Omaha, Neb. — Colleen Layman, P.E., HDR’s power-water management director, was installed as the new president of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at an installation ceremony on July 16 in Omaha, Neb., location of the company’s corporate headquarters. Her term as president began on July 1 and continues through June 2016. The organization has over 30,000 members worldwide.

Layman was joined at the installation ceremony by SWE’s newly installed Board of Directors.  Also joining in the ceremony were Eric Keen, president of HDR, Darryl Shoemaker, senior vice president, Jim Connell, power sector director and Karen Horting, SWE’s CEO and executive director.

Layman’s involvement with SWE spans more than 15 years. She’s held several leadership positions at the Society, regional and local levels. She also represented SWE as a member of the steering committee for the development of the U.S. technological literacy framework and specifications commissioned by the Department of Education National Assessment Governing Board in 2008 and 2009.

Layman is passionate about the mission and values of SWE, especially as a mentoring organization. Mentorship is very important to Layman who is actively involved in mentoring college students, especially women, saying she gets as much out of mentoring as the students. “They refuel my passion and inspire me,” she says.

She credits her own mentor, a high school math teacher and nun, as being instrumental in Layman choosing engineering. Layman said, “I don’t know what I would have done without her. That’s why mentorship is so important to me.”

Layman said she developed an interest in power engineering when she interned at a power plant and “it clicked,” she said.  Her interest in power hasn’t waned over the years. “I love the power industry,” she says, “especially on the days when I can put on boots and a hard hat and go out into the field to see what I created in my head.” 

The internship marked the start of a 20-year career for Layman who has expertise in engineering design, construction, commissioning and operation of power generating facilities.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology from Thomas Edison State College, a master’s in water resources and environmental engineering from Villanova University, and an MBA in management of engineering and technology from North Central University, and is a registered professional engineer.