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FHWA Works: Employee Spotlight - Sheila Rimal Duwadi, P.E.

Photo of Sheila Rimal Duwadi, P.E.

Full Name: Sheila Rimal Duwadi, P.E.
Title: Senior Research Engineer
Division/Department: Office of Research, Technology, and Development
Location (City/State): McLean, VA

  1. What is your current position and how long have you been in this role?
    My current position is Senior Research Engineer since 2015. Prior to this I was a Team Leader for the Hazard Mitigation Team for 9 years.

  2. What is your typical workday like?
    First thing in the morning after getting coffee, I browse through technical journals and magazines to keep up with the latest. I have a running list of all things needing my attention, and each morning I make a short list of those I want to address that day. This seems to work most days, unless an urgent request comes in. I handle a number of programs which include bridge security and historic covered bridge preservation R&D. Additionally, I represent the Department on a number of White House committees; and FHWA on AASHTO bridge technical committees. I also assist the Department and FHWA during emergencies as a member Emergency Response Team. So staying on top of all of this keeps me occupied. On a typical day, I try to take a break and walk for at least 20 minutes which helps refresh my mind.

  3. What has been your biggest accomplishment over the last year?
    The biggest accomplishments last year were two workshops I took part in organizing. First one was the U.S.-Japan Workshop on Bridge Engineering—which led to exchange of information between the United States and Japan in priority areas important to both countries. This was continuation of exchanges started in 1984. The second was the Bridge Security Roundtable where we brought together owners of major bridges to discuss priority areas and gaps in knowledge that still needed addressing so that safety and security of these iconic structures are maintained.

  4. Prior to working at FHWA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you've ever had?
    It is hard to remember what I did prior to FHWA, as I have been working 34 years for FHWA. I’ve had summer jobs while in high school, but nothing stands out.

  5. What are your hobbies in your spare time?
    There was not much spare time for a long time when my kids were young, but now that they are on their own, I have much more. I enjoy working in the yard gardening. I’ve also always enjoyed sewing, drawing, and painting, and am getting back to doing these.

  6. What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned in your career to get you where you are today?
    I am a very detail-oriented person, and I think that has helped. I would say being thorough and doing the best you can in whatever is given to you or asked of you is a good approach. Also, I’ve learned that treating everyone fairly and valuing their judgement is extremely important, and I try to practice this always.

  7. Who do you admire in the transportation field and why?
    I admire people who not only are technically capable, but can make others feel at ease, and are welcoming of all. There are several people I’ve met over my career fitting this description.

  8. Complete this sentence: "People would be surprised if they knew..."
    I hardly went to the gym until my youngest went to college, but in watching people swim laps, I felt I could do this. So one day I just went in the pool and started swimming laps, not very well at first. People would be surprised if they knew I swim 30 laps 2 to 3 times a week now.

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Page last modified on June 12, 2019
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