I grew up in Milford, New Hampshire – a place known for its annual Pumpkin Festival and ironically triangular “oval” town center. I attended the public schools there and was most interested in the engineering classes available at the high school level. When senior year came around, I had a free block in my schedule that fit perfectly with a course called Career Focus Internship. At the time, I was fortunate enough to know I liked engineering and wanted to explore it further. This, combined with my general curiosity of bridges, had led to a decision: a civil engineering internship with bridge focus. My teacher had some work cut out for him, searching the Southern New Hampshire area for a civil engineering company that would have me tag along for a few hours a week until the fall semester was over. Hoyle Tanner was the company that said “yes,” confirming the first opportunity of real-world engineering experience in something I was so curious about. I was honestly really excited… and also a bit scared.

My parents were considered blue-collar with no formal higher education and barely high school diplomas. I remember vividly my mom helping pick out her nicest “office worthy” clothes in my size just so I could attempt to match the business attire. It was quite intimidating going into a professional place, alone, unsure of the expectations, wearing uncomfortable dress shoes, and definitely lacking the technical knowledge to be there. I remember meeting with Sean James, Josif Bicja, and Katie Welch. These three were there to guide me on small tasks and share the theory of bridge design with someone that hadn’t taken calculus yet. It was overwhelming but also exciting and still interesting. I enjoyed my internship experience at Hoyle Tanner and more so the people that were there for me along the way.

stephanie bishop in 2017 & 2023

Katie kept in touch with me while I was at Worcester Polytechnical Institute (WPI). We even went out to eat a couple of times where I would share my dreading anxiety of differential equations next term and my failures in chemistry. She would then share her college experience and how she is doing in her career now. She was not a constant contact, but I knew she was always a text away with whatever concern or question I had. She was my first female engineering mentor, something so powerful I didn’t realize at the time that I am so grateful for years later.

After a hiatus of communication during the pandemic, Katie reached out to me in my senior year proposing to get dinner again. It had been a few years since we’d caught up; at 21, I could now meet her for a beverage. We talked like old friends and ended up staying until the restaurant closed. She shared that if I hadn’t had any work lined up for the summer that I could send my resume along to Sean and Josif and that they would love to catch up. Sure enough, I did.

Although I’ll admit, I thought about it for a while. I originally went to school in Massachusetts because I wanted to stay in Massachusetts, but Hoyle Tanner was headquartered in New Hampshire. I had already applied for other internships with a couple other companies headquartered in Massachusetts knowing that I was going to go for a master’s degree at WPI. All arrows were pointing away from Hoyle Tanner. But, I thought, I would still enjoy catching up with Sean and Josif since it had been so long. So, we talked. It was light-hearted and wholesome to talk with them again; I felt like a different person than who they once knew four years prior. A timid, unconfident, and shy highschooler was now a knowledgeable, social, and confident college student. Sean had then offered me a full-time position with Hoyle Tanner in their new Massachusetts office location and I just couldn’t say no. The arrows started all pointing towards Hoyle Tanner, and all the reasons to take the job started piling up:

I knew the people at Hoyle Tanner were caring and passionate about their work.
I knew the company itself was on the smaller side so there was room to grow with it.
I knew I wanted to stay in Massachusetts and now there was a new Massachusetts office!
I knew I wanted to continue my education at WPI and that Hoyle Tanner was accommodating with my working hours.
I knew I wanted to finish school as a full-time employee and that Hoyle Tanner would have education reimbursement.
I knew that if I had a concern at Hoyle Tanner, they would listen.
I knew the people I’d work with would support me to achieve great things.
I knew I’d learn so much more beyond my current understanding of structures.
I knew I would be a good fit at Hoyle Tanner and that Hoyle Tanner would be a good fit for me. It almost felt like fate.

So here I am, typing this up at my desk in the Chelmsford office during my lunch break on a random Monday, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Thank you, Katie, Josif, and Sean, for positively impacting my career at such a young age. And a shoutout to Deb Coon, Joe Ripley, Travis Gelinas, and Paul Dustin for also being around the Manchester office at the time – you all made it a welcoming and enjoyable experience for me then and continue to this day.josif, katie, stephanie bishop, and sean