10 Questions for Nancy Sullins






Happy Women’s History Month! Northwest Pipe Company is proud to recognize the accomplishments of all the women who contribute their vital talents to our growing team. To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of the women leaders at NWP with interviews about their career experiences, inspirations, and achievements.

Nancy Sullins | Houston, Texas
Nancy Sullins | Houston, Texas

10 Questions for Nancy Sullins

With an exciting range of projects always on her plate, there’s never a dull day for Nancy Sullins, Engineering Department Manager at ParkUSA – A Northwest Pipe Company. Her department is responsible for producing product CAD drawings, designing unique, site-specific products, placing products into production, and assisting design engineers with details to specify ParkUSA products on their plans. Nancy works out of the ParkUSA office in Houston, Texas.

1. What is your job title and how long have you been with ParkUSA?

Engineering Department Manager, with ParkUSA for 3 years and 10 months.

2. Describe the journey leading to your current position?

My career has focused on water quality and quantity (high flows and low flows). I was a research assistant at the University of South Carolina, where I received a Master of Public Health degree with a focus on Environmental Quality. I then became an Environmental Quality Manager for the State of South Carolina, where I was responsible for developing and utilizing dynamic, 3-dimensional coastal water quality models and specifying limits for wastewater permits. My career took me to Washington, D.C., where I was a consultant for the EPA, Army Corp of Engineers, and FEMA while employed by Tetra Tech and Michael Baker. My reputation became known within the industry, so AECOM approached me to be the lead consultant for a complex stormwater permit program in Houston, Texas, which I accepted. My clients were the City of Houston, Harris County, Harris County Flood Control, and TXDOT.  I have been a regulator and a consultant. Through my past experiences, I have developed a strong understanding of the Clean Water Act and other regulations and how they impact our customers and the products we produce. ParkUSA hired me for my experience to help grow their stormwater product line, but my responsibilities have grown to become the Engineering Department Manager.

3. What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Every project that comes into the Engineering Department is unique, so there is never a dull day.

4. Name two things that always brighten your day— one at work and one outside of work?

At work, being greeted by Jennifer Ellis when I walk through the office door. Outside of work, seeing the sunrise.

5. Which of the Northwest Pipe ACT Values (Accountability, Commitment, and Teamwork) resonates most for you in your role and why?

Teamwork resonates most. Every member of the Engineering department is critical for the design of a product as well as the production of that item.

6. Which current or historical female figure do you admire most for their values, leadership, or contributions and why?

I admire Dame Jane Goodall and her work as a chimpanzee researcher. At the age of 26, Jane traveled to Tanzania and entered the male-dominated field of primatology with no formal education or research training in 1960. As a young woman, I realized that I could pursue any field that interested me, just as Dame Goodall, and not be restricted due to social norms.

7. Name someone in your life who inspires you and why?

Colonel Roslyn Trojan, a Gulf War veteran, was one of my mentors. She showed me that regardless of one’s gender you can be a leader. She was strong, decisive, compassionate, and feminine.

8. What advice do you have for individuals entering your profession?

The coursework and studies may be tough at times, but once you have laid a foundation, your opportunities are endless. Shoot for the moon, you may get there.

9. What has been your biggest career or personal achievement?

Successfully raising three wonderful children while holding challenging and demanding positions within the consulting industry.

10. What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

A time to honor women for their past, present, and future contributions to our society.