This Women in Subro blog series highlights powerhouse women in the industry while discussing leadership, management, and success in subrogation. In our interview with Michelle Feduccia, Senior Engineer with JS Held, LLC, we recognized that her success has aligned with her hard work and passion for science.
She has been mistaken as the bagel delivery person and has been “mansplained” while on the roof of a building performing an infrared survey, but she is a Professional Engineer specializing in forensic investigations involving construction defect, moisture intrusion, and property/infrastructure damage. Michelle is passionate about the investigative aspect of forensic work. She has worked hard to get where she is and appreciates the guidance and leadership from others at JS Held.
Q: Are you doing your childhood dream job?
A: Initially, I wanted to be an astronaut. But after realizing I was afraid of the endless vast area of space, I switched to wanting to be a scientist. In that end, yes, I am doing my childhood dream job.
Q: How do you describe your job to friends and family?
A: It is basically reverse engineering. Instead of building something, I am analyzing it and taking it apart to see what went wrong. Subrogation is that deep dive into something that went wrong and finding who is responsible.
Q: Do you have a funny subro story to share?
A: Not a lot of “funny” happens in my line of work; sometimes just awkward encounters. On one case, I walked up to the loss site for the joint investigation and the other side’s attorney, not realizing I was the lead engineer, asked if I was delivering the bagels from Panera Bread.
Q: What is the most exciting part of your job?
A: When all the pieces of evidence line up and I find the “smoking gun.”
Q: How have you excelled in the industry?
A: Hard work and dedication. I started as an intern while still in school. I worked hard for each next step, and now a Senior Engineer and the North & Central Florida Forensic Architecture & Engineering Area Lead, managing 13 people.
Q: How important is mentorship to your career?
A: Absolutely necessary; can’t do this alone. A great mentor is someone who listens, helps you grow, and pushes you. Robin Davies and Dave Compton from JS Held have done that for me.
Q: Do you have any tech tips for workplace efficiency?
A: For digital data collection, I use iPads, 360 cameras, Matterport, and Holobuilder.
Q: Do you see the fields of construction and engineering as male dominant fields?
A: Yes, but I see it changing. I graduated as only one of three women in my engineering department, but at JS Held, we have a Diversity and Inclusion Counsel to make sure female engineers are represented in the company. In fact, our head of engineering is female- Emily Wohlfarth, Executive Vice President and Forensic Architecture & Engineering Practice Lead. This shows great change in the industry and the commitment by my company to diversity and inclusion.
Q: Do you have an example of when a male colleague or team member “mansplained” for you?
A: This seems to happen every day. One example is when I was on a roof performing an infrared survey, and the opposing construction expert came over to explain to me how an engineer would do an infrared inspection. I told him, he was actually right in the middle of one and to move out of my way.
We appreciate Michelle’s straight forward approach to her work and no none-sense when it comes to gender inequality in the industry. Cozen O’Connor thanks Michelle Feduccia for this interview and for being a true leader in subrogation. You can catch her presenting at the 2022 NASP Annual Conference in November in her home state of Florida.
Stay tuned for the next post highlighting another prominent subro leader.