Meet Wilson & Company's Women Shareholders

Meet Wilson & Company’s Women Shareholders

Wilson & Company is proud to be an employee-owned firm with an incredible group of diverse shareholders. We asked the women in this group, Amy Moran, Amy Straquadine, Audra Gallegos, Brenda Bevington, Brigitte Fuller, Catherine Cochrane, Leslie Romero, and Stefany Barone, about their professional journeys with Wilson & Company and their experiences as employee-owners. They offer insight into personal accomplishments and growth throughout their careers. Each woman lets passion and endless support be the framework for their success as they overcome professional challenges. These strong women continue to create value and conquer adversity through their work, fulfilling our company’s purpose of accomplishing great things. Meet our amazing group of women shareholders and embrace their leadership as they continue to pave the path for other women professionals.

How long have you been at Wilson & Company?

Leslie: I have been with the company going on 16 years. I started as a college intern, was hired full-time upon graduation, and have been around ever since!

Stefany Barone with her husband, daughters and grandson
Stefany Barone with her husband, daughters, and grandson

Stefany: Just shy of 5 years (June 26 is my 5-year anniversary)

Amy M: I joined Wilson & Company in 2004. Between 2004 and 2009, I worked part-time and completely remote (which was uncommon at that time!), which afforded me the flexibility to stay at home and raise my children. In 2009, when my youngest started kindergarten, I transitioned to full-time, in-office work.

Describe your experience at Wilson & Company.

Brigitte Fuller prioritizes a healthy outdoor lifestyle
Brigitte Fuller prioritizes a healthy outdoor lifestyle

Brigitte: I started at Wilson & Company as a project engineer in training, working for Dan Aguirre. I began managing projects soon after obtaining my PE registration. Most of the projects I have worked on involve roadways, stormwater, and site civil from planning and design through construction. In 2000, I was part of the team that managed a group in the Rio Rancho office. In 2014, I started the Las Cruces office and, in 2020, the El Paso office.

Amy S: I started at Wilson & Company as an HR Generalist. I worked my way up within the team over the years. In 2019, I was promoted to HR Manager and have had the opportunity to continue to grow the team and expand our strategic impact on the firm to support our firmwide initiatives and Growth Vision.

Catherine: I feel very fulfilled, valued, and respected at Wilson & Company. I have been offered opportunities for growth and development, meaningful relationships with colleagues, a supportive work environment, and a sense of accomplishment and purpose in my work and my department’s work.

Leslie: I have always enjoyed working with Wilson & Company. Working with the transportation group in the Albuquerque office has always included a close team that I consider extended family. I have grown my knowledge in this profession by working with amazing engineers. This knowledge has led me to project management and sharing my knowledge with junior staff. The clients we get to work with, the projects we get to design, and the final product of our projects have always been an inspiration to me and the continued growth of my career with the company.

What does being a shareholder mean to you, and why is that important?

Amy Straquadine and her husband are expecting their first child this year
Amy Straquadine and her husband are expecting their first child this year

Audra: Being a shareholder means having a seat at the table. Engineering is a male-dominated field, and having women at the table helps bring different perspectives and experiences. It is important to have women in leadership roles to help mentor and encourage other women.

Amy S: Being a shareholder is a wonderful opportunity and one that I consider fortunate to have. To be in a corporate support role and not a technical expert in engineering or architecture, the opportunity to be a shareholder and be seen as a strategic partner is a great honor and something I take seriously. To have a voice and contribute to the firm’s vision, growth, and future to create opportunities for others and positively impact our communities is very special.

Catherine: Being a shareholder is important because it allows me to participate in the growth, change, and success of Wilson & Company. It offers me a sense of ownership and pride in being part of that success. It also gives me a voice in decisions and the company’s direction. It has been a very rewarding experience for me.

Amy M: There are a few rewarding aspects of being a shareholder at Wilson & Company.  One is the opportunity to collaborate with other shareholders to create a vision for our company’s growth. Another is the responsibility of embodying Wilson & Company’s culture of Higher Relationships.  I also hope that, as a shareholder, I am an inspiration and resource for other growing professionals.

Have you overcome any challenges in your career, and how?

Leslie Romero pictured with her family, including her three-year-old and eight-month-old children
Leslie Romero pictured with her family

Leslie: I think the biggest challenge for me recently has been finding a work/home balance. I am a mom of a 3-year-old and an 8-month-old, and life gets cRaZy! With these current events, I have always been supported by those in the office. Keeping an open line of communication with my boss and my team has always been my way of overcoming this challenge.

Brenda: There have been plenty of challenges, but the biggest one for me was learning how to have a good work-life balance…the hard way. As a perfectionist and someone who desires to make things easier for others, I found it difficult to step away and make time for myself. I felt that taking “me time” was selfish and I should use that time to be “productive.” A few years ago, I had to overcome a complete burnout that impacted my health and well-being. I placed too much weight on my responsibilities, and over time, it eventually took a toll. However, that experience made me really understand that prioritizing myself and taking more time to enjoy activities outside of work made me that much more effective in my professional role. That experience taught me a lot and helped me to grow as a person and a businesswoman. It also inspired me to write and publish a book.

