ANGOLA – Since she first took a job as pre-treatment coordinator with the Angola Wastewater Department, Amanda Cope has had her mind set on becoming the city engineer.
With the retirement of past city engineer Bill Boyer at the end of June, Cope got her wish.
“I told them in my job interview for pre-treatment coordinator my goal was to be the engineer,” she said.
Originally, Cope decided to go to college at Ball State University for architecture, but she found it was “too right-brained” for her. She was on a scholarship to Ball State for track and field in the throwing events.
She recalled a project in which they had to create a pavilion and present it. Hers, she said, was fine but not great. The girl behind her designed hers completely out of glass, nothing else. When asked how to actually build it, the girl said “not my problem” and Cope didn’t like that answer.
As someone who enjoys math and financial work, such as financial planning, Cope decided to change her major and pursue a degree in finance at Ball State instead.
She graduated and worked in banking for a bit, but she didn’t enjoy all the cold-calling her job required as she said she doesn’t have the personality for that.
At age 23, she finally listened to what her mom had been telling her since she was 18 or 19 and decided to go back to college to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
“I didn’t want to go away to school again,” she said.
Since she was living back at home in Angola at the time, she decided attending Tri-State University, now Trine, would be the best fit. It was at Tri-State she completed her bachelor’s in civil engineering.
But Cope wasn’t done with college just yet.
She later completed a master’s in civil engineering at Purdue University.
Cope is also a professional engineer, or P.E. In order to earn this license, she had to gain four years of experience as an engineer, pass two extensive exams and obtain her license from the state licensing board.
After completing her master’s degree, she worked for a private consultant in Fort Wayne, spending roughly three years at that job. At the time, she’d wanted a job that kept her close to the area while her siblings were growing up, as family means a great deal to her.
“I really like the small town atmosphere,” she said.
When an opening for a full-time position came up in Angola with the city, she knew she had to go for it.
Up to that point, she’d been commuting an hour one way each day for her job in Fort Wayne.
It was at that interview she told the city she had the eventual goal of becoming the engineer and that she’d work her way there.
Engineering isn’t the only thing occupying Cope’s life. She also coaches track and field at Trine University in the same events she competed in as an athlete.
The season runs from September through the end of May, so she said it keeps her busy and uses a large chunk of her evenings and weekends. However, as a big sports person she doesn’t mind.
Her passion for sports, especially track, is one she’s never lost.
Cope said she plans to continue living and working in Angola.
“I love working for the city and being here where I grew up,” she said.
Cope is one of two female municipal engineers in Steuben County. The other is Steuben County Highway Engineer Jennifer Sharkey.