Janey Camp is new TSPE President
Vanderbilt’s Camp is new TSPE president; dual focus will be membership growth, licensing
Candy wrappers and reports littered the conference table, evidence of hours of debate among the 14 engineers seated around it. At issue: Growing membership and covering costs for the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers.
Janey Camp listened as the suggestions flowed and then the chatter grew silent.
“I know we’re on the fence, but I like the idea of pilot-testing some of those ideas,” she said. “But this isn’t just about what I think. We’re a board. Let’s do some homework between now and our next meeting in March.”
Consensus-building Camp is TSPE’s new president. She’s also a research associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt University, a researcher with Vanderbilt Center for Transportation and Operational Resiliency — her specialty is using GIS tools to study transportation systems and their ability to withstand stress — and adviser for Engineers without Borders.
Outside the university, Camp is education outreach chair for the Nashville branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers, coordinating its annual model bridge competition for high school students. She serves on advisory boards for Glencliff and Stratford high schools in Nashville and on the higher education executive board for the National Society of Professional Engineers.
And that’s about half the list of her volunteer service.
Camp said she’s driven by a passion for educating the next generation of civil and environmental engineers, providing the inspiration she found growing up in the plant nursery business in McMinnville, Tennessee, the eldest of five children.
“I know how to move a tree,” she joked. But she found career inspiration in a visit from her fifth-grade teacher’s son, an F-16 fighter pilot, and began focusing more heavily in math, science and problem-solving, thinking in terms of aerodynamics and G-forces.
A day spent shadowing engineers at Tullahoma Air Force Base shifted her path into engineering.
She was accepted into Vanderbilt but went to Motlow Community College and then Tennessee Tech to save money – the Opportunity Vanderbilt program not yet in place to help with tuition. She fell in love with the intellectual diversity of college life.
“I took lot of extra courses at Motlow because I was bored, including criminal justice and psychology,” Camp said. “I took botany for fun when I was in grad school at Tech. They wouldn’t let me take glass-blowing and apply it toward my degree.”
She fell in love with civil engineering at Tennessee Tech because it allowed her to address current, real-life problems and get out of the office and into nature. She met but didn’t fall in love with her future husband, Clint Camp. The two reconnected as graduate students at Vanderbilt – Janey Camp earning her Ph.D. in environmental engineering and Clint Camp a master’s in construction engineering.
They now have two children.
With the American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee and the Tennessee ASCE already led by women, Camp’s new presidency at TSPE adds to a line of women in engineering stepping into leadership roles. Camp wants that diversity to be represented in all aspects of the profession, and she wants to share with fellow engineering professionals the value of TSPE membership.
“We represent all engineers across the state whether you are licensed or not and no matter what discipline,” she said. “We are the lobbying voice. It’s a great place to interact and network with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet and learn about policies that will affect you.”
She also wants to raise awareness about licensing and passage rates statewide for the Tennessee Principals and Practice of Engineering Exam – Vanderbilt’s is at 97 percent, but it’s much lower at some other schools.
TSPE’s president-elect, Craig Parker, a senior vice president with Gresham, Smith and Partners, said he’s enjoyed working with Camp.
“She has demonstrated a sincere devotion to the society and the profession through her actions and has made the board better through her leadership,” he said. “The only negative is that I have to be the one to follow her as president, which will not be an easy task because the bar will be set so high.”
Heidi Hall, (615) 322-6614
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