Juliana Santos Beauchamp’s love for construction began when she joined the 2017 ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition team at Old Dominion University. “That was the very first time I laid hands on a power tool,” she said. “I had so much fun building the concrete canoe that I realized I wanted to have a hands-on career in construction.”

Today, Beauchamp, a senior project engineer for Dragados USA’s marine department, manages a crew of four other engineers at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel expansion project.

It's an ideal match for Beauchamp, who hails from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “Growing up, I was always very active in sports. I loved being part of a sports team, being outside, and being around people,” she said. “I have a big family, I have always been very close to my aunts and uncles, and the 30-plus cousins I have.”

After high school, ODU offered her a full swimming scholarship. It was the university’s location, however, that cemented the deal. “I realized ODU is strategically located in a hub area with the military and ports driving the market in the area,” she said. “I knew during the summer, being an international student-athlete, that I would be limited to work and internship opportunities due to my immigration visa restrictions. Living in an economically developed area was key for getting my foot in the door in my early professional years.” 

At ODU, she immersed herself in school and classes. In addition to swimming, Beauchamp was active in Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Society, Tau Beta Pi and the ASCE Concrete Canoe Competition.

She graduated in 2017 with her bachelor’s in civil and environmental engineering and a minor in engineering management.

Beauchamp worked at several construction firms, picking up valuable skills and titles along the way. “I have worked as an estimator, claims legal support engineer, field engineer, and most recently superintendent,” she said.

Beauchamp uses those skills every day.

She oversees assignments that utilize heavy equipment like underwater hydraulic jack strut assembly, underwater hydraulic jack strut installation, underwater excavation and driving of steel pipe pile.

She also manages the department's budget and schedule, tracking expenses and meeting deadlines. Beauchamp’s people skills are also utilized. As liaison for her department, she provides updates to leadership and manages relationships with her team, design engineers, large suppliers and subcontractors.

Beauchamp enjoys all aspects of her job. “I love having a dynamic day in which one minute I’m meeting with lawyers and on the other I’m pouring concrete,” she said. “But above all, I have the opportunity to interact with people with all sorts of backgrounds, from laborers to project executives and company directors, from fastening suppliers to the owner.”

As a woman in a male-dominated industry – just over 9% of construction engineers are female – she faces another layer of challenges. But Beauchamp is optimistic about the workplace. “I believe there are still unconscious biases in the industry, so once female success in a majority-male dominated environment occurs, it is very much highlighted and applauded,” she said. “I believe companies have now realized that diversity in the workplace is a good thing, regardless of how it is presented (gender, age, ethnicity, etc.).”

Outside of work, Beauchamp continues her active lifestyle. “I like to be outdoors and exercise, so I love a good hike, outdoor running, walking by the beach, traveling, swimming at Lake Gaston,” she said. “Golf has also become a favorite sport lately. I like to cook and have people over at home for a game night.”

The use of power tools still plays a big part in her life. “Renovating our homes and turning them from being outdated is also something my husband and I like to do on the weekends,” she said.

Beauchamp sees a great future in Hampton Roads. “I love Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach and I would love to see our community thrive,” she said. “I plan on continuing to support the economic development of our region.”