Interview With Alexandra Der, Mechanical Design Engineer

Using mechanical engineering to provide innovative, sustainable solutions to improve the environment
May 20, 2019 8:00 AM ET
Blog

Alexandra Der is a mechanical design engineer at Tetra Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Boise State University, and she is currently working on completing her master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Seattle University. We talked with Alexandra as part of our #TtInspires campaign celebrating the passion of Tetra Tech employees. Follow #TtInspires on social media for more stories.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Joining Tetra Tech was a step outside of my comfort zone, as it is a big company involved in many disciplines and markets. I always wanted to help people, and Tetra Tech’s work overseas—such as providing water and wastewater services to people in need—intrigued me. Someday in the future, maybe when I retire, I hope to work with an organization like Engineers Without Borders, and I knew I would get the right kind of experience at Tetra Tech. The people I work with are fantastic and are great resources for me.

What are some of the most inspirational projects you’ve worked on at Tetra Tech?

The North Mercer Pump Station upgrade project for King County is inspirational to me. There are so many pieces to it, and so much going on all the time. Every day is different, and I am learning so much. I feel fortunate that I am not limited to work on only one element of the project. I get to be involved with permitting, design, wetland delineation, and water work in sensitive areas. There are people with extensive knowledge and expertise in this field, and I have learned more than I could possibly imagine from them. The work I do on this project touches everything else I do on all the other projects I work on. There are so many groups of people from different firms working on this project, and it is truly a team atmosphere.

What do you do outside of your work that you think makes a difference for today’s environment?

Being in Seattle, it is helpful that I do not have to drive to work, I can take public transportation instead. I am from Vancouver, British Columbia, where city and country are very environmentally conscious. I try to follow that lead here in Seattle by doing my part to recycle, compost, and conserve.