Civil Engineering is a branch of professional engineering that specifically pertains to construction, maintenance and design. Although civil engineering has been around forever, it is credited with beginning between 4000 and 2000 BC in the areas of Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization and Mesopotamia. The ingenuity these early villages provided stemmed from civilization’s need for stronger stability, as opposed to their former nomadic lifestyle. In the first hundreds of years or so, early engineers developed shelter structures and began the creation of transportational objects, such as the wheel. Eventually, the inventiveness and creativity of civil engineers grew to be so vast that ‘Civil Engineering’ ended up branching off into several subdisciplines. These include, but are not limited, to environmental, coastal, transportational, municipal and constructional. Jobs in the civil engineering field span across the country and vary in paygrades, duties and progress. Despite the broadness and vast history of the subject, civil engineering has proven and continued to be one of the most important fields of study in present-day society.
A local example of an innovative and imperative civil engineer is Bradley County’s own Sandra Collins. As the incumbent Bradley County Road Superintendent, Mrs. Collins has served in Bradley County for over twenty-five years with almost eighteen of those years serving as the Bradley County Engineer. In this position, Mrs.Collins oversaw and planned for various projects and services, including county building maintenance and contract management. She also assisted in establishing partnerships with the Bradley County Road Department to build and realign roads. In addition, she initialized the institution of the elevator in the Courthouse Annex Building to allow the county to use more of their property. In conclusion, Sandra Collins’ role as Bradley County Engineer was vital to the growth and improvement of the county and its infrastructure.
Once Mrs. Collins’ husband, Tom Collins, retired from the Road Department, she chose to campaign for the office. For three and a half years, Mrs. Collins has managed the Bradley County Road Department. The Road Department maintains all roads in Bradley County and some state roads as well. The department also leads realigning, building and paving projects. Mrs. Collins frequently utilizes engineering subjects, such as science and mathematics, to organize and accomplish these endeavors. Ordering supplies for her department requires specific calculations pertaining to quantity, square footage and the measurements of the slopes of inclines and right-of-ways. This means her math skills must be readily available at any given time. In addition, the Road Department requires the usage of Chemistry for piping and tiles. Roadway drainage tiles are large cylindrical tubes, usually made of plastic, metal or cement, that assist with drainage and the daily maintenance of roads and driveways. For example, farming chemicals cause roadway tiles to rust, so Mrs. Collins must assess the surroundings of the roadway to accurately repair and replace the drain. This task can be very difficult or relatively easy, depending on the situation. Regardless, it must be done properly so the roadway is safe and functional. Mrs. Collins also develops plans for the cultivation of new roadways, and for new, more efficient ways to maintain roads in Bradley County.