Engineers Week Spotlight: Christine Rutkowski Makes Tangible Impacts for the Navy

19 February 2021
WASHINGTON - Christine Rutkowski, design manager and structural engineer, is representing Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington for Engineers Week. She serves in the Design and Construction Business Line at NAVFAC Washington’s Core in Washington D.C.
WASHINGTON - Christine Rutkowski, design manager and structural engineer, is representing Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington for Engineers Week. She serves in the Design and Construction Business Line at NAVFAC Washington’s Core in Washington D.C.

Rutkowski is a native of Fairfax, Va., and growing up she enjoyed studying math, science and history. Her father served in the U.S. Navy and is also an engineer.

“He has that kind of engineer’s brain that seems to know how everything works or can figure it out,” Rutkowski said. “I have always admired that about him.”

Taking the same tech classes her father and older brothers did, Rutkowski found herself incrementally pulled toward engineering. When it was time to declare her major as an undergrad at the University of Virginia, she realized civil engineering aligned well with her skill set and was a stable career field to work in. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree and finishing graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she landed a job as a Structural Engineer working at NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic at Public Works Department Norfolk. She served there for eight years before transferring to NAVFAC Washington, where she has continued to serve for the last two and a half years. She was also able to serve last summer for two months abroad in Naples, Italy, supporting NAVFAC EURAFCENT.

“Since starting with NAVFAC, I have appreciated how many people are all working hard to make our workplace and the Navy’s workplaces better. I get to see the tangible impact of my effort, for example, when repairs I’ve designed give people a safe workplace again.”

Rutkowski works on a variety of projects, including the renovation of a critical facility that manufacturers torpedo fuel and explosives, as well as a facility that will eventually serve as a laboratory for explosives research.

“Although I have been here for 10 years, I have never had two projects that are similar. There are so many different functions and facility types in the Navy, that there is always something new to learn.”

Rutkowski understands how important engineering is in making our modern world better. She enjoys the design process and being able to use her methodical nature to produce solutions. She also emphasizes the wide variety of disciplines and opportunities in the world of engineering that exist for young people possessing an array of different skills.

“Many more people than one might think would make good engineers. For me, I enjoy thinking about making things and making things better. If you do too, you might like being an engineer.”
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