NF graphic for Nick Giglio

Name: Nicholas Giglio

Credentials: EIT, A.M.ASCE

Job title: Transportation construction inspector 3

Employer: Urban Engineers

Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

Current ASCE role: Lehigh Valley Younger Members Group vice president, 2022 Report Card for Pennsylvania's Infrastructure researcher, 2022 Legislative Fly-In representative

College: Penn State Lehigh Valley; Penn State Harrisburg – bachelor’s degree in civil engineering

Nicholas Giglio didn’t always plan on becoming a civil engineer. But even when he didn’t realize it, he’s always been one.

It started with playing with model construction equipment as a kid. Then onto K’NEX and other building toys as a teenager. Soon after, he began researching how to design and build Trusses, while procrastinating on actual homework. Passing by bridges and highways was the highlight of any car ride. The definitive green light – building a highly accurate scale model of a local truss bridge in high school woodshop.

Since then, it’s been go, go, go. Passing the F.E. exam while in college. Receiving his EIT postgraduation. Then straight to where he is now, leading in transportation construction and being honored by ASCE as a 2022 New Face of Civil Engineering.

For Giglio, this isn’t just about being a civil engineer. It’s about embodying a role that propels the profession and society toward success.

“I feel that I am making clear to my peers and higher‐ups that I am in the civil engineering profession for everyone, and not just myself,” said Giglio.

Accepting active leadership roles so early on means he can now help new engineers navigate projects, and ultimately their careers.

“It’s hard to go up to somebody when you’re new, and know what questions are best to ask. But it’s very comforting when somebody can come up to you and tell you everything you need to know. That way you can absorb it and kind of figure out where to go from there. I like to be that person now that I’m on this side of the role.”

Despite how far Giglio has come, his journey is just beginning. He recently spoke with the Civil Engineering Source about his career.

Civil Engineering Source: What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of so far in your career?

Giglio: First would be my extracurriculars and involvement since I’ve gotten into the field. I have taken an active role within ASCE, especially within the Lehigh Valley Section. I’m currently the vice president of the Lehigh Valley Younger Members Group. In addition to that, I’m a researcher for the 2022 Report Card for Pennsylvania's Infrastructure. I’m involved in other similar ASCE activities, such as the 2022 Legislative Fly‐In, which I’ll be attending this spring.

Within the Lehigh Valley Section, we’re putting together a photobook to commemorate the section’s 100th anniversary. I am one of a few photographers taking pictures of engineering landmarks in the area.

Second would be the amount of responsibility I’ve built up for myself in my day‐to‐day work. I’m on PennDOT projects serving as the day‐to‐day construction management. The two main projects that I’ve been on are the Route 100 full‐depth reconstruction project and the Tilghman Street Bridge reconstruction. As time has gone by, especially in the past year or so, I’ve noticed that I’ve been given a lot more responsibility to oversee different operations.

Source: What’s something about you that might surprise most civil engineers?

Giglio: Mainly, how I’ve used my hobby of photography to help me within the profession. I take a lot of pictures nearly every day in the field. I have an unmanned aerial systems license and a drone that I use sometimes to take overhead shots of projects. Those pictures been really useful, especially on roadway jobs where you’re looking down on paint lines and pavement conditions. It offers a great visual perspective you can’t normally get.

Photography, as a whole, has been more relevant to my job than I would have expected it to be, and that’s a fun tool that I’ve been using so far. The pictures are very helpful in case someone needs to refer back to a previous step of construction.

A second thing that surprises some people is my involvement. A lot of it is because I’m still young; I’m new. And some people think I’m fresh out of college, just getting a feel for things. But then when I talk about all the tasks and responsibilities I’ve taken on so far, it tends to surprise them.

Source: What makes you excited to be a civil engineer in the 2020s?

Giglio: Civil engineering is a big industry with no end in sight, so the idea of it being a promising profession with continued growth and innovation is the main thing that gets me excited. Along with that – as more work and projects happen, more funding goes into the industry as a whole.

Another point is how more challenges will come about, and how to address the issue of modernizing aging infrastructure. We’re at the point where a lot of existing infrastructure, especially utilities such as pipelines and power lines, are near the end of their lifetime. The question now is what to do about that and where to go from there? Should things be replaced, or should they be maintained and rehabilitated?

Innovation is very exciting. Certain aspects of the industry, such as material science, seem to constantly come up with new ways to innovate different materials that are used daily in construction. Especially over the past couple of years, material shortages forced engineers and suppliers to innovate different methods and ways of using materials. So, I’ll be curious to see how that all plays a role throughout the 2020s.

Working with people from all different backgrounds is also exciting. Recently, there’s been more diversity throughout the engineering field. I saw that when I was in college, and it’ll be nice to see how that grows over time. One of the biggest parts of engineering is when people of various levels of experience can come together and share their ideas to work towards a final goal. Diversity within the profession means allowing that to happen on a scale bigger than ever before.

And lastly is seeing my own work progress as time goes by. Right now, I’m still on the same two projects that I’ve been on since I graduated from school. I can’t drive past any completed projects just yet and say that’s where I worked. Throughout the 2020s, I’ll have completed projects and have more progress to reflect on.