Even with the world moving a bit slower around us the past nearly two years, DJS has continued to do our best to ensure that we did not allow ourselves to get caught standing still. After all, my father (in his role as my hockey coach) preached one principal above all else: keep your feet moving! While there may have been an alliterative word thrown in there before feet – this is the lesson which has always had the greatest effect on myself, and everyone who’s ever played for him or worked with him. Thus, DJS strives to locate and cultivate hungry, hard-working engineers who know how to hustle (see, I can be alterative too). Importantly, anyone invited to join our team needed to fit another of dad’s essential criteria– they needed to be a regular guy. Fortunately, we did not find any regular guys – we found two, “regular gals.” It is my pleasure to introduce our two newest engineers at DJS, Lan Tomasi, BSME and Bailey Hentz, BSAE. While they are both regular in the sense that they can communicate easily with anyone – they are far from regular in their intelligence, talent, and ambition. I have enjoyed getting to know them and I know you will too!
Let’s start with the basics, Full Name (so it makes sense when, in true DJS style, we use your initials below), Age, College, and Hometown?
Bailey: Bailey (Anne) Hentz. I’m 24 years old and attended Penn State University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. I grew up in Dillsburg, a tiny farming town in central Pennsylvania. The name of the town has nothing to do with Dill Pickles, but that doesn’t stop us “Dillsburgians” from dropping a giant plastic pickle every New Year’s Eve.
Lan: My name is Lan Tomasi and I’m 25 years old. I went to the University of Delaware and am originally from Wilmington, Delaware (Dela-where?)
What was you first job and where was the last place you worked before joining the DJS team?
BAH: My first job was at a movie theater. I worked in the concession stand, ticket booth, and unfortunately for me, the theater cleaning crew. Before joining the DJS family, I was a civil engineering intern at the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
LTT: My first job was as a lifeguard/diving coach. The last place that I worked was at Yards Brewing Company (cheers!).
When did you first become interested in collision reconstruction? Did you even know it was “a thing” before coming to DJS?
BAH: Before coming to DJS, I was aware that some motor vehicle crashes involved an investigation, but I had no idea that there was an entire forensic engineering discipline dedicated to collision reconstruction. I became interested in collision reconstruction as soon as I found out that it was indeed “a thing.” It was exciting to learn that my engineering background could be applied to investigations and was not limited to research and design.
LTT: I first became interested in collision reconstruction when one of my friends told me about the field a year or two after college. My friend worked in the industry and expressed that he ‘didn’t realize that you could actually enjoy your job.’ After working at my first engineering firm, I knew I wanted to change directions and get my foot in the door of this niche industry.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of working at DJS – other than working with me (as an answer to either of those…)?
BAH: My favorite part of working at DJS, aside from the wonderful people I work with and learn from (sorry, not just you Justin), is the variety. The circumstances of different incidents and the analyses required are always unique which makes every day interesting. I find the world of collision reconstruction fascinating and the culture at DJS makes it a great place to work.
My least favorite part of working at DJS is the 4-hour round trip commute from Harrisburg to Abington. Being on the road for so many hours a day can be stressful especially when your job revolves around collision investigation. Thankfully, that commute will soon be cut down to about an hour as I am relocating to Lebanon County in the next few weeks. It’s safe to say I’m counting down the days!
LTT: My favorite part of working at DJS is the family-like atmosphere throughout the office. Coming in to work seeing the same friendly faces every day makes work a little bit easier. (My second favorite part about DJS are the meatball subs that Spike brings in for the office). My least favorite part of DJS is the commute to and from Philadelphia. I-95 and people who don’t know how to drive are the bane of my existence.
According to the Society of Women Engineers less than 10% of freshman women intend to major in any STEM field, over 30% of those switch out of their STEM program while in college and ultimately, only about 1 in 10 engineers in the workforce are women. How many other females were there in your degree program? Did you ever consider any major other than one in STEM?
BAH: During my freshman year in the Aerospace Engineering program at Penn State, of the 200 students, 15 were female. Consistent with the Society of Women Engineers’ statistics, by graduation the number had fallen to about 10 females of the 163 students remaining in the program.
Before my time at Penn State, I attended Hawaii Pacific University where I’d intended to major in psychology but found myself more interested in math and physics. After switching majors and transferring to Penn State, I don’t think I ever considered pursuing a profession outside of engineering.
LTT: There were about 20 to 30 females in my Mechanical Engineering program at UD. I actually only ever considered Mechanical Engineering. MythBusters was one of my favorite shows as a kid, so I think that’s why I only wanted to pursue STEM.
Is there any one specific takeaway you feel was unique to you as a woman in engineering which your male counterparts may not have experienced?
BAH: No, not really. I believe to be a successful engineer it requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for engineering regardless of your gender.
LTT: I think a lot of my experience as being a female engineer is having people not take your ideas, thoughts, and inputs as seriously or with as much substance as male counterparts. Throughout my educational experience, as well as my professional experience, I found that I have needed to extensively explain and substantiate many of my thoughts and ideas to others. While this is, for a lack of a better word, annoying, I think that having my thoughts and ideas challenged so often has led me to be more outspoken and to ‘stick to my guns,’ not just in the engineering world.
Let’s end on one of those atypical interview questions – What are the three items you would take with you to a deserted island?
BAH: Approaching this question, of course, from an engineering perspective; I would have to take my dog, Crash (named long before I had any involvement in collision reconstruction), a lifetime supply of Hot Cheetos, and a boat.
LTT: Hmmm… only three items? I need a bigger island! (My three items: personal chef (comes with utensils), cell phone, water filtration system – catch me on the next season of Survivor)