A Major Goal
President / Geotechnical and
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.
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.
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.”
plans: A home exchange with a family from a small