Employee Spotlight – Jonnelyn Espartero, Project Engineer

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Jun 21, 2021

Jonnelyn Espartero, a Project Engineer at Kier + Wright, always knew she wanted to pursue a career in a technical field—and she always knew she wanted to design. At age 16, Jonnelyn began college in the Philippines. After completing three semesters toward an electrical engineering degree, she migrated to California with her family.

“When we first arrived, we were living in Tracy,” she explained. “I expected to see the Golden Gate bridge! I was surprised to see so much open space.”

After arriving in the US, Jonnelyn applied to San Jose State, this time, declaring a major in civil engineering. She thought she would end up pursuing a career in structures.

“They don’t teach you about land development in school,” she said. “I first learned about grading design during my internship with the City of Campbell.”

After passing her EIT exam, Jonnelyn came to work at K+W in Santa Clara. When she interviewed for the position, she realized that land development was an integral part of the design and construction process.

“I learned so much during the first couple of years of my career,” she said. “I became an efficient designer and learned how to work with a team to deliver a construction project.”

Jonnelyn has never had an issue being herself and has never felt self-conscious about being a woman working in an industry traditionally perceived as being male-dominated.

“When I was in college, I definitely realized that I had more male classmates than female classmates,” she said, however, “I never felt like I was treated any differently.”

“I don’t feel like my gender influences how people see me in professional settings either,” she said. “I can go to a construction site, identify myself as a civil engineer and I am able to get the information that I need.”

Recently Jonnelyn relocated to the K+W Rancho Cordova office, still glad to be a part of a team where she can be herself and focus on the work she enjoys.

“I love design work and am grateful to be a part of a place where I have grown as a designer,” she said. “I have really enjoyed seeing my designs come to life.”