Meet Brooke James, Staff Engineer

Author: Kara Beaudoin, PE Published: January 3, 2022

Brooke James headshot.Where are you from and where do you live now?

I was born in Southern California but have lived in the Portland metro area since I was 5 years old.

What do you do at MFA?

My title as staff engineer means that I collaborate with colleagues to prepare engineering designs and specifications and assist with project planning, cost estimation, permitting and reporting. I also have the privilege of collaborating with our environmental services team on several field projects.

What’s rewarding about your job?

MFA prides itself on beginning with the end in mind. The “end” for me has always meant a cleaner, healthier, and safer environment to live in and the most rewarding part of my job is getting to see our projects achieve this.

Why is what you do important?

The same reason it’s rewarding: tangible changes for the better. The best example I can think of has been our involvement in the 2020 Oregon wildfire cleanup effort, which was truly a privilege to work on.

What’s your favorite restaurant/place to go in your area?

Sizzle Pie. It’s the best pizza in Portland (especially if you have any dietary restrictions).

What skills do you bring to your work?

I think my best qualities are curiosity and a willingness to try and learn new things. I’m constantly asking questions and trying to learn as much as I can about anything I find interesting.

What do you like to do off the clock?

I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, reading, cooking, and traveling. Surprisingly over the past 18-ish months I’ve been able to do decent amount of solo travel (mostly in the Pacific Northwest) and even got the chance to experience Iceland with my sisters. It was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to continue traveling as it is permitted.

Brooke James standing in front of floating ice in Iceland.

Brooke James in Iceland.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from a work colleague?

Think about the bigger picture. How can you tie this one detail or small task into the entire project and beyond?

If you were not a staff engineer, what would you be?

I have no idea! Perhaps a house-flipper, barista, or woodworker. I have a lot of varying interests that I think I’d be content doing.

What’s on your bucket list?

Visit all 50 states, travel to as many different places as I can, buy and renovate a house myself, and reduce my environmental footprint as much as I can, to name a few.

What was your favorite childhood movie/TV show?

Mamma Mia. I think I can recite the entire thing to this day!


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