Skip to main content

Katherine Holtz PE

Bio photo of Katherine Holtz PE

Design Build Program Manager @ Texas Department of Transportation

I standardize process and procedures across our $25 billion dollar program. We put together mega highway projects, procure developers to design and build them, provide oversight and compliance review during design and construction and maintenance and operations. I troubleshoot design, construction and maintenance issues and oversee our quality program. I am in meetings about 60% of my time, usually giving advice and coordinating activities.

How I Got Here

Undergraduate Degree(s): Civil Engineering
Favorite class(es): Chemistry
Moving from college to career:

I started my career at TxDOT. I held 5 very different jobs (contract administration, materials engineer, design engineer, construction engineer and division director) over 20 years. Then I decided to try consulting where I worked for 5 firms in 13 years, mostly starting up engineering firms that were established elsewhere in Texas. I helped win $25 million dollar contracts to perform quality oversight for the owners of mega design build highway projects all over the U.S. I became a business developer more than a technical engineer, but my undergraduate degree was very important.

Career influences:

My dad said I could do anything I wanted. I knew I was good at math and enjoyed science and I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on a college degree and then not be able to find a job or not get paid well. I went to an engineering conference my freshman year in college and really liked the job opportunities I heard about. I was sold. I have never regretted it.

The Ups and Downs


I build roads which are the backbone of the U.S. Economy. I find better, more efficient and less expensive ways to do that. I am a public servant and what I do is not all about making money, like it is in the consulting world. It is very fulfilling.

Working with the state legislature can be frustrating. I travel some but not too much.

The pay is not great as in consulting but I get a lot of vacation and good benefits. I hire a lot of consulting engineering firms. My salary is way above the average for most people



I graduated with a C average. I think my communication skills and personality made me more attractive to employers than my technical skills. All of my A student friends ended up working for me! A lot of engineers end up in management and administration after 5 years. Use your vision to improve whatever you are working on. Don't just do it they way it's always been done.

Interested in this Career?

Learn more about careers in:

Your major does not always determine your career path. Many graduates pursue careers outside their field, depending on their interests and experiences.


It’s not just your major that matters! Make yourself marketable by gaining a variety of experiences in college. Read a few inspiring stories by professionals whose experiences led to great careers.

Contact a Texas Career Engagement career counselor today to find out how you can turn your major into a career.