#Eweek2023 Spotlight | Annette Dearolf

For National Engineers Week 2023, we’re sharing stories from Providence’s engineering talent to learn more about how they chose their profession.

Who (or what) inspired you to become an engineer?

My two favorite classes in high school (besides gym) were math and architecture – I had no idea what an engineer did except that it involved math. Unfortunately, I do not have a single artistic bone in my body, so I stuck with the math route and was lucky enough to find architectural engineering.

Who is an engineer you look up to and/or admire?

All my co-workers at Providence – they all have special talents and their own expertise and they are willing to share their knowledge to make us all successful.

What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?

My strength is definitely residential design which I have been doing almost exclusively for the last 23 years (with some light commercial and adaptive reuse mixed in). After leaving my full time job after having my first child, I started with a couple of residential architects who were having trouble finding an engineer that would take on residential projects and get to them in a timely manner. This was ideal as I could work on these types of projects while my kids napped or after they went to bed (they were prolific nappers and went to bed early!). Every project is different, so it keeps it interesting!

What is one of your favorite projects and why?

I’ve worked on a lot of beautiful houses over the years. My favorites are probably the ones I’ve gotten to see when they are finished, they are even more amazing than I imagined from the 2D images on the plans. There was a neo-classical mansion that was being completely restored with an new kitchen addition and also involved moving the guest house/pool house to the other side of the property. It involved some forensic engineering to find out why the grand stair case was sagging, and we found some areas that had hidden fire damage, along with the challenges of an addition to a home from the 1800’s. I also got to help design and do the structure for my parent’s house at the beach. It needed to be rebuilt after the original house was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. Luckily I get to enjoy that one as much as I want! There have been other great projects and clients along the way – the great thing with residential work is that it is always something different and new.