Consultancy, North America
A life-long passion for construction has taken Diana Wilczynski on a journey to North America from her native Colombia. An experienced project manager with a civil engineer background, Diana uses the depth and breadth of her international expertise to manage the daily operation of projects for Walgreens in Chicago, Illinois.
- How did you get into what you do?
I was captivated by engineering from a young age. From the age of five, I grew up in Sogamoso near the Andes in the mountains of Colombia. My father worked for the Department of Transportation and one of my earliest memories is of him showing me how roads are built. My uncle, a civil engineer, was the mayor of our town and I watched him improve the infrastructure of the city. The exposure made the field seem fascinating. My academic strength was in physics, science and math, so it was a natural path for me to pursue engineering at university in Bogotá. I did debate between electrical and civil engineering, but I found that civil engineering was closer to my heart. I saw how it could make a difference in the world.
- How did you end up working for Mace in Chicago?
- I moved to Evanston, north of Chicago, in 2011, to pursue a master’s degree in Infrastructure and Construction Management at Northwestern University. I had learned about the programme from one of my colleagues while I was working as a project engineer in Bogotá. Following my graduation from Northwestern, I spent several years working as a project manager and learned about a vacancy at Mace. I was thrilled to join the company in June 2019 and to become part of the project management team for Walgreens.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I love the problem-solving aspect of my job. There is so much satisfaction in being able to help clients achieve their objectives. It’s a great feeling and it makes every day count.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
- Problem-solving, empathy and an open mind. We work closely with our client’s design teams, architects, engineers and general contractors. You must keep an open mind and consider different views and requirements, while communicating clearly and making the best decisions for the project as a whole.
- What might someone be surprised to know about you?
- Although I’m not a tall woman, I’m a strong volleyball player. It was my main sport all through high school and college. When people see me play recreationally, they are surprised about the level that I’m at considering my height. I really believe that my problem-solving skills and ability to work in a team comes from my years of playing volleyball. It has made me a better person and a better manager.
- What do you think you might be doing if you hadn’t ended up in construction?
- This line of work is so engrained in me from childhood that I can’t picture myself doing anything else. I have a close connection with civil engineering and the curiosity of knowing how things are built. I admire what the discipline has achieved through history to make the world a better place, the interconnection with other disciplines and how it continues to help our societies better understand how we make this world a sustainable place to live for us and the generations to come.
“I have a close connection with civil engineering. I admire what the discipline has done through history to make the world a better place.”