Two distinguished alumnae of the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science have earned election to the National Academy of Construction.

Jill S. Tietjen earned her bachelor’s degree in applied math at UVA Engineering in 1976, with a minor in electrical engineering, and went on to earn a master’s in business administration from University of North Carolina-Charlotte in 1979. Heather Wishart-Smith, P.E., earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering at UVA in 1996 and 1998 respectively.

It's just the newest accolade for two leaders in their fields.

In its election announcement, the National Academy of Construction cited Tietjen as an “exceptional leader in the electric utility sector, strong advocate for women worldwide, and prolific author on women and women’s issues.” The academy cited Wishart-Smith as a “leader and mentor in innovative engineering, construction, and use of technology in the federal and defense built environment.”

Jill S. Tietjen

University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science alumna Jill S. Tietjen earned her bachelor’s degree in applied math in 1974, with a minor in electrical engineering.

Tietjen, an electrical engineer, has spent more than 45 years as a consultant to electric utilities and organizations. Her employers have included McNeil Technologies, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Stone & Webster Management Consultants, Hagler Bailly Consulting, Mobil Oil Corporation’s Mining, Coal Division, and Duke Power Company.

From 1996-2004, Tietjen served on the Colorado State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors – two years in the role as chair. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Transmission Corporation. She also serves as an expert witness before public utility commissions and other government agencies.

A prolific author, Jill S. Tietjen has published 12 books, including Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America and Hollywood: Her Story, An Illustrated History of Women and the Movies. She also serves as series editor for Springer Women in Engineering and Science Series, a blogger for the Huffington Post and an IEEE Impact Creator.

Tietjen’s writing and philanthropic endeavors are devoted to helping young girls and women make a difference in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. She was a featured speaker at UVA Engineering’s inaugural 2022 Women in Engineering Symposium, hosted by Dean Jennifer L. West.

“One of the reasons I’m here is because the mentoring and the role modeling feeds my soul, and I think it’s very important for me to give back,” said Tietjen who shared her own story of grit and determination in becoming a trailblazer for other women in science. 

Tietjen is a Fellow Life Member of the Society of Women Engineers, and received the society’s Distinguished Service Award. She is also recipient of the Tau Beta Pi Distinguished Alumna Award. Tietjen was inducted into both the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, where she served as chief executive officer in 2015, and the Colorado Author’s Hall of Fame. She is listed in Who’s Who in Engineering, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, and Who’s Who in Technology.

“Jill Tietjen’s active involvement in the industry and in advocating for women in construction and for women everywhere are outstanding examples of leadership. We welcome her,” said Wayne Crew, president and CEO of the National Academy of Construction, in an Aug. 22 press release.

Heather Wishart-Smith

University of Virginia civil engineering alumna Heather Wishart-Smith, P.E., earned her bachelor’s degree in 1996 and master’s degree in 1998.

A classically trained civil engineer, Wishart-Smith started out in the U.S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps, through which she served at the Camp David presidential retreat and Andrews Air Force Base, among other duty stations, during two presidential administrations. She went on to build a distinguished career focused on managing industry projects – at Jacobs since 2007 when it acquired Carter & Burgess, where she had worked since 2005, and Kellogg Brown & Root, her first stop after leaving the Navy in 2002.

Wishart-Smith oversaw Jacobs’ digital strategy at a time when the worlds of cyber and physical systems were rapidly intersecting. As vice president of innovation and Jacobs Connected Enterprise, she led a project focused on integrating digital connectivity into customers’ solutions as well as Jacobs’ own traditional areas of operation.

“The way the industry is changing, the way the world is changing, it’s no longer sufficient to have a single-disciplinary focus. We’re using technology, predictive analytics, and the Internet of Things to help our clients make better business decisions,” Wishart-Smith said in A 2019 UVA ENGINEERING ARTICLE announcing her promotion to senior vice president, technology and innovation at Jacobs.

Her work in digital innovation – for the $14 billion design firm that has 55,000 employees in over 40 countries – has led to a stint as a FORBES CONTRIBUTOR and industry advisor. In 2020 she was named a limited partner advisor and global expert for BLOCKCHAIN FOUNDERS FUND. And, this May, she was named a strategic advisor by OVENUE.

Wishart-Smith is a Fellow of the Society of American Military Engineers, received the society’s Gerald C. Brown Mentoring Award in 2018 and serves as president and chair of the society’s Board of Directors. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Engineering News-Record named her a “Top 20 Under 40” Mid-Atlantic Top Young Professional in 2013.

“Heather Wishart-Smith’s public service and her contributions in innovative management exemplify the qualities the Academy seeks from its membership. We welcome her,” Crew said in an Aug. 22 press release.