Meet Our People: GAI Environmental Professional Claire Abele

Claire Abele is one of hundreds of skilled GAI professionals who help clients create better communities, transportation infrastructure, energy generation and delivery, and more from our office locations throughout the United States. Today we’ll find out a little about what makes Claire tick—the background, motivation, and methods that she brings to the table every day for GAI and GAI’s clients.

Slide Name: Claire Abele
GAI Office Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Education: Bachelor and Master of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Dayton Hobbies/pastimes: Cooking, hiking, triathlons
On staff at GAI since 2022

Q: Please tell us a little about how you arrived at your area of specialization.

I specialize in water resources services for GAI’s energy clients. I joined GAI earlier this year, before which I completed four summer internships in water resources on my way to graduating with my MS in Civil Engineering. Within water resources I enjoy working on open-channel flow projects and especially working in modeling software. I played with Legos a lot as a kid, which got me to really enjoy building things, being creative, and problem solving. I like to think that translates into my work well, as I see this field as a great mix of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and art. The modeling aspect can add a bit of an artistic twist on what would otherwise be a STEM-heavy career. I think it’s that balance that intrigued me and drew me to this field.

Q: What role do you play at GAI, and what sorts of projects do you typically contribute to?

I work in GAI’s Power Generation business sector and right now, just starting out in my first post-graduate engineering job, I’m getting a good taste of the wide variety of GAI projects that involve water resources. My role has been to do a lot of markups on projects, research, and calculations. I’ve gotten the opportunity to do a lot of work in HEC-RAS and AutoCAD, software I’m familiar with, as well as learning new programs like HY-8 and Flow2D.

Q: Can you share something about yourself that people may be surprised to hear?

Most people might not know how passionate I am about reducing waste. I was on a team that started and grew the University of Dayton (UD) neighborhood composting program. It started as a farfetched idea—a small 30-house pilot program—and grew to accommodate composting for more than 100 houses and offices on UD’s campus. And I got the opportunity to present about it to UD donors and leaders, as well as presenting to sustainability leaders from around the world at the Global Conference for Sustainability in Higher Education.

GAI is filled with passionate people … focused on delivering consistent and quality products, fostering strong client relationships, and building a supportive company community.  

Q: How do you measure your success?

Well, since I’m fresh out of school I am still pretty used to other people measuring my success—so right now I’d consider my clients’ feedback as the most accurate way for me to measure my success. If they have really positive things to say, then I know I did a good job. Also, if they come back to me with more work, other projects, and ways to stretch my abilities and grow, I see that as a success as well.

Q: What do you like most about your job, and why do you feel GAI is a good place to put your skills to work?

The people, hands down. That’s something that drew me to GAI. I had heard about and met some of the GAI staff, and just felt very comfortable and welcomed. Coming fresh out of college where community was everything, I found myself searching for that environment in a workplace, and I found it at GAI. Everyone is enthusiastic about their work and willing to help, teach, and support each other.

GAI is filled with passionate people. As one who is passionate about water resources, environmental engineering, sustainability, and helping others, I feel like my passions align really well with those of the people around me. I think this creates a great atmosphere at GAI that is focused on delivering consistent and quality products, fostering strong client relationships, and building a supportive company community.

Contact Claire Abele at 412.399.5089 and find out more about GAI’s Stream and Wetland Restoration services—message GAI online and start the conversation about how our multidisciplinary professionals can meet your unique project needs.

Claire Abele has experience in flood resilience studies, stream feature inventory support, drainage systems, and permitting. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Dayton’s (UD) Honors Civil and Environmental Engineering Program. Claire continued her studies at UD by earning a Master of Science degree with a concentration in water resources, completing graduate coursework that included GIS, open channel flow, hydraulics, and hazardous waste management.


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