Reflections on Advancing Civilization

Reflections on Advancing Civilization

April 2, 2015

Authored by Erin Kitzmiller, a civil engineer in CH2M’s transportation group who will serve as the Project Manager for on the Gasura, Rwanda bridge build in June 2015. Erin received her bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Penn State in 2012 and has spent the past three years working for CH2M in the ports group in Philadelphia and the highways group in Denver.

Erin will serve as project manager for the Bridges to Prosperity 60 meter suspension bridge to be built on this site in Gasabo-Gasuro, Rwanda in June 2015.

Erin will serve as project manager for the Bridges to Prosperity 60 meter suspension bridge to be built on this site in Gasabo-Gasuro, Rwanda in June 2015.

The CH2M Foundation is partnering with the non-profit Bridges to Prosperity to construct two pedestrian suspension bridges in Rwanda and Nicaragua during the summer of 2015. The bridges will be built by CH2M volunteers who applied for the highly-competitive roles on these skills-based volunteer projects.

Subscribe to this blog to continue following the team and progress on the Gasura and Rancheria bridges. 

I am typing this from my standup desk in the air-conditioned, well-lit CH2M office in the outskirts of Metropolitan Denver. I easily can grab a glass of clean water from the faucet in the kitchen, help myself to leftovers from a catered meeting, and charge my smartphone from the outlet in my cubicle. I took a shower this morning from the comforts of my own home (while singing poorly, I might add), safely crossed paved roads at signalized intersections, and hopped onto the light rail without looking up once from my Kindle application on which I am reading A Thousand Hills to Heaven by Josh Ruxin. It is so easy to neglect these luxuries in my daily routine. I rest my mug back onto my USB-powered coffee-warmer which is connected to my laptop.

As sad as it sounds, maybe the only reason I am noticing these things is because my life is about to change in ten weeks. I will be much more concerned with the safety of my colleagues as we construct a bridge thirty-five times the length of our bodies than I will about my daily Twitter feed. I am not ungrateful for the privileges and opportunities available to me each day, but I know that after my trip to Rwanda my mentality will be forever transformed.

Kitzmiller_Bungee_HusbandIt is so crucial that we give back to those around the world who do not have access to clean water or sanitation, cannot commute to their jobs due to natural barriers, or cannot read the news due to lack of an education. Worst of all, some of these people cannot even receive food or medical care due to their community’s isolation. I want to change that, and I have never been prouder to stand alongside my professional teammates in allowing a society in rural Africa to thrive.

Upon hearing the news that I was selected as the Project Manager for the Rwanda bridge build, I was elated, of course, but I am the first to admit that I am intimidated by the task at hand. A natural-born “studier,” I was the first to grill Reece Bishop (last year’s La Conga Project Manager) with questions surrounding the design process and the role’s expectations. My nightly reading material is the Bridge Design Manual, and I am constantly looking up pictures and videos of the project area to familiarize myself with the Gasabo District. No matter how much I prepare before the trip, I realize that the most notable and defining moments will be recorded on-the-job.

Kitzmiller_presentingI am so thankful to work for CH2M which provides me the resources to better myself by bettering others. It is time that I venture out of my comfort zone and throw myself into challenging realms. It is time that I think long and hard about how fortunate I am each day. It is time that we, as members of the human race, do our part in advancing civilization and taking care of one another.





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April 2015


  1. Denise Mamrak

    Congratulations Erin. I am so proud of you!. If you ever want to contact Adam, let me know. He did work in Brazil for a while. It was challenging "roughing it". I don't think he was as far remote as you will be. Good luck and stay safe! i know you will do an excellent job!

  2. Dan Salazar

    Nice! Well-written, Erin. I'm sure you'll do a fantastic job.

  3. Haluk Camcigil

    Congratulations on being selected as PM Erin. I wish you and the team all the best!

  4. Ken Gilman

    Good luck, stay safe and keep us posted.

  5. G Niyonshuti

    We welcome you, Erin. in the country of thousand hills&beauties (Rwanda), we also thank B2P for their support and work that you are offering specifically to the rural Rwanda. You are really developing my country, thumb up! Erin., we wish you all the best in your Gasura bridge construction works.

  6. Melissa Burgh

    Congratulations, Erin! I look forward to following this blog and hearing about this great adventure. What a fantastic opportunity to use your talents to help those who need it most.

  7. Arun Bhosle

    Erin, Congratulations!

  8. Arun Bhosle

    Erin, Congratulations! A well written article and am so proud of your accomplishments. Keep it up!

  9. Sal Mensah

    Congrats Erin! Best of luck and I'm positive you'll be successful in this inspiring endeavor.

  10. Emily Dowling

    Congrats Erin - wishing you all the best on this amazing adventure!

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