Educational trifecta: a student gains a global perspective
As the co-owner and vice president at Wang Engineering in Lombard, Illinois, Corina Farez works with clients throughout the Midwest. Her experience, however, spans much further.
Before coming to the United States in 1992, Farez completed her first of three master’s degrees – yes, three – at the University of Bucharest Romania, where she studied geophysical engineering. She went on to receive a second master’s degree from the University of Oran, in Algeria, Africa, and spent 12 years teaching civil engineers and architects at Oran’s University of Science and Technology. The work was rewarding, but Farez wanted more.
“It was only natural that I wanted to have a MS in Civil Engineering from an American University,” Farez said. “To sum up, three continents, three languages, three master degrees in engineering.”
When looking for an American program, Farez knew she needed something flexible yet rigorous. The UW-Platteville Online program met her needs, was backed with accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, and allowed her to focus on geotechnical engineering courses.
Expanding her knowledge through education was key to Farez’s growth with Wang Engineering. She started with the firm in its geotechnical laboratory soon after immigrating to America and steadily worked her way up. The company has progressed alongside her, adding new equipment and new personnel as the firm acquired jobs in Illinois, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. This growth comes in part from expanding the firm’s work to include specialized soil testing, a construction materials lab, and additional field-testing; however, Farez said adding to the staff is what really helped the company excel.
“In the last ten years, the company grew from 10 to 40 employees,” Farez said. “I’m proud to say that almost all my current staff was hired and trained by me and my associates in all these years. These young men and women grew up professionally and personally under my eyes.”
Throughout her time with the firm, Farez has prided herself on leading by example. She pushed Wang Engineering to become an industry leader while taking the time to invest in herself and her employees. Her advice for anyone looking to lead anything from a small project to a whole company is to build a team dynamic of mutual respect.
“A good leader should be present and available all the time and care about his/her employees’ professional advancement and about their family situation and wellbeing,” Farez said. “Seek help and listen to your employees’ opinion, and make decisions after you take in all the facts. Respect your staff, and in return, you will be respected.”
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