People On The Move: Empowering Women within the Engineering Industry

The rise of women within previously male-dominated industries continues to grow. People on the Move podcast host Michelle Mooney met with Mahsa Pan, Senior Civil Engineer and Construction Manager for the Port of Los Angeles, and WTS Vice President of Professional Development and Student Outreach to discuss her career path and how she helps women break down the barriers to success within engineering.

Pan works for the City of Los Angeles Harbor Department, which oversees the waterfront areas of San Pedro and Wilmington, also known as the Port of LA. In her role, she manages multiple expansion projects including the development of Wilmington waterfront park and promenade.

Pan attributed her inspiration to her family noting that her “household is strong in STEM.” She noted that she loved math from an early age and had a passion for art. Engineering was a natural choice as it brings the problem-solving beauty of mathematics and the creative design of art together. Once she decided on engineering, Pan needed to find her career path. She chose to work in the public sector because she loves her projects’ impact on the community.

In addition to her day job, Pan plays a crucial role with the Women’s Transportation Seminar also known as WTS International. She mentors young professionals and works to create an environment where it’s safe to ask questions. She also assists young professionals in taking on real responsibility so that they can see the impact of their work directly in ongoing projects. Pan’s mentoring sets her interns up for success in the professional world.

Pan’s dedication to helping others is based on her own experiences. She dutifully thanked mentors, who she said: “helped her embrace her authentic self.” They allowed her to harness the gifts she was born with and focus her work there.

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