On Nov. 15, Patricia D. Galloway, P.E., F.ASCE, PMP, will become the first woman in the 150-year history of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to hold the office of president – a significant achievement considering ASCE long restricted its membership to men.
Galloway's achievement is even more remarkable considering that women today make up less than 10 percent of all practicing civil engineers.
"It seems implausible that it took 150 years for a woman to be elected president of ASCE, considering that women have long been breaking barriers and making astounding contributions to the engineering profession," said Galloway. "Yet, I don't view my election as a milestone, but instead a validation on how far we have come in accepting people for their abilities and skills. A diverse talent pool can only strengthen our profession."
Galloway is chief executive officer and president of the Nielsen-Wurster Group, Inc., an international management consulting firm based in Princeton, N.J., and owner of a New Jersey-based winery, Unionville Winery.
An internationally recognized leader in civil engineering and construction, Galloway provides management consulting, risk management and dispute resolution services on building, infrastructure, power, process and transportation projects around the world. Projects that she has been involved with include Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia, an oil depot in Kuwait, the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong, the City Link Project in Melbourne, Australia, the Olefin Plant in Thailand, a gas recompression plant in Venezuela andthe Toronto Subway Lines.
She is known for her expertise in project controls, risk analyses, and delay and disruption issues. She has testified extensively as an expert witness, as well as serving as an arbitrator in both international and domestic venues.
Galloway has served on several ASCE committees and on many private and nonprofit boards, including the Purdue University Engineering Alumni Board, the International Activities Commission of the American Association of Engineering Societies as chair, and the Society of Women Engineers as president of the New York and Wisconsin sections. Throughout her career, Galloway has received numerous professional honors including the Purdue University Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award and the National Professional Women in Construction Professional Leadership Award.
In 1986, Engineering News Record Magazine named Galloway a "Top Woman in Construction." Galloway earned a bachelor's in civil engineering from Purdue University and a master's in business administration from New York Institute of Technology. "Pat is an amazing role model for all civil engineers," said Patrick J. Natale, P.E., CAE. "She inspires our younger professionals with her accomplishments and her enthusiasm."
When ASCE was founded in 1852, its membership was restricted to men, a policy which eventually led to a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed in 1916 by Nora Stanton Blatch DeForest, the granddaughter of women's rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
A Cornell University engineering graduate, DeForest was admitted to junior membership in ASCE in 1905. In 1915, when she no longer qualified as a junior member, DeForest applied for associate membership. ASCE turned down her request for an associate membership and DeForest filed a lawsuit.
The case was tried in the New York Supreme Court, but the court ruled in favor of the Society, citing its status as a private organization. In 1927, Elsie Eaves became the first woman to be admitted as a full member of ASCE.
"Despite the inroads women have made in all engineering fields, we still have a long way to go to increase the number of practicing women engineers," said Galloway. "With enrollment of women in undergraduate engineering programs nationwide at 20 percent, I know that there are initiatives we must undertake if we are to see that change in our lifetime. There is a place for women in civil engineering, and I hope my election as ASCE president proves this to young women exploring career options."