Natalina and her family immigrated to the United States from Italy when she was three years old. Hard laborers who built businesses by devoting themselves to their work, her parents instilled in her and her two sisters a tireless work ethic which she still considers part of her life fabric today. “My dad was in construction and us girls helped him with the work,“ she said. “They both taught us that you could succeed, if you worked hard enough and put your mind to it.”

Civil engineering seemed a logical choice for Natalina since she was interested in the math and sciences fields. Her first position out of college was working for the City of Alameda. “I learned so much because I was able to do a lot of design work and got a lot of concentrated training,” she said. “It was a great first job.”

After a geographical move necessitated leaving that position, she found home on BKF’s San Jose office staff. That was 30 years ago. She says, “as with everything, it doesn’t seem nearly that long.” And while she has seen a tremendous amount of growth at the firm over the years, she claims that BKF has always taken care of its employees. “In the beginning, we had this great mom-and-pop type of feel and fortunately, even though we’re a mid-size firm now, I feel like we haven’t lost that.”

Many of Natalina’s projects are large transportation projects; some of which have lasted 10 to 15 years from beginning to end. And while many of those have been rewarding, she’ll never forget some of the smaller projects in her career which allowed her to really connect with her clients. “I remember one time as a young engineer, being out in the field with our Stanford client,“ she said. “It was early morning and we were staking a water line. A fairly simple job, but it just felt great to be there with them; sharing a mutual respect.”

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