Danielle Forget Shield

Danielle Forget Shield P.E.

Vice President, Landfill Projects Group
SCC Americas
Houston, TX
Danielle Forget Shield
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I like to think of myself as an innovative professional with broad engineering and management experience in the solid waste industry. I earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA in Finance from the University of St. Thomas. I am very active in volunteer and professional organizations. I am very involved in the Washington University Alumni Association. I have served as a member of the National Leadership Team and Co-Chair of the Houston Area Alumni Interviewing Committee, and currently serves as a member of the Houston Area Regional Cabinet and the Alumni Board of Governors. I have also held leadership positions in The Professional Group, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Girl Scouts, church, and the local Civic Club. I have been an active and dedicated supporter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) since 1989.

While in college, I served as President, Vice President and Treasurer of my SWE student section and have served as President, Vice President, Section Representative and Secretary of the SWE-Houston Area Section (SWE-HA). I served as the Career Fair committee chair for the 1998 SWE National Convention and Student Conference and the Region C Student Coordinator. I built the Collegiate Leadership Coaching program within SWE and grew it to a corporate funded program reaching 350 universities. I was recruited to initiate and develop this program where I lead a team of women engineers and engineering students to provide leadership training to student sections.

I have been recognized by SWE as a 2002 National Distinguished New Engineer, the highest honor bestowed by SWE upon a young engineer. I was named a Houston Area "Woman of Excellence" and the Washington University Engineering School Distinguished Young Alumni in 2006.

Upon completion of my degree in1994, I joined RUST Environment and Infrastructure where I worked in all areas of civil engineering. While working on projects for Waste Management, I was recruited to become a Waste Management landfill site engineer. In this position, I managed engineering design and construction projects, maintained permits, and monitored environmental compliance at four landfills. I implemented engineering solutions and new engineering design techniques that saved the company time and money. My innovations were often highlighted in company technology newsletters and one of these techniques was documented in a technical paper that was presented at local, state, and national conferences. I left Waste Management in a merger and moved into consulting.

While working as a consultant, I worked for Dannenbaum Environmental Corporation on many exciting projects, including authoring a workbook for rural communities to use in evaluating their solid waste systems. The workbook guides the user through a solid waste evaluation process including financial, regulatory, public relations, and logistical concerns. I helped develop and present training on the workbook at conferences and special engagements. During this time, I also worked for Drake, Beam, Morin as a Career Consultant. I facilitated workshops and developed materials to meet individual and group needs. I also worked one-on-one with clients primarily in the solid waste industry who were transitioning to new careers.

I joined BFI Waste Systems as a Major Account Manager in 2000. In this role, I fully utilized my communication and management skills, as well as my engineering knowledge, to manage client accounts and assist them in compliance with federal and state regulations. This position rounded out my experiences in the solid waste industry and led me to a position with WCA Waste Corporation as a Site Manager and the Region Engineer. I managed the day-to-day activities of a landfill and managed the engineering, compliance and construction activities at 12 facilities. I quickly moved from this role to Director of Engineering and Environmental Compliance for the company. In this role I developed programs to enhance compliance and engineering activities. This role required a significant amount of travel and time away from my young children. So, I moved into a position that allows me to be home more. I am now the Vice President of the Landfill Projects Group for SCC Americas. I identify, negotiate, and manage the process of taking landfill gas and turning it into an alternative energy source.

My husband, Christopher Shield, P.E., and I have been married for 13 years and have two young children. We have spent a lot of our free time renovating an old house and are now finally enjoying the results.

Answers by Danielle Forget Shield P.E.

A lot of Environmental Engineers have a bachelors in Civil Engineering. Civil Engineering focuses on 3 major areas: structural, water resources, and soils. Both water resources and soils have major impacts on the environment. Environmental Engineering also covers 3 major areas: air, water, and soil. So, it’s easy to see the overlap between Civil and Environmental. Choosing classes at this point in your education is still a broad learning experience. Even in college, most engineering majors take the same classes their first two years in an engineering program. The basics of general sciences and math teach problem solving and analysis. Just push yourself to learn and understand how to solve problems. That’s what engineering is all about.

Danielle Forget Shield

Being a great civil engineer absolutely requires creativity. That’s one of the best attributes women bring to the profession. Deciding to become a civil engineer is a first step, with many career decisions ahead of you that will allow you to express your creativity and use it to contribute in ways you have likely never considered. I landed, unexpectedly, in the solid waste industry. I had no idea that landfills were highly engineered structures with lots of room for creative solutions. My creativity led me to become one of few women to lead the engineering activities in the waste industry. It’s that out-of-the-box thinking that is valued in today’s entrepreneurial spirited corporate world. You have the same opportunities ahead of you! There are so many areas of engineering that are open for exploration. Consider all the options in the green building movement, alternative energy sources, and transportation advancement. Your creativity can help advance these, or an infinite number of other areas to make our world a better place.


Someone providing clean water systems would need to understand both the civil engineering aspects of constructing a clean water source and the environmental requirements for clean water. A Civil Engineering degree with an environmental emphasis would be best. It seems that language skills could also be advantageous, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with people about a sensitive issue. Youd also need to be comfortable going to and living in remote areas possibly without modern conveniences. Danielle

There are entry level positions in Architectural Engineering but they require a certain level of knowledge. Have you learned CADD? Starting at a firm as a CADD Designer is a good way to learn a lot about practical design techniques.

Utilize the contacts your University has through it's career services. Utilize your professors and their contacts. Get involved in technical and professional organizations at your University and attend activities hosted by the professional arms of these organizations.

If anything, it will have a positive impact on your pursuit of employment. There continue to be low percentages of female engineers in the workforce and it doesn't appear that a radical shift will occur anytime soon. There are advantages and disadvantages to being one of few women. Just remember that all workplaces have challenges that can be outweighed by advantages. Make sure you choose a workplace that offers advantages that make you want to go back to work every day regardless of the challenges that will come your way. The best way to ensure you have that choice is to continue to excell in school.
Danielle Forget Shield, P.E.