Xyllene (pronounced SUH-leen) Guerra is one our young professionals working as a Highway Design Engineer. Most of the time you can find Xyllene modeling corridors using Civil 3D, maintaining production drawings, and/or preparing cost estimates for design submissions. Her role also involves running AutoTurn software for movements at intersections to ensure that designs will accommodate the design vehicles.
The journey to her current role began in high school where she took electives like Metal Shop and Drafting. There, she was lucky enough to have the same female teacher for both classes who allowed her to design whatever she wanted in the drafting class, then build it later on in the metal shop. She ended up loving the classes so much that she decided to pursue a career that focused on design and construction.
Fortunately, Xyllene had another positive female role model in her life; her mother who is also a civil engineer in the transportation industry. Drawing from both influences, she was inspired to focus on civil engineering.
For her first co-op at Binnie, Xyllene was assigned to learn more about highway design. Although this placement wasn’t her initial choice, she quickly developed a passion for connecting communities through highway infrastructure and design. Part of that passion is participating in the design progress as it expands from conceptual ideas to a complete detailed design. Now a full-time employee, Xyllene is driven by seeing the drawings come to life in our communities.
One of those projects entails improving the Highway 14 Corridor. She explains that the project has many constraints that need to be considered and requires significant stakeholder engagement with impacted property owners and others affected by the project.
Since starting her journey, she has noticed that there are a lot more women in the industry, as well as supportive communities she would advise others to join.
“I was lucky to have female role models throughout my life. Because of this, being a woman in a male-dominated industry has never held me back from pursuing my passion. There are a lot more women in the industry now than there were in the past and there are plenty of communities for women to support each other. I would advise others to join these communities or reach out to others in the industry for advice.”
Part of her success as a young female comes from the support of her family. Her family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2001 in search of more opportunities. Throughout her journey, Xyllene has always felt supported and encouraged by her family.
“I look up to them for their courage and success with restarting their careers in a different country.”
Xyllene is a prime example of what amazing mentors and the right amount of career exploration can do at a young age. Lucky for us, Xyllene had the endless support of family and educators that led her straight to Binnie.