Abbie Browen, PE, is a Project Engineer in the AE2S Maple Grove, Minnesota office. She can trace her engineering roots all the way back to her childhood interest in playing with Legos and K’nex, as well as building forts. However, engineering didn’t immediately occur to her when she was considering her future career options.
“When I started thinking about my career path during high school, I initially thought I wanted to become a pharmacist. But after working as a pharmacy technician for a few years in my hometown of Hudson, Wisconsin, I decided it wasn’t right for me. When it actually came time to decide which university I would attend, I narrowed it down to the architecture program at North Dakota State University and the chemical engineering program at the University of North Dakota. I chose UND,” she says.
After one semester as a chemical engineering major, Abbie switched to civil engineering. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree and then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on Water Resources from UND. She is the first person from either side of her family to graduate from college, and thus far is the only member of the family to obtain a Master’s degree. When it came time to find an internship, Abbie set her sights on AE2S.
“Throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies I became focused on environmental and water resources related courses. I began hearing about AE2S during graduate school as many of my peers were becoming interns and doing their graduate research through AE2S. Luckily, my (now) husband, Taylor, knew AE2S Project Engineer Meredith Quinn through his work. That led to an interview with the Water Resources group. I remember at one point during my interview saying ‘I just love water’ and I’m convinced that helped me get the internship,” Abbie says.
Since her start as an intern and then being hired full-time as an Engineer in Training, Abbie recently passed her Professional Engineer exam, which in part led to her promotion to Project Engineer. She is primarily involved with drinking water and water resources projects and has experience with pilot studies, onsite water sampling/testing, water treatment process design and construction phases, stormwater management design, and stormwater management master planning.
“My favorite aspect of working at AE2S is getting to focus on water in all of my projects and getting the chance to interact with clients and public works staff who spend every day committed to supplying safe, quality drinking water to their customers. Working with clients who are truly striving to optimize and better their water quality really solidifies for me that I’m in the right industry,” she explains.
Although it’s tough to pick a favorite project, Abbie says she really enjoys operating and conducting pilot studies. To date, she has completed pilot studies for St. Cloud and Edina, Minnesota, as well as numerous smaller water quality testing projects for other municipalities in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. “Piloting provides a hands-on experience that allows you to actually see the impacts that the treatment technology has on water quality. It’s one thing to sit behind your computer using spreadsheets to calculate anticipated water quality, but to physically see the changes you’re making is a whole new experience.”
Abbie recently celebrated her second wedding anniversary with Taylor, whom she met during their sophomore year at UND. The couple welcomed their first baby, Ellie Marie, in May this year. They also have a nearly two year old dog named Gryffin.
Outside of work and family time, Abbie’s hobbies include running and crafting. “I recently received a Cricut as a birthday gift and I’m seriously considering starting my own Etsy site making personalized gifts and home decor,” she says. She also wants to try gardening next year. If you look at her success rate with everything else, there’s no doubt she’ll prove she has a green thumb in 2019.