Ryan Medley is our featured employee of the month! A civil site design graduate, Ryan’s work entails figuring out project constraints based on purpose and what regulations govern it, creating and improving designs, and drafting everything into specific plans. Ryan first learned about Sain from Becky White, through church at Vestavia Hills Baptist. Ryan interned with Sain and was then offered a full-time position after graduating. One of her favorite things about working for Sain is how close of a community they are, celebrating each other’s successes and helping each other out during hard times.

We asked Ryan a few more questions to get to know her better…


Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

A: I am a recent civil engineering graduate from the University of Alabama.  I’ve lived in Birmingham for most of my life and have loved it, so I always pictured myself staying here after school.  I knew for a while that I wanted to be a civil engineer, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to site work in my classes that I knew I wanted to focus on that aspect of civil engineering.

I was actually employed at Sain Associates a couple of summers ago as an intern and got to cycle around the different departments, including the site team which I’m now in. This May I’ll be celebrating my second anniversary working full-time at Sain.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your family.

A: I’m very close to my family and love spending time with them whenever
I can.  I have a younger sister, Olivia, who attends Auburn while I graduated from Alabama, so we’re a household divided.
I also have a nine-year old fur baby named Bella, who is a miniature schnauzer.

Q:  Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us?

A: I can speak intermediate-level German from having studied it for five years in high school and college. I don’t study German formally anymore, but I still practice speaking it with my sister who has studied it for as long.

Q: What three words to best describe you?

A: Independent.  Creative.  Inquisitive.

Q: What are your top 3 life highlights?

A: Getting Bella, my first dog.  She’s like a best friend to me and I can’t imagine what life would be like without her.  Graduating from Alabama two Mays ago has been one of my proudest life achievements and was the culmination of many years of hard work.  Being hired by Sain Associates full-time was also a major highlight, especially after
I enjoyed doing a summer internship with them previously.

Q: What are your hopes for our industry?

A: I hope we can incorporate more environmental sustainability into our
work.  I think engineers today have a duty that’s becoming increasingly important to protect what resources we have for the generations ahead, even though it may not be a popular choice.  I see so many people my age, even outside of the engineering discipline get excited about unique, green solutions that I hope we will use more in the future.

Q: What aspect of your role do you enjoy the most?

A: I love the problem-solving aspect of design work and the challenge of
balancing what are often several conflicting needs.  At the end of the
day, it’s nice to feel like my work contributes in a meaningful way to
my community and its needs.

Q: What book did you read last?

A: I’ve just finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It’s a nice read for anyone interested in the surrealism or fantasy genres.

Q: What did you want to be when growing up?

A: For a few years I wanted to be an architect, which seems to be a common answer for civil engineers. I was most interested in historical architecture styles, which unfortunately, aren’t in high demand today. Civil engineering felt like a good fit for me since it relied on math and sciences but had a practical aspect to it. It has been satisfying to see that the work I do every day produces tangible results, sometimes in my own community.

Q:  What do you like to do in your spare time?

A: I love learning new skills and doing anything that lets me work with my hands, such as arts and crafts, baking, or home DIY projects. Recently, I’ve learned how to reupholster furniture as an alternative to buying brand new furniture.

Q: What is your favorite sport? Team?

A: Football is my favorite sport to watch and I cheer for my alma mater’s team, the Crimson Tide.

Q: What is your hidden talent? 

A: Some people would be surprised to know that I’m a decent artist. I mostly draw or paint, and my favorite subject matter is landscapes and cityscapes.