1230 East Hillcrest Street   -   Orlando, Florida  32803   - (407) 898-1818

www.G-E-C.com

July, 2005

A Major Goal

JOANIE SCHIRM

President / Geotechnical and Environmental Consultants

Orlando

 

Just the facts: The 14-year-old, 32-employee firm has offices in Kissimmee and Orlando. Schirm’s firm performs geotechnical engineering, materials testing and inspection. She aims to be the “go-to” firm for high-profile and complex projects that build communities such as bus-rail-airport facilities, the Orlando airport and high-speed rail. It also works on condo towers and downtown redevelopment. Last year, Geotechnical was the Grand Award Winner in the small firm category from the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers.

Twist: Schirm, 56, is an engineering firm owner who isn’t an engineer. She did market research and rose through administration at Law Engineering in Atlanta. She became a founding member of the Atlanta office of another firm and opened its Florida operation in 1982.

Additional twist: She was raised in Indialantic by a father of Jewish heritage, a Czech army doctor who fled from the Nazis to China, where he met and proposed after a week to Schirm’s mother, a teacher and daughter of missionary parents. Schirm was born in Chattahoochee.

Pride and joy: Leading for six years the landing and hosting of the 1994 soccer World Cup games in Orlando. “It was very, very wonderful. It was a wonderful experience for Orlando, and we came together as a city.” She also met her husband, Roger Neiswender, then Orange County’s administrator, now Orlando’s transportation director, through the World Cup.

Quote: “It’s like any other profession or career you’re in. You have to earn that respect. You’re not anointed with it.”

Summer plans: A home exchange with a family from a small Normandy town.