2020 40 Under 40: Katy Boat, PE, 32
Associate, Electrical Engineer, SmithGroup, Chicago; BS Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas
Growing up in Kansas City, Mo., Boat has long been intrigued by the intersection of the natural and built environments. Boat’s experience includes the design of lighting and electrical systems in both new construction and renovation projects for university clients, federal agencies, the private sector and health care clients. Boat’s responsibilities include power system designs, exterior lighting systems, lighting and lighting control systems, especially with regard to meeting U.S. Green Building Council LEED credit requirements. Boat’s enthusiasm for design and her strong communication skills make her a dynamic team member who is able to make valuable contributions at every stage of a project. She believes that an integrated approach to design yields the best possible results. Today, she embodies the true meaning of integrated design, collaborating actively with all disciplines — both engineering and design — and always keeping an eye toward spatial relationships and the interplay of architecture and lighting. After moving from SmithGroup’s Washington, D.C., office to Chicago, Boat quickly became a “go-to” engineer thanks to her finesse, attention to detail and ability to tuck engineering systems delicately into their surroundings. Over the past several years, Boat has volunteered her time to Lake Bluff, Ill., an historic village north of Chicago, as a trusted expert on sustainable lighting. Since 2015, she and her husband have tackled the challenge of restoring a 100-year-old Chicago two-flat, contributing to East Humboldt Park’s neighborhood revitalization and preservation of existing building stock. She and her husband fawn over their dog, Gus. Thanks to her husband, Boat’s eyes have been opened to a much wider music world. They have seen dozens of artists in venues across Chicago together.