PRINCE GEORGE — The Society of Women Engineers, SWE, has recognized Cathleen McBride Saunders, a 2006 graduate of Prince George County High School for her impact on society as well as the engineering community with the Distinguished New Engineer of 2018 Award. Saunders accepted the award at SWE’s annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Oct. 20 during the formal awards banquet.
SWE’s president, Penny Wirsing, said women such as Saunders ”... are leaders paving the way to empower and inspire future women engineers across the globe.” Over 14,000 women and corporate partners from around the world attended the 3-day conference.
The Distinguished New Engineer of 2018 Award recognizes Saunders for her work ensuring safe stormwater management, for earnest engagement in community service and for her efforts to encourage young women to engage in learning and careers involving sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. She is a frequent traveler to colleges and community colleges to serve as a speaker or panel presenter to discuss the many options available to women in non-traditional careers involving STEM subjects. She served as deputy chair of the South Hampton SWE leadership coaching committee where she managed a team of approximately 45 collegiate coaches from the East Coast and the U.K. and has made presentations at leadership conferences in New York, Philadelphia and Houston.
Until graduating from Virginia Tech in 2010, Saunders — then McBride — lived in Prince George County with her parents and three siblings. The 2006 Prince George High School graduate was active in marching band and 4-H activities, and during her senior year was dual-enrolled at J. Sargent Community College to begin her engineering studies.
A professional engineer, licensed in Virginia and North Carolina, Saunders has eight years of experience in project and construction management in water, wastewater, stormwater and roadway design. Before joining Quible & Associates, where she now serves as a project manager in the Powells Point, North Carolina office, she was an intern, then staff engineer at Draper Aden Associates. She moved to engineer II and III positions with the city of Newport News, Virginia, where she managed multiple stormwater, sanitary sewer and Virginia Department of Transportation design projects. According to Saunders, one of her most interesting projects since joining Quible & Associates was the site development last year of a $46 million water park in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Saunders said she was encouraged to study engineering by her family, especially her father, Stephen McBride, who served as Prince George County Engineer from 1986 until his retirement in 2013.
Cathleen and husband, Mark — also an engineer and Virginia Tech graduate — enjoy traveling, and watching movies, especially superhero films.