Catherine: I think we all have challenges during our careers. I have overcome challenges by seeking support and guidance from mentors, colleagues, and other professionals in accounting and finance. I also try to remain positive and maintain a growth mindset, using challenges as opportunities for learning and growth rather than obstacles.

Brigitte: Starting up two new offices has had its share of challenges. Getting talented staff on board and reaching out to leadership as needed has worked for us. Las Cruces will be celebrating being open for ten years in 2024!

Amy Moran, pictured with family at her wedding
Amy Moran, pictured with family at her wedding

What is important to you outside of work?

Audra: My family. My husband, Adrian, is really supportive of me and my ambitions. We have two daughters, Adalyn (6 years old) and Alannah (4 years old). They are my why. I want to be a good role model for them and show them that women can do anything they put their minds to.

Amy S: My husband and I spend a lot of time working on improvements to our home (and when I say we, I am his biggest cheerleader as he completes home projects 😊) and spending time with our families and friends. We also have a 4-year-old Corgi/Australian Shepherd mix that keeps us on our toes.

Brenda: First and foremost, my family. I’m blessed to have a great family that supports me in all that I do. I also have a lot of interests outside of the office – painting, writing, playing the piano, and traveling. My mother lives abroad, and I try to visit as often as I can. One of my favorite places in the world is La Chocolatera, a rocky coastline on the westernmost point of Ecuador. I could spend the entire day listening to the sound of the ocean and watching the waves crash against the shoreline. Many of my paintings over the last several years have been inspired by this incredibly beautiful place.

Brenda Bevington at La Chocolatera, a coastline in Ecuador
Brenda Bevington at La Chocolatera, a coastline in Ecuador

What has your experience at Wilson & Company been like?

Audra Gallegos with her husband and two daughters
Audra Gallegos with her husband and two daughters

Audra: Wilson & Company has been there for me through all my professional and personal accomplishments: college graduation, passing my FE and PE, marriage, kids, moving up in my career, and becoming a shareholder. I can honestly say that my managers and coworkers at Wilson & Company have become my family and are some of my biggest cheerleaders.

Stefany: Having worked at six other A/E firms, small to extra-large, they have a mission; we have a purpose. I really never connected to the mission they were words. Here, I feel, hear, and am inspired by our purpose because our culture of Higher Relationships and its core values are an organic and genuine part of our everyday discussions. It is who we are, not a marketing tagline. I say that because in my past life, the “mission” and “core values” changed every few years, especially at the larger firms.

Amy M: Working at Wilson & Company is a bit like working with family and friends. I have built strong relationships with so many individuals across the company. People really do care about you as a person, not just as an employee or co-worker.

Brigitte: It’s exciting to see how Wilson & Company has grown and to be a part of that. It’s also fulfilling to see how we make a difference in the communities we work in.

When asked what other information they’d like to share, our shareholders spoke about finding value in the company’s purpose and gave advice to other women advancing their careers.

Catherine Cochrane and her daughter
Catherine Cochrane and her daughter

Audra: Some words of advice that I always like to share find women mentors in the industry. It is great to find someone to talk through any challenges you face because they most likely have been through it. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions helps you learn. The more you learn, the further you will get in your career. Say and do things with confidence.

Stefany: Our purpose is timeless. As we grow, and I am talking diversity in our staff, our craft, and our services, our purpose will hold true because “we bring people together to practice their craft, to create value, and to accomplish great things.” I feel a true, genuine connection to our purpose and seriously share ownership in keeping our purpose and culture of Higher Relationships at our core. It is a differentiator, and I am proud to be part of the Wilson & Company organization.

Brenda: If I had to give advice to other women looking to build a successful career, it would be this. Be tenacious. Dream big and work hard, but also be patient and kind to yourself. Life is meant to be lived, and each moment can be a gift if you choose to value the journey as much as the destination. Remember that the toughest moments are the ones where you have the most to learn and the most to gain. And finally… don’t forget to have fun!


About Wilson & Company Inc., Engineers & Architects

Wilson & Company, Inc., Engineers & Architects, has brought more than 700 people together in 15 offices over nine states to build Higher Relationships through discipline, intensity, collaboration, shared ownership, and solutions with our clients, partners, and communities. After 90 years of business, professionals continue to hone their craft with us, including civil, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering; architecture; planning; biology; surveying; mapping; GIS specializations; drone piloting; financial analyses; program management; construction administration and observation; and a growing number of multi-disciplinary specialties. We seek to create value for a diverse client base, including federal and municipal governments, public transportation agencies, railroad companies, industrial and commercial corporations, and private developers.

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