Circe Torruellas, JD, MPP, ENV SP

Circe Torruellas, JD, MPP, ENV SP


Circe Torruellas, JD, MPP, ENV SP


“Climate change is a profound threat to the world and is already beginning to impact everyday life. My work with Gannett Fleming is helping combat climate change and reimagining how energy is generated to help move people, goods, and services.”

After riding the Metro on a family trip to D.C., nine-year-old Circe Torruellas became fascinated by public transportation. From speedy travel to cleaner air, she immediately recognized how transportation infrastructure can transform a community. Now, with nearly two decades of experience in the transportation industry, Circe brings immense passion, expertise, and a fresh perspective to the field. Her leadership in Gannett Fleming’s Zero-Emissions Mobility group is a testament to her dedication to protecting the natural world and delivering accessible, clean energy transportation solutions to her communities.

We asked Circe a few questions to get to know her better.

How long have you worked in your field? Tell us about your experience in your industry.

I’ve been working in the transportation field for about 18 years, where most of my career focused on transit service provision. I worked with the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) in their mass transit division for 17 years. I have experience working on implementing light rail and bus projects from the planning, environmental, design, construction, and operations phases. My current area of expertise is leading the transition to zero-emission mobility and clean energy in the transportation sector.

What brought you to Gannett Fleming and what is it about the firm that makes you want to stay?

After working in the public transportation sector for my entire career, taking the leap to join Gannett Fleming this past January was huge for me! The biggest reason for me joining the company was the efforts to attract and support women through unique leadership development programs, one example being Communities of Color. I have started attending more of their events in the last few months, and it has already proven itself to be incredibly enriching on a personal and professional level. I hope to get more involved as my career progresses at Gannett Fleming, ensuring my long-term growth and career development.

Tell us about your role and responsibilities at Gannett Fleming. What solutions do you provide to your clients?

Since starting my career at Gannett Fleming, I have focused on supporting the advancement of clean energy solutions for transportation, particularly in transit services. The firm offered me an opportunity to help lead this effort with an incredible team of individuals who are passionate about assisting clients to transition their diesel fleets to zero-emissions mobility and technologies. We are doing this work to support communities across the United States and Canada by planning and analyzing charging equipment needs, facility design, and construction services.

How else does Gannett Fleming support your professional development and career growth?

Gannett Fleming supports my professional development, including my project management education and certifications, in many ways. For example, the company supports my membership and involvement in WTS International, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), and Latinos in Transit. All these organizations are close to my heart in advancing women and minorities in transportation. These organizations offer invaluable professional development and career growth opportunities for individuals interested in continuing to expand their skill sets.

Are you a member of any committees or groups at Gannett Fleming? Please tell us about your involvement.

I’m involved with Connected Women at Gannett Fleming, Communities of Color, and our internal Gannett Fleming COMTO Committee. As I transitioned into my role at Gannett Fleming, I was very impressed with the stories I heard from different female employees sharing their experience with the Connected Women Mentorship program. When the program kicked off, I was surprised to learn that Bob Scaer, our CEO, would be my mentor! It has been one of my best mentorship experiences, thanks to the relationship that I have developed with Bob and the lessons he has shared from his professional career. As a new employee at Gannett Fleming, having this my first year with the company has been significant as I continue to develop as a leader of a new practice.

What impactful and innovative projects are you working on?

I’m currently working on several projects supporting transit agencies with their fleet transition programs. These projects offer a variety of opportunities to learn about different needs and challenges that many transit providers face and the real need for them to feel they have a consultant partner who is a trusted advisor to them. One project that I’m excited to be involved with is the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Northern Bus Garage construction project. I’m helping our team advise WMATA on charging infrastructure needs and fire prevention best practices for electric bus facilities. Gannett Fleming is providing construction management services to deliver the facility. The garage is part of my community, and I have watched it closely throughout the years. It is exciting now to be part of delivering WMATA’s first electric bus facility to my community!

How does your work contribute to Gannett Fleming’s vision of creating a better future together?

The AEC industry has the ability not only to provide creative solutions to clients but to come alongside others trying to solve critical issues for a more sustainable future. Climate change is a profound threat to the world and is already beginning to impact everyday life. My work with Gannett Fleming is helping combat climate change and reimagine how energy is generated to help move people, goods, and services. The transportation industry has a unique challenge: it depends on fossil fuels but faces increasing demands and aggressive timelines presented by elected officials to transition its fleets and related infrastructure to zero carbon emissions. The work we’re doing to ease some of these challenges and facilitate their transition to a more sustainable and resilient way of providing transportation services will have lasting effects for decades to come. Being part of a proactive effort to build better communities and a better world is exciting.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Take note of your accomplishments and use them as motivation to energize your career. Many professionals (especially women and minority groups) suffer from “impostor syndrome.” We feel anxious, leading us to doubt our skills and feel underserving of our roles, and we constantly worry that other people will begin to agree as well. To continue to pave your path forward, constantly remind yourself where you have been and what you have achieved.

Why is it important to have diversity around the table when working on projects, and what can AEC firms do to celebrate diversity and create a stronger sense of belonging across diverse groups?

It is essential to have diversity as part of an AEC organization to provide more robust decision-making processes and advice to clients. Different viewpoints can challenge assumptions and biases, reducing the risk of group thinking and resulting in more well-rounded, effective decisions. Diverse teams can approach challenges from various angles, drawing on their unique skills and experiences to solve complex problems. Firms like Gannett Fleming can expand our work by continuing to ensure the recruitment and retention of highly skilled and talented individuals. Firms can also look at diversity metrics, which can help identify areas of opportunity and ensure ongoing accountability.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I always enjoy biking and traveling; our next big family trip will be to China and Japan. When we’re home, I enjoy watching my son’s favorite Japanese Animation (Naruto) movies along with our pups, Jax and Renato.

Please tell us about your favorite family tradition.

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, so a great family tradition during the holidays is going up to the mountains, in a town called Guavate, to eat roasted pork and other typical Puerto Rican food.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I had three heart surgeries before age 7!

What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?

Drink some wine and watch a funny show; “Friends” and “Fraiser” are my current favorites. I’ve always got to go to bed with a laugh!


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