Madison Veggian, P.E., Associate Principal/Technical Manager, Woodard & Curran
For Madison Veggian, P.E., working in the trenchless industry offers her a unique opportunity to combine the green and minimal disruptiveness of trenchless with her personal, green lifestyle standards to leave a similar footprint in her daily life.
As a civil and environmental engineering undergraduate student at San Jose State University, Madison interned with the South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR) program for the City of San Jose, California, and later joined Kennedy/Jenks in 2011, working as a construction manager for a package of recycled water retrofit projects. While there, a project introduced her to trenchless technology that used a pilot-tube guided system. In 2013, she joined RMC Water and Environment, which became Woodard & Curran in 2016 via acquisition.
“Woodard & Curran’s mission revolves around protecting water resources and the environment. It’s a good fit for me because I strive to make decisions that reduce my impact on our planet, such as being vegan, opting for reusable materials and driving less,” Madison says. “Extending my own standards into my work, I see that opting for trenchless solutions often reduces waste, allows us to use existing assets and significantly reduces the impact on the environment, including habitats and wildlife.”
To date, Madison has completed condition assessment on approximately 54,000 ft of pipe and designed more than 61,000 ft of pipe, including 37,000 ft using trenchless rehabilitation, replacement and new installation methods.
“My work since has focused almost exclusively on conveyance system planning, condition assessment and design, leveraging trenchless elements for most projects,” Madison says. “I prefer to design large diameter pipes but have no specific preference for rehab vs. new installation — I find elements of each to be interesting and challenging.”
She describes the people in the trenchless industry to be “innovated, driven and eager to teach and mentor young professionals” and the technology and projects cutting edge and make a difference in the world we live. “The evolving technology is fascinating and I am grateful to industry leaders who are creating new solutions that we can implement in our design work,” she notes.
Madison appreciates the work of those who came before her, creating the trenchless industry and laying the groundwork for where it stands today — and is proud to be part of today’s generation of trenchless technologists. “Many projects require us to take a historical look back at decisions engineers made 50 years or more ago. As we plan and design solutions that leverage trenchless technology, I must pause and wonder what engineers 50 or more years from now will think about the decisions we make,” she says.
Working and learning alongside industry veterans has been key to Madison’s success. She specifically points to colleague Jennifer Glynn, P.E., who has served as a tremendous mentor to her — in an industry dominated by males. “Learning in an academic environment is one thing, but gaining experience from Jen and other colleagues on the job is unmatched,” Madison says. “Their transfer of knowledge and experience has helped me in working with clients and explaining trenchless approaches to project work. They have helped me to better manage projects, anticipate unforeseen circumstances, deliver work on budget and schedule and collaborate with other experts to ensure we deliver well-rounded designs.”
She further credits Glynn for helping to navigate her entry into being a working mom and maintaining that work and home balance.
Madison also appreciates the benefits of being in the trenchless niche of the construction industry as it affords a more intimate professional community. “The trenchless industry is still a small, niche field. I have always been drawn to smaller teams, working within tight-knit groups,” she explains. “So, being a member of the trenchless industry right now really suits my work style. Despite the size of the industry, it is well established.”
And the industry is in such a great position, particularly for condition assessment technology and rehab solutions, Madison says. “Folks in this industry have their pulse on current problems and are developing ultramodern solutions that address everything from small footprint construction to technology designed for outside the pipeline industry,” she says. “It seems as though more people are starting to consider how trenchless technology can help in many applications, such as improving the way we examine existing large diameter trunk sewers.”