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In 2012, Abby Lehmenkuler joined Pinnacle Engineering as a co-op student, transitioned to full-time post-graduation in 2015, and has been a structural engineer at the company since.

We asked her five questions about her career path, experience working at Pinnacle Engineering, and some insights on the structural engineering industry as a whole. Here’s her perspective.

Abby Pinnacle Employee Headshot

What inspired you to pursue a career in structural engineering?  

Abby’s journey into the world of structural engineering was influenced early on by her father, a dedicated structural engineer himself. 

Growing up, Abby was constantly exposed to the intricacies of the field, fostering a natural curiosity about architectural structures and their underlying principles. Her early childhood memories, which contributed to this exposure, involve her father pointing out buildings with unique structural components during their outings. 

While architecture initially caught her eye, Abby’s love for math and practical problem-solving guided her toward structural engineering—a field where she could blend her analytical skills with her interest in building designs and floor plans.

Can you share a project you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of? What made it stand out for you?

One of Abby’s most memorable projects at Pinnacle Engineering was a high-end residential home designed by Jose Garcia Design + Construction

This project featured a living room supported laterally solely by large 20” x 20” timber columns extending from the foundation to the roof. The living room walls were made entirely of glass on three sides, offering stunning views of nature, while the flat roof was designed to support live loads, making it suitable for an impressive roof terrace. 

These design details required meticulous planning and creative problem-solving to structurally execute the complex design. 

Abby designed a steel shoe with a substantial vaulted connection for the timber columns, successfully addressing the lateral stability issues associated with the timber columns and finding a way to minimize the building’s drift and deflection for the custom glass windows in the living room.

This project highlights her willingness to creatively solve complex engineering challenges to ensure the designer’s vision for the home could be implemented.

What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job, and how do you approach problem-solving in your projects?

Abby highlights the importance of collaboration between architects and engineers as one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of her job. 

Her approach to problem-solving—combining clear communication, outside-of-the-box thinking, and a commitment to the architect’s vision—exemplifies Pinnacle Engineering’s focus on teamwork, innovation, and prioritization of bringing the architect’s designs come to life, while ensuring structural soundness.

What do you love about your job?

What Abby loves most about her job is the collaborative and supportive work culture at Pinnacle Engineering. 

She values the open-door policy, which fosters an environment where everyone, from interns to senior engineers, can share ideas and seek advice freely. As a mom of two little ones, Abby particularly appreciates the firm’s flexibility and understanding, which allow her to maintain a healthy work-life balance—a core value upheld for all employees.

In what ways do you think the field of structural engineering is evolving, especially regarding sustainability and green building practices? 

Best practices and industry trends have evolved since Abby graduated from college almost a decade ago. She specifically notes a growing focus on sustainability and green building practices in structural engineering. Building codes are beginning to incorporate these practices, and being at the forefront of this evolution has been an exciting experience to be part of.

Pinnacle Engineering has been a trailblazer in these sustainability industry trends and has led the charge in Cincinnati by participating in projects like Fotofocus Cincinnati, Cincinnati’s first mass timber building.

Additionally, Abby and other engineers on the team are experts in Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) design, which have been increasingly implemented as building codes become more stringent on air tightness, among other environmental benefits.

How do you stay updated with the latest trends in the industry?

To stay updated, Abby is actively involved on the board of directors with professional organizations such as the Structural Engineering Association of Ohio (SEAOO). As the Continuing Education Chair, she shares information and updates with participating Ohio structural engineers during meetings and webinars. 

This keeps her at the forefront of industry trends and enables her to contribute to the broader engineering community, especially among younger members.

She also regularly reads structural engineering publications like Structure Magazine, Modern Steel Construction, and the Journal of Light Construction (JLC).

What advice would you give to young women who are interested in pursuing a career in structural engineering?

Abby’s message to young women considering a career in structural engineering is clear and empowering: don’t be intimidated. She encourages pursuing structural engineering interests with confidence and determination, emphasizing the importance of self-belief and resilience in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Our wide-ranging expertise, commitment to challenging the norm in structural engineering, and supportive workplace culture ensure that team members reach their full potential. We are always looking for passionate and qualified structural engineers.

If you’re interested in a career at Pinnacle Engineering, submit your resume here.

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Pinnacle Engineering, Inc.
8180 Corporate Park Dr.
Suite 235
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242