Meet Our People: GAI Geotechnical Engineering Professional Abeera Batool

Abeera Batool, PE, PhD 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 Abeera—the background, motivation, and methods that she brings to the table every day for GAI and GAI’s clients.

Slide Name: Abeera Batool
GAI Office Location: Cranberry, PA
Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan
Education: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan; Master of Science and PhD in Civil Engineering with focus on Geotechnical Engineering, Virginia Tech, VA
Professional Licenses: Professional Engineer (PE) in CA Hobbies/Pastimes: Reading, traveling, interfaith advocacy, watching sports
- Member of the GeoProfessional Business Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee
- Member of Deep Foundation Institute’s Women in Deep Foundation committee
- Member of GAI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
- On staff at GAI since 2015

Abeera Batool

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

Abeera Batool: I am a Geotechnical Engineer and I have been practicing for over 8 years. The impact of natural disasters on infrastructure and human life is what drew me to geotechnical engineering in the first place. A massive 7.6 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan in 2005 while I was doing my undergraduate studies there. Entire villages were buried, and more than 100,000 people lost their lives. I visited the affected areas as a part of relief efforts, and I was deeply disturbed by the destruction—this motivated me to learn more about natural disasters and mitigation measures that can be taken against them. This eventually led me to pursue graduate studies, where I was fortunate to work on better understanding and improving levee protection systems.

Before starting my career, I was a research assistant at Virginia Tech (go Hokies!) where my PhD research focused on advanced underseepage analyses of levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I now work on a wide variety of projects within the realm of geotechnical engineering in which I get to be a part of teams that develop solutions directly related to infrastructure safety and disaster prevention.

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

Abeera: I am fortunate to have a mix of technical and task-management responsibilities that gives me ample opportunity to grow and learn. I have been involved in a wide variety of projects here at GAI. Some of the projects include site characterization, analysis of coal refuse impoundments to support safe disposal, design of foundations and retaining walls for bridge abutments, and development of roadway recommendations. I also work on designing foundations for transmission lines, stability analyses for landslides, and mitigation measures for landslides and earthquakes.

Q: What does your typical day at GAI look like?

Abeera: My typical day starts with a cup of coffee and ends with a cup of tea. In between, every day is a little different depending on the projects that I am working on and my after-work activities. Typically, I catch up with news first thing in the morning, then move on to making a list of things that I want to accomplish that day, coordinating and collaborating with my colleagues on projects that we are working on together, and reaching out to clients for project updates. I also try to set aside a little bit of time each day to catch up on activities with the professional organizations I volunteer with, participate in any professional-development events, and seek networking opportunities.

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?

Abeera: I enjoy all aspects of my job but working with people of different backgrounds and experiences is one of my favorites. Brainstorming with my team members to solve complex problems is a lot of fun.

From a technical perspective, I think the special thing about geotechnical engineering is that we deal with natural materials like soils and rocks, and the variability associated with them. We may encounter entirely different geotechnical conditions just 100 feet apart. This makes for challenges that help keep my work from becoming repetitive. I may design the same foundation type for various projects, but each project is unique in its ground conditions and requires a fresh perspective. I really like that about my job: I cannot become complacent thinking that I have done identical work before. The complex and variable nature of the materials we deal with as geotechnical engineers keeps me on my toes.

I cannot become complacent thinking that I have done identical work before. The complex and variable nature of the materials we deal with as geotechnical engineers keeps me on my toes.

GAI offers an excellent environment for doing multidiscipline, client-focused work. Our range of services enables us to develop front-to-back solutions and to be involved throughout the project process, seeing things from start to finish. On the corporate culture side, GAI prioritizes performance recognition and is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion as demonstrated through the establishment of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee.

Q: How do you feel that the job you do at GAI benefits the community and the world?

Abeera: The geotechnical engineering work I do makes an important contribution to the bridges people cross, the electricity they receive through transmission lines, the stability of their homes and the buildings where they work, and much more. My practice also helps protect people and infrastructure from natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and landslides. Taken together, this means that my colleagues and I help make a difference in people’s lives at the most elementary level, and this makes my job very rewarding indeed.

Contact Abeera at 412.399.5138 and find out more about message GAI online and start the conversation about how our multidiscipline professionals can meet your unique project needs.  

Abeera BatoolAbeera Batool specializes in various aspects of geotechnical engineering including site characterization, developing geotechnical design parameters, design of shallow and deep foundations, retaining walls, and support of excavations. Abeera’s expertise includes advanced seepage and loading rate analyses of upstream constructed tailings dams, including stability and seismic evaluations. She also has experience in design of landslide remediations, management of geotechnical information for green infrastructure projects, and providing on-site construction supervision.

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