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Heather Greene is #SDLivingtheDream:
A Project Engineer Who is Hands-On, Too

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A lot of hard work goes into putting up a large commercial building, as Heather Greene has learned! In this edition of #SDLivingtheDream, we hear about Heather’s path from the 2015 Solar Decathlon to a rewarding career as a project engineer.


Name: Heather Greene

Year participated: 2015

University team: Casa Del Sol (Orange County)

Current organization/employer: Hensel Phelps

Current role: Project Engineer

How did participation in the Solar Decathlon affect the trajectory of your career?

I studied structural engineering in school and originally thought I wanted to become a licensed structural engineer. However, after doing the Solar Decathlon project, I developed my love for the hands-on construction! The Solar Decathlon project led me to an internship with my current company, Hensel Phelps, and I have been with the company ever since. If it wasn’t for participating in the Solar Decathlon, I wouldn’t have realized my love and interest in construction, especially the hands-on side of it and building clean-energy buildings.

Describe a work outcome, building project or other achievement you are most proud of and how (if) it relates to your experience with Solar Decathlon.

The achievement I am most proud of since the Solar Decathlon project is the Chen Neuroscience Research Building that I spent the last three years working on with Hensel Phelps. This project challenged me in multiple ways, from late nights working on estimates to long days in the field. I worked as a field engineer managing the structural steel and concrete pours. If it wasn’t for my previous experience with the Solar Decathlon, I don’t think I would have been prepared for the hard work it takes to build a structure. I am also proud to have worked on a project that will be utilized for future brain research, as it relates to my love for further learning and development. Although the project doesn’t have a formal LEED certification, the building’s primary source of energy is from fuel cells.

Read more about the Caltech Chen Neuroscience Research Building (CNRB) at

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