. The way she sees it, everyone involved deserves to be proud.
Off the Clock
There are a few things about Amrita that may come as a surprise. She enjoys reading, sewing, singing, and painting when she has the time, but she is also a thrill-seeker at heart. She wants to go sky diving and bungee jumping to experience the thrill of free-falling.
With her calm demeanor, it makes sense that Amrita’s favourite quote is this Shakespeare classic:
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
When Amrita first started as an engineer during school, she was determined to get out there and see things built. Now, much to her satisfaction, she does.