Karla Vincent just about always knew she wanted to be an engineer, even as a student back in Culver Community Jr-Sr High School. Now, she is a scoping engineer for the Indiana Department of Transportation, but it took a lot of one big thing to get there.
“It was determination, and probably a bit of stubbornness,” Vincent said. “I was told by a high school guidance counselor that I shouldn’t pursue engineering, that I probably wouldn’t make it. I took that as a challenge.”
She rose to the challenge by attending Purdue University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She credits her parents with helping shape her resolute attitude.
“I grew up in Pulaski County on a farm, where my dad still farms full-time at 75 years old,” Vincent said. “My mom has always worked to help out on the farm, and retired a few years ago from working full-time as an aide. Their hard work made a huge impact on my life.”
Vincent spent her early career working in the private sector and got her first taste of civil engineering almost 20 years ago when she worked as a consultant co-op before she found her true calling as an engineer.
“I somewhat fell into public service 10 years ago when I began my first job as an Assistant City Engineer,” she said. “Working for the public sector is certainly not for everyone, but I’ve been doing it for over 10 years and I truly feel this is where I’m meant to be.”
She became a scoping engineer for INDOT two years ago, and most of her work revolves around laying the early groundwork for large public works projects. She takes great pride in what her job means to the community.
“We all live here, this is our community,” she said. “Giving back means making it a better place for us, as well as our kids.”
From the outside, public projects can often seem confusing or coated in bureaucracy. Vincent sees demystifying the process as another part of her job.
“I enjoy having the opportunity to try and educate others on why we may do something the way we do it,” she said. “Public education surrounding our infrastructure is important to me and every little bit helps.”
Vincent lives in La Porte with her husband and three young children.
“Our kids are active in just about everything they can be, so I’m a taxi much of the time,” she joked. “A lot of my recent time is spent helping my husband with his campaign for City Council.”
When she has the chance to get out, she enjoys golfing, walking, yoga, and a bit of crafting.
“La Porte is a great place to live and raise a family, and there’s more to do than people tend to think,” she said. “The key is to get out there and do it!”