Carol Parenzan Smalley

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Director of Business Development at Underground Imaging Technologies, LLC, an affiliate of Caterpillar

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Who are YOUR role models? My Nana (grandmother) was my primary role model. Today she is my angel. She grew up as one of 11 children in an impoverished coal mining community. With a limited 8th grade education, she changed the world by sharing her blessings, encouraging her grandchildren to follow their hearts, and by being a loving and caring person. She taught me that what really matters is already with me. It’s great to chase that next opportunity, but home is where your wealth truly resides. I miss her terribly. I try to take her spirit and smile with me each day. I just wish she could have read my first book. She would have been pleased that one of my childhood dreams became a reality. She was very encouraging.

My daughter has also been my role model. She is now 19 (and studying theater design and management). We chose to homeschool her. She inspired me to slow down and explore the world around me. Every week, we brought home bags of library books and videos. We read together. We played together. We turned over rocks, waded through creeks, visited museums, stared at the stars, and sought out answers. We grew together. She taught me more than I ever would have learned on my own. And, she reminded me that I had a few books that needed to be written. Today, some of our best family friends are those that we took the homeschooling journey with. And one of my best friends is my daughter. Truly blessed.

Most recently, however, my role model is a young woman, around age 30, who decided to go back to school to not only earn a high school diploma  but to also study criminal justice in college. My daughter and I have both tutored her. (She got an A in Environmental Science and English!) Honestly, this young woman has already taught us more than we will ever teach her. She is truly an inspiration and has already begun to change the lives of those around her. She reminds me daily that there are no obstacles in our way other than ourselves.

What do you like to do outside of work? I love the arts — I play a few instruments, attend musicals and other theater events, follow a few musical groups (and sing badly to their music!), attend art shows, spend time with artist friends. I play with paper engineering (pop-up books). (I met the master, Robert Sabuda!) I am also involved in outdoor photography and I love to read (especially mysteries). As a water nut, I swim and paddle. If there’s a waterfall, I find it! Waterfalls are meditative for me. They bring that balance I need. I get lost while sitting by a waterfall. I leave energized and refreshed.

Bio: Along with being the Director of Business Development at Underground Imaging Technologies, LLC, an affiliate of Caterpillar, Carol is also a writer, educator and engineer. Carol graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering with a water focus. She says, “My career has become very circular. When I graduated with an environmental engineering degree in 1983, there were few environmental jobs to be found. I opted to go into sales engineering with a Fortune 200 electronics firm. I was drawn to new technologies, primarily fiber optics. My focus became utilities and underground construction. Today, my focus is underground utilities, subsurface structures, and seeing what can’t be seen beneath the surface of the earth. I never imagined 30 years ago that I’d be doing what I’m doing today.I haven’t lost sight of the environment, however. My work includes environmental remediation projects, and I have a strong interest in environmental issues, watershed management, river engineering, and water-based projects.”

Carol is usually dressed in company branded apparel, wearing microfleece tops and vests, golf shirts, long-sleeved dress shirts, etc. with the UIT or her personal logo, but sometimes in the field she might wear hard hat, safety vest, and composite-toe boots. She works with many different people: engineers, geologists, contractors, architects, marketing professionals, business developers, CEOs, VPs, senior management, number crunchers, health and safety professionals, public employees, professional development groups, trade associations, school children and teachers, and librarians. When asked about her typical day Carol says, “There is no typical day, and that’s what makes it exciting. I am rarely in the office. My clients are ‘out there’, and that’s where I need to be. I may be presenting a program about subsurface investigations to engineers and geologists, exhibiting at a trade show, meeting clients at project sites to better understand their needs, visiting with new and established clients, establishing partnerships with other technical firms and individuals, working with my colleagues on proposals and reports, sharing best practices with my business development colleagues, reading the latest news for opportunities and contacts, being fully engaged in the day-to-day activities of a growing and exciting business, and even sharing my love of science and technology in elementary classrooms. My engineering degree taught me to think and problem solve. Much of my day revolves around thinking and solving. It’s exciting and fun.”

Read more about her career! Environmental Engineer