Building a Business on Sustainable Development Solutions
April Barkasi ’96 CE, ’98 MSWREE
Who: April Barkasi ’96 CE, ’98 MSWREE
Undergraduate direction: After a false start in chemical engineering, Barkasi’s interest in natural resources and the influence of infrastructure planning and design on the environment led her to change her major to civil engineering, which she says is the best decision she has ever made.
Graduate degree: Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Villanova University
Early career: Began career working for a number of consulting firms, finding innovative sustainable development solutions for a variety of private and public sector clients.
Entrepreneurial spirit: When she learned that her current employer would be closing its doors, Barkasi put the wheels in motion to start her own company. She says, “I was prepared to launch my firm the same day my employer closed. The professional relationships I built over time enabled me to start with a small, but solid client base.” In 2010, Barkasi launched Cedarville Engineering Group, LLC, an engineering technology company in Pottstown, Pa., that specializes in civil engineering, municipal and environmental services, government contracting, software development and 3-D reality modeling.
Recognition: Barkasi has been publicly recognized for her accomplishments. In 2016, Engineering News Record named her one of the Top 25 Newsmakers of the Year, and in 2017, she received her local Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Volunteer of the Year Award. She and her company also were featured in an article in the Reading Eagle Business Weekly where Barkasi attributed her success to recruiting great people and being open to their ideas. She says, “We bring in people who are smart and passionate, and we encourage them to identify and develop their passions and interests. That’s helped to drive the company’s success.”
Motivation:Community and a shared vision. “I have an extended family in the Cedarville team, the clients we serve, and the communities that we live and work in. Most importantly, we all share a goal of making a difference with the things we do on a daily basis. Because of the unique skills and agility we bring to our work, we can have an impact on the quality of life for people. That’s very exciting.”
Barkasi believes that passion has been key in her career. “I’ve seen more things happen through passion than through logic. By nature, I am very analytical person, but when I marry that with passion, it’s contagious!”