Kristina Swallow

Kristina Swallow


Nevada Department of Transportation

Las Vegas, NV USA

Remind yourself that life is all about choices—and you have control over those choices.


By Roadtrip Nation

Kristina Swallow


My road in life took a while to figure out.
I knew I wanted to be a civil engineer from a young age because my dad was a civil engineer, so I gained exposure to the work early on.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, moved to Las Vegas because of the promising job opportunities, and started working in flood control, land development, and traffic.
As I gained experience, I became curious about the regulations dictating civil engineering projects, so I applied for a fellowship in Washington, D.C., to learn more about transportation policy.
My fellowship ended after a year but I stayed for two more years and worked in surface transportation authorization—I really learned how hard it is to get legislation through all the negotiations.
When I came back home to Las Vegas, I worked for the City of Las Vegas and gained more experience in local municipal design.
After years of involving myself in volunteer work, I ran for president of the American Society of Civil Engineers—I was only the fourth female president and the first president from Nevada!
During the last nine months of my presidency, I decided to leave my job with the city so that I could focus all of my attention on the American Society of Civil Engineers.
After my presidency ended, I received the opportunity to work as the director of the Nevada Department of Transportation—I’ve loved the work since my first day on the job!
Keep following my journey



I direct the planning, design, construction, and operation of the state's transportation system.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Helping People

Day to Day

My day includes a lot of meetings and preparation. The issues being discussed are largely big picture policy items and not the tactical day-to-day decisions, though some of those happen too. The focus is on how to best spend the limited resources we have (primarily human and funding) to ensure that the state's transportation system is best meeting the needs of everyone using it.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

Meet with an engineer and ask what they do and why. Then meet another and ask the same questions. Our career is very broad so while one area may not be interesting to you, another might exactly line up with your passion.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:


The Noise I Shed

From Peers:

"You switch jobs too frequently. You're intimidating."

Challenges I Overcame

Work-Life Balance

Interviewed By

All In

All In

Innovative careers in Nevada’s historic industries