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November 4, 2022 / 3 minute read

ADS Spotlight | Crista McNish | Engineering Services Manager

Crista McNish, P.E., joined Advanced Drainage Systems in 2004 as an Applications Engineer within the Hancor team. She lives with her husband, Scott, in Washington with their two dogs, Shelby and Brody, and one cat, Rudy. Crista graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in Civil Engineering. In her current role as an Engineering Services Manager, Crista leads a team of engineers, supervisors, and consultants across 7 geographic locations in support of domestic & international sales forces driving approvals, specification, and sale of products.




How many years of experience do you have as an engineer and where did you graduate from?

I have about 20 years of experience as an engineer. I started as an Engineering Intern with the US Army Corps of Engineers in May of 2002 and then completed a second Engineering Internship in August 2003. After graduating from the University of Dayton in 2004, I started my first position with Hancor, Inc. in December of 2004.

When/how did you discover you wanted to be an engineer?

In retrospect, it was in 2nd grade when I would sneak into the teacher’s activity schedule and switch my name from art session to the building blocks session, but I didn’t actually realize it until I was searching for where to go to college. I started with wanting to be a veterinarian but couldn’t handle the “sad stories” that come with that care. Then it was biology or environmental science but I realized I couldn’t memorize things well, so I investigated civil engineering where I figured I could remember core principles and then apply problem-solving instead of memorization. Only after I started the program, did I remember my dad was a trained civil engineer (but went to sales) and my grandfather and granduncle were engineers as well.

What do you like most about the work you do?

I really enjoy working with the people here and the variety of work I see in my role. The variety of work is primarily around problem-solving. Whether it’s finding solutions for a challenging site, creating a new workflow process to improve our efficiency, or performing a product performance analysis. I get to apply a variety of engineering principles related to material science, soil-structure interaction, hydraulics, and geotechnical. I also get to work with so many different groups - sales, quality, marketing, product development, and operations which lets me continue to learn new things about how ADS operates. 

When you think about working at ADS, what makes you proudest or most excited?

Being able to coach other growing engineers is something I'm very thankful for. I'm so proud to see them succeed in their own careers and achieve new heights. 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about becoming an engineer?

Don’t be too intimidated by thinking you need to be a “math & science wiz.” Really think about the activities you like doing. Is it tinkering, learning, organizing, planning? All those things align with being an engineer, no matter the specialty. I was never a great student, definitely not in high school, and even at the beginning of college, but I found a group of people to work through homework with that helped me get through the difficult subjects (even when I flunked calc 3 and had to retake it!). If you're fascinated by how things work, you may be an engineer at heart! You can be a deep expert in a specialized subject or a broad expert in systems & functions. 


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