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Who Said Engineers are Boring?
by Anca Neagu (Engineer)
December 5, 2011


(DEC 5)  I started training in 1999 (two years after obtaining my Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin) and competed in boxing between 2000 and 2005. During this time, I won the San Antonio golden gloves three times, won 2 silver medals (one at USA Nationals, one at Pal Nationals), and 2 bronze medals (USA Nationals). I competed on the US National Team in 2000 in a dual meet with Russia (won the first fight while also braking my nose; and lost the second fight while boxing with the broken nose), and in 2005 at the World Championships in Russia (lost to the Canadian champion). I am very honored to have competed with some outstanding women boxers and have been part of an amazingly talented National Boxing team. Most people have no idea how good these boxers are.

While these accomplishments speak for themselves, I am also proud of my career as a Civil Engineer. I was an engineer before I was a boxer. All the training for boxing competitions had to be done after work and on weekends. Also, the two weeks of vacation given by employers were spent competing in boxing (not your usual definition of vacation!).

In 2003, I passed the 8-hour Professional Engineering exam (second 8-hour exam required to obtain the license), and obtained my Professional Engineering license.
I have to mention that some of my motivation for success, both in boxing and my professional career, had been reactions received from people. The reaction I got from almost everybody was “but you don’t look like a boxer!”. Or the looks and comments (some very negative) I got when I went to work with a black eye, busted lip, or broken nose. Even though some of these comments were unpleasant to hear, I am thankful for them because these comments made me work harder and get better, both in engineering and boxing. See, becoming a Professional Engineer, is a long and challenging road, but, the likely “brain damage” (according to some people) sustained from boxing must have made it even more challenging.

By the way, I don’t believe that boxing hurt my professional career because of the thousands of punches to the head taken. However, I find it interesting to think that, after all the “brain damage” suffered, I was still able to pass a difficult 8-hour engineering test, the one test that all engineers hope and strive to pass, the one test that defines their careers. I think that means there is a good chance I still have some brain cells left!!!

I started my Civil Engineering consulting firm in 2009 (Neagu Civil Engineering LLC, see website at www.n-ce.com), after being part of the massive layoffs in the construction industry. I am still using my last few good brain cells to design water and gas lines, storm sewers, detention ponds, roads, cell tower sites,…; also to analyze likelihood and level of flooding near new construction,…etc. I still run into prejudice (against women engineers, and women’s boxing) from some people, but that’s no problem, I still get things done, with or without prejudice.

Looking forward to watching more and more women’s boxing live and on TV. In the meantime, youtube works well too.

My accomplishments in boxing would have never been possible without, first and most of all, coach Rudy Vasquez with Vasquez Academy. In addition, I also received outstanding training at Richard Lord's Gym and Pan Am Recreation Center in Austin Texas.

Anca Neagu, P.E.

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