Allie Joiner Estell, a San Antonio-based traffic engineer and project manager, found a fascination with traffic signal timing long before she sat behind the wheel.
When she did get her license, she had years of observation behind her, always timing her speed just right so that she would never have to fully stop at a red light.
What she didn’t realize was that this personal challenge would one day spark a future career.
Now, as a traffic engineer with growing expertise in design and planning, her self-taught life skills are put to the test in more ways than one.
In San Antonio, Texas, Allie leads her teams and projects with a mix of tenacity, a proactive approach and compassion for every teammate and client.
A Career Milestone
Balancing a career that blends traffic control planning and roadway design, Allie has found she thrives when thinking differently through each role.
“Planning offers the opportunity to provide clients with innovative solutions,” said Allie. “It gives you the freedom to think outside the box about a challenge and approach it differently than you would a design job that already has set parameters.”
Allie took on the role of deputy project manager on the FM1535 schematic and design project for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) San Antonio. While leading the team, she juggled the challenge of jumping into a project that was in progress and still finding ways to bring her own fresh take to the design.
She worked tirelessly on the project to lead the addition of a center turn lane and bike and pedestrian facilities to the existing four-lane roadway.
While a straightforward concept, there were challenges along the way.
“Allie did not hesitate in accepting the position and the client was extremely happy with the results,” said Nick Arnio, San Antonio Transportation Leader. “After the project was over, the TxDOT project manager even said she wished she could steal Allie for her own team.”
Allie exceeded the client’s expectations, and her mindset throughout was simple.
“Direct and proactive communication with the client is so important,” said Allie. “There is so much value in not only the quality control process but also in honest communication among your teams and clients.”
Also in San Antonio, Allie coordinated with Bexar County to assist in the Phase IV expansion of the High-water Alert Lifesaving Technology (HALT) system. The high-water detection system provides drivers with advance warning of impending floods and flooding events.
Her thoughtful approach to the project has been an undeniable asset to the county while making a difference in keeping everyone safe – common themes in the work she completes.
A Philosophy of Giving Grace
Allie’s career is marked by strategic thinking and is complemented by a compassionate demeanor throughout even the most stressful scenarios.
“Allie knows how to work hard and do what she has to do to get her work done right,” said Elizabeth High, a planner within the Texas Transportation Development group. “But she also has a special ability to work with people through tough situations.”
Through her career she’s made an impact on the larger RS&H culture as well, playing a key role in the launch of the Ignite Women’s Leadership Network – RS&H’s first affinity group.
While on the Programs Committee, Allie led a company-wide webinar with Nicole Nason, a leader within the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
“Allie’s willingness to not only express opinions frankly, but to listen to others and sometimes adjust her own thoughts, is tough to find,” said Hillary Andren-Wise, Allie’s fellow Ignite committee member. “Her way of making work fun, even when dealing with obstacles, makes a huge difference. We’ve been far more successful because of it.”
And through Ignite, among her team and with her clients, Allie strives to offer grace to those around her – especially when working through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re all working from home and it’s even more clear now that we shouldn’t feel like we have to hide parts of ourselves while doing our jobs,” said Allie. “I remind my teams that I am human myself, and I try to extend kindness and consideration wherever I can.”
It’s this outlook that has led to a dynamic career, and a supportive group of coworkers who admire her not only for her work but also for her genuinely good heart.
A Future of Impact
Allie’s client-oriented approach comes naturally, stemming from strong values that live within and outside of RS&H.
“Problems do not go away just because we want them to and kicking them under the rug only leads to frustration down the road,” said Allie. “If you are intentional about when and how you communicate potential issues to your client, you have an incredible opportunity to build trust in a difficult situation.”
As Allie embarks on new challenges, she’ll always bring the same dedicated, friendly approach that she’s become known for by all who work with her.
To learn more about how Allie can bring her innovative thinking to your transportation projects, contact her at Allie.Joiner@rsandh.com
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