On April 1, 2020, after an exciting and inspirational career, our founding principal Judy Nitsch, PE, LEED AP BD+C, retired from Nitsch Engineering. Her retirement was the culmination of an ownership and leadership transition plan that Judy started in 1993, with the goal of providing other Nitsch Engineering team members with opportunities to grow and lead.
In honor of Judy Nitsch’s retirement, a few colleagues, clients, and friends shared their thoughts about how she has made ripples throughout her career:
Following Her Dream
Judy began her career in 1975 as a project engineer at Schofield Brothers, where she was quickly promoted to a branch office manager for Freeman Engineering Company (a Division of Schofield Brothers). In 1982, Judy joined Allen & Demurjian, Inc. as a Senior Project Manager; she joined their Board of Directors and became a shareholder in 1983, and the company was renamed Allen, Demurjian, Major & Nitsch, Inc. in 1986. When that company was purchased in 1989, Judy realized that she had the perfect opportunity to follow her dream of starting her own company. On September 15, 1989, she founded Judith Nitsch Engineering, Inc. (now Nitsch Engineering).
Judy led the company as President until 2011. At that point, she transitioned into a new role, focusing primarily on developing client relationships. Judy continued to serve as chairman of the board until 2016; when she stepped down as chairman, she continued to serve on the board of directors through March 2020.
Reflecting on her vision for the company, Judy said, “When I founded Nitsch Engineering, I envisioned a company that went above and beyond to meet client needs, and that would do excellent engineering work with, as we like to say, ‘a smile on our face.’ I’m truly delighted with the company that Nitsch Engineering has grown to become, and how the leaders and employees are so well prepared and poised to bring the company to even more success. I know the company will be ‘building better communities with you’ for a long time!”
Building a Career focused on Sustainability
Judy’s work over her 40+ year career in civil engineering focused on the design and management of site development and infrastructure-related projects. She has been a registered Professional Engineer in 27 states and the District of Columbia, and she has provided civil engineering services on educational, residential, commercial, office, and industrial development projects. Judy is particularly proud of the work she has done providing sustainable site and stormwater management design on master plan and building projects; she collaborated with other Nitsch Engineering employees on projects such as the MIT Stata Center in Cambridge, MA; first-of-their-kind regional stormwater master plans for the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, VA; stormwater planning for the Princeton University campus in Princeton, NJ; and the Brooklyn Bridge Park project in Brooklyn, NY. She also served in the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence Program as a peer reviewer for the design of various ports of entry for the federal government since 2004.
Giving Back at WPI
A graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) with a bachelor of science in civil engineering, Judy has a long history of giving back to her alma mater. In 1989, she was elected the first alumna member to WPI’s Board of Trustees; she served as Chair of the Facilities and Campus Infrastructure Committee for 16 years. Under her leadership, WPI developed two master plans and built many projects, including a Campus Center, a LEED-Certified admissions building, a LEED-Gold residence hall, and a LEED-Gold Sports & Recreation Center. She also served on the WPI Alumni Association Board. Judy was named an Emeritus Trustee in 2012.
Serving as a Mentor
Throughout her career, Judy has been committed to mentoring future engineers and entrepreneurs, and to opening the door for female engineers, who are still underrepresented in the field. Her work as an active mentor for WPI’s students and through a number of professional societies, as well as her commitment to Nitsch Engineering’s annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day since 2002, has given many future engineers the opportunity to learn more about the industry and meet role models.
In honor of Judy’s commitment to expanding opportunities for students who are traditionally underrepresented in the engineering field, Nitsch Engineering launched a scholarship in her honor. You can learn more about that scholarship here.
Leading the Industry
Judy has been a well-known leader in the AEC industry, serving on countless professional society boards and committees. Some highlights have included:
- Co-chair of the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) International Greenbuild Conference + Expo host committee in Boston (2017)
- President of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network (2014) – View a video about Judy’s CREW involvement here.
- President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC, 1998-1999)
- President of The Engineering Center (1987-1988)
- President of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section/ASCE (BSCES, 1986-1987)
- President of the Society of Women Engineers-Boston Section (SWE, 1984-1986)
She has also served in leadership roles on committees and boards with many other professional societies and organizations, including the:
- Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
- Boston Society of Architects (BSA)
- Society for College & University Planning (SCUP)
- Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)
- Urban Land Institute (ULI) Boston
Achieving Awards & Recognition
For her contributions, Judy has received a number of accolades, including:
- Honorary Doctor of Engineering Degree from WPI (2015)
- Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy (2010)
- Honorary ASLA Member (2020)
- Honorary Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Member (2019)
- WPI Hall of Luminaries Honorary Award (2017)
- Preservation Massachusetts Paul & Niki Tsongas Award (2016)
- CREW Boston Leadership Award (2015)
- New England Women in Energy and the Environment (NEWIEE) Leadership Award (2015)
- EY New England Region Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2014)
- CE News “Power List” (2011)
- WPI Robert H. Goddard Award for Outstanding Professional Achievement (2005)
- SWE National Entrepreneur Award (2004)
- Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus’s 14th Annual Abigail Adams Award (2001)
- BSA Women in Design Award (2000)
- ASCE Parcel-Sverdrup Engineering Management Award (2000)
- Patriot’s Trail Girl Scout Council Leading Women Award (2000)
- NEWIRE (now CREW Boston) Entrepreneur of the Year (1999)
- WTS-Boston Woman of the Year (1997)
- Massachusetts Society of Professional Engineers Young Engineer of the Year (1988)
- BSCES/ASCE President’s Award (1988)
- WPI John Boynton Award in Recognition of Outstanding and Exemplary Service (1987)
- WPI Ichabod Washburn Award in Recognition of Outstanding Profession Achievement by a Young Alumnus (1985)
- ASCE Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional Achievement (1984)
- SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award (1982)
Judy has been recognized as a Fellow of ACEC, ASCE, SWE, and SMPS.
Continuing to Serve the Industry
While Judy retired from Nitsch Engineering, she is remaining involved in the architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) industry. She currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Architectural College and is an Emerita Trustee at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). She also serves as an outside director on the boards of Pennoni Associates, an engineering firm in Philadelphia, and Ayers Saint Gross, an architecture firm in Baltimore. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Advisors of Eastern Bank in Boston, and on the Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of E.T. & L. Corp., a construction company in Stow, Massachusetts.