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Q&A: Talking with Jacobs’ Aletha Lee

Jacobs’ Director of Operations, Environmental Solutions - Asia, Philippines Aletha Lee talks career, her STEAM heroes and her advice for meaningful career growth for young professionals.

Environmental stewardship and climate change are the defining issues of our time.

No longer a secondary concern to human progress, environmental impacts now guide social and economic decisions around all horizontal and vertical infrastructure development.

Jacobs partners with government agencies, municipalities, private sector companies and leading environmental organizations to safely clean-up legacy liabilities for redevelopment, and deliver proven industry expertise on new infrastructure, sustainability and environmental health and safety initiatives around the globe.

In honor of International Women in Engineering Day, we’re connecting virtually with our team of engineering heroes around the world to showcase their careers and how each of them help Jacobs to live up to our promise of Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow.

For this feature, we talked with Jacobs’ Director of Operations, Environmental Solutions - Asia, Philippines Aletha Lee about career, the STEAM heroes who inspire her and her advice for meaningful career growth for young professionals.

Tell us a bit about what you’re working on these days.

I’m working with our Environmental Solutions team to grow our business and brand in Asia.

What’s your favorite part of your role?

I get to work with the most enthusiastic and energetic people under a shared purpose, Be the Best in the World by being the Best for the World.

We’re publishing this article in honor of International Women in Engineering Day and this year’s theme is Engineering Heroes. Who are some of the heroes who inspired you to pursue a career in STEAM?

My mother had a very good career working for a local government bank. When I was young(er), we would go around cooperatives that she has helped put up all over the Philippines. I would hear her talk about budgeting, bookkeeping, balance sheets and income statements. Thus, I was not afraid of “numbers” even at a young age.

In high school, we had extra classes on Ecology, it was being taught by a lady who was very passionate about the environment. There was no environmental engineering course in the country after my secondary education and closest was chemical engineering. The plan was for me to shift once I found other courses to be more interesting, but I love it so much to this day.

When you think of engineers or engineering as a hero, what does that mean to you?

Engineers are makers. Whether its own vision or someone else’s, we can build the most mundane and the most complex structures, buildings and technologies into reality.

If you aren’t working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

I’d probably be chatting with colleagues (not about work), friends and family. I’d be sharing a meal, watching a movie or even travelling with them.

Most interesting career moment?

I left a good corporate career for a start-up renewable energy project development company. Success did not come as quickly as we hoped for. Seeing a lot of interest in the waste to energy and renewable projects now, I realized we were ahead of our time.

What would you rate a 10 out of 10?

If work is done by a team and people are happy with the results; and the energy and effort meet someone else’s need (client), it’s a 10!

Most proud career moment?

There have been a lot and I can’t pick just one. My proud career moments are when I get to be the cheerer on the sidelines. I am doing cartwheels when someone we encouraged to go out of their comfort zones and try something new gets recognized for the work they have put in.

What advice would you give to young professionals?

In your career journey, value the people and relationships you build. Do not chase after work only because it will give you the best compensation. Chase after work where you’ll be able to contribute more, the rewards will follow. You will also be able to sleep better this way.

People would be surprised to know that I….

Am ambidextrous and still get confused about left and right to this day.

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Jacobs family?

I get to work with the most enthusiastic and energetic people AND we are being led by the smartest and most genuine people. I could not ask for more.

Join the #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable.

We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision. Let’s see the impact we can create, together.

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