10 Questions with Emily Pappalardo

Would you rather go hang gliding or whitewater rafting?
Whitewater rafting.

What do you do for your job?
I work in the Delta Group at MBK, that includes improving levee systems for our clients in the Delta. I also follow water and flood control policy to anticipate our client’s interests and needs. In the event that “the BIG one” comes, I want to be ready to protect the towns and croplands where our clients in the Delta live and work.

How did you get into engineering?
I originally spent four grueling years at Cal Poly studying architecture. I realized that I wasn’t as passionate about architecture as I was for my home in the Delta. I wanted to serve my Delta community the best way I could, and so my focus turned to the backbone of the Delta, the levees.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Well I try to sleep as little as possible already so I can try to fit it all in (to the detriment of my memory). But if granted more time, I would paint, wakeboard/snowboard, build furniture, renovate old homes, make healthy and delicious meals, float on the slough, grow as much produce as possible, and travel. To name a few…

What is special about the place you grew up?
Without the levees, the Delta as a place would not exist, including my childhood home. I feel it was destiny (or necessity) that I eventually came to work with the very levees I grew up on.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is getting to help my community thrive. I was incredibly lucky to grow up in the Delta and my only wish is that future generations get that same experience. Of course, the taco trucks and markets I frequent on my way to and from jobs out in the Delta, aren’t a bad perk either.

What’s the best way to start the day?
Waking up on Steamboat Slough on a still morning and getting a ride in before any other boat gets out there. It is also a great way to end the day!

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?
Unsolicited comments on the appearances of people (especially when those people are women) happen too frequently. So those types are the most annoying.

What job would you be terrible at?
Being an architect.

Who has impressed you most with what they have accomplished?
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I am very impressed with what she has done in the face of much adversity throughout her life all in the name of service for others.