Tuesday, November 21st, 2017


From Portland, OR to Dallas, TX

by Candace Sy and Chris Thompson

Candace Sy is a structural engineer with catena consulting engineers. She previously worked for catena from 2014 – 2016, but rejoined the team in April 2017 and began working full-time from her home office in Dallas, TX. This marked a new journey for both Candace and catena. Here is a sneak peek into the life of a remote employee and how it benefits both Candace and catena.

“When catena offered me a remote position in Dallas, I knew exactly how lucky I was. It is almost unheard of for a structural engineer to work remotely full-time, let alone in a completely different state. It was made clear to me that, as technology continues to change our working landscape, catena will be at the forefront of innovation for the building industry. Our company wants to be open to non-conventional ideas, and allowing employees to work remotely is a step in that direction.



I am really grateful that catena was willing to work with my location and schedule, and my coworkers continue to help me with any issues that I find while working 1,000 miles away, whether that be technical or logistical issues. There is no absence of resources, mentors, sounding-boards, or chat partners for me to call upon.

Communication with our clients is just as it had been when I was in the Portland office previously. Architects and contractors have access to me through mobile or email, and vice versa. The only aspects I miss out on are the in-person meetings and site visits that help connect vision to finished product. Thankfully, my colleagues in the Portland office fill that role in my absence. Additionally, I semi-regularly make the trip from Dallas to Portland. These trips are intended to coincide with important deadlines and planned site visits; and catching up with the office is nice too.”



Chris Thompson, Principal at catena, was more than happy to have Candace back on board. He believes catena benefits greatly with her on the team, even working remotely.

“When Candace left in 2016, we pitched the idea of her being a remote employee. The timing didn’t work out then, but through a turn of events, Candace rejoined the team in Spring of 2017. Since then, through a deliberate plan of communication and connections, Candace is contributing to many of our projects.

I believe that a great company starts with great employees. In the changing world that is ever more competitive for engineering talent, we need to re-think the traditional norms of the workplace to obtain and retain talent. Flexible hours, an open workspace, and remote employment are but a few of the ways catena is challenging the norms to attract and retain top structural engineering talent. We’re happy to have Candace as an integral member of our team!”


Photo Credit: Matthew Honda

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