Many young professionals are more concerned with establishing their careers than leaving a legacy. Bea Fischer (B.S., ’22) and Izzy Smith (B.A., ’22) buck that trend. And they’re among several other like-minded Rams at their company.
Both work for Lamp Rynearson, a female-led engineering firm established in 1959 with 166 employees based in Omaha, Kansas City, and Fort Collins. Almost half of the Fort Collins office’s staff are Colorado State University alumni and the company’s leadership constantly seeks ways to nurture its relationship with the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering and its students.
The People You Meet Along the Way
For Fischer, the relationship began during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. CSU went virtual after spring break at the end of her second year in the civil engineering program. She and her peers found ways to cope, and eventually succeed, by leaning on each other. “Through our time online, we discovered new study tactics, new ways to teach each other, and had a sound support system whenever we felt like we needed to confide in someone,” she says. “Sometimes we pushed the meetings longer because one of us needed some time to process everything occurring around us and gain support though their peers. It made us inseparable, and I found great people in the engineering field I can trust and call true friends.”
By 2021, Fischer was starting to think about future internships and job opportunities. She attended a virtual career fair that spring, where she met members of the Lamp Rynearson communications team, including Marketing Director Candice Hartley and Corporate Communications Lead Teddianne Vaught. “Candice and Teddianne absolutely sold me on what Lamp Rynearson stood for,” she says, citing their commitment to leaving a legacy of enduring improvements to the communities they serve. She was offered an internship that summer and joined the company full time as a project engineer after graduation.
Fischer works in land development, a process that involves changing a landscape to suit future industrial, residential, or commercial uses in accordance with strict codes and regulations. Among her responsibilities are making sure proposed utilities work and are designed properly, aligning site design with client needs, and designing drainage and grading systems to prevent flooding.
There’s satisfaction in creating a plan that guides the development of something that will endure, she asserts, but there’s a lot more to it than that. “I don’t see our plans as the final product,” she says. “Rather, I like seeing how the project will benefit the people or habitat… I like reminding myself that leaving a legacy doesn’t necessarily mean the projects you design and create, but rather who are you meeting along the way and how are you representing yourself and the company.”
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
Like Fischer, Izzy Smith wanted to work for a company with a mission and values that align with her own. She earned a Journalism and Media Communications degree with a science communication focus last May. And her double-minors in global environmental sustainability (GES) and legal studies made her a perfect fit to join Lamp Rynearson’s marketing group.
“At my first interview with Lamp Rynearson, Candice Hartley showed me a request for proposal they were working on [that] was similar to one I designed for my senior capstone project in global environmental sustainability,” Smith remembers. “Recognizing how my science communications skills could grow with this company and connected to their values of leaving a legacy made it the perfect place to start my professional career.”
Smith’s academic experience prepared her well for the challenges she took on at Lamp Rynearson. “My course load was diverse, allowing me to explore various passions simultaneously,” she says. “My GES minor taught me the critical thinking it takes to solve science and engineering problems through a global, sustainable lens. The legal studies minor helps me understand the legalities behind a business and, more importantly, the natural resource policies we must keep in mind.”
Smith also completed a year-and-a-half science communications internship through CSU’s Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. “They do fantastic research in the GDPE, and it was my job to communicate that and capture it through photos, videos, and write-ups of their events. The position solidified my passion for communicating technical fields of work that directly impact how the world functions.” She also worked as the marketing manager for Off-Campus Life, an experience she credits with demonstrating that “you can bring your whole self to your workplace and that you can connect with coworkers and supervisors not just as peers but as human beings.”
At Lamp Rynearson, Smith wears just as many hats as she did in college. “We do a lot of proposal work, creating technically and visually sound content that communicates our firm’s ability to deliver a client’s needs.” She also serves on the social media team and partners with Vaught on diversity, equity, and inclusivity initiatives, including the “Legacy Listening” podcast featuring community leaders and change makers. And she’s training to get a drone license to capture aerial content to augment the company’s survey team’s work.
Smith believes applying a legacy “lens” to each project makes the world a better place by creating “safe, equitable spaces to live, work, and enjoy.” It’s a mindset embedded in the Lamp Rynearson’s design guide and one that’s familiar to – and fostered by – every other Ram in the firm’s Fort Collins office.