Environmental and civil engineer Randa Chichakli has dedicated her career to leading hazardous waste investigations and remediation, environmental assessments and other environmental programs in the U.S. and Asia. As delivery leader for CDM Smith's development assistance projects in Asia Pacific, Randa is responsible for overseeing the work of multi-discipline technical teams to meet the needs of her clients on a variety of investigation, remediation and regulatory compliance environmental programs as well as construction projects. work on global projects like Agent Orange remediation at Vietnam’s Airport, the Green Prosperity Project for MCA Indonesia and post-earthquake reconstruction in Nepal have worked to reduce health risks, promote environmentally sustainable economic growth, and provide safe schools and health clinics for developing countries.What inspires you? K2wing that the projects I work on are doing something positive for our environment is really inspiring. I’ve stayed in this line of work for almost 20 years because I feel that it has a meaningful and worthwhile purpose.
How might clients describe you? Clients positively respond to my communication style; I ensure that we have regular project discussions with our clients and stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle to make sure we are all on the same page. I’ve found that clients think my meetings are efficient, informative and provide a means for quick problem resolution.
What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you? After I graduated from college with my civil engineering bachelor’s degree, I wasn’t too excited about being a “real engineer.” So I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Chad, Africa for 2 years working on basic drinking water and sanitation issues. After my service, I was introduced to the Superfund program through the EPA, which got me excited about being an engineer again.
How has your career evolved since you joined CDM Smith, and why? I started with CDM Smith in 2000 as a Project Manager doing hazardous waste investigation and remediation work on US Navy bases throughout California. After about 10 years, I had the opportunity to work on a hazardous waste project in Vietnam for USAID. I continued to work on US Navy and EPA projects and the Vietnam project for several years, and then fully moved into our Development Assistance group as a Project Manager and then the Delivery Leader of our Asia portfolio. The opportunities for working on exciting projects and career growth at CDM Smith have been many, and I’ve grabbed every chance I’ve been given to stretch and challenge myself in new technical areas and different levels of management. Now, with 20 years at the firm, my technical experience has grown from hazardous waste work to facility construction, water/wastewater, and climate change, and my management skills have grown from managing single projects and teams to managing large program portfolios and multi-disciplinary teams around the world.