Quad Citizen: Vanessa Haberman

Quad Citizen: Vanessa Haberman

Structural Engineer, Mother of Two, WIU-QC Graduate

Quad Citizen Profile

Vanessa Haberman says she's lived longer in the Quad Cities than any other city, a Quad Citizen since 2002. (Her father was in the Air Force.) She is now a structural engineer with Shive-Hattery, an architecture and engineering firm in Moline.

Haberman moved from Lincoln, Nebraska to the Quad Cities with a degree from the University of Nebraska in architecture, but during her senior year, she knew “it was not the right fit for me.” Her husband is with the Corps of Engineers at the Rock Island Arsenal, and when Vanessa was working full-time with two kids, she decided to go to Scott Community College for pre-engineering. When she saw that Western Illinois University-Quad Cities was starting an engineering program, she knew that going to college locally for engineering was a good choice.

During her time at WIU-QC, she got a summer internship offer at Shive-Hattery, and had to make the difficult decision to quit her full-time job  to take the internship. It was a smart choice, as they offered Vanessa an on-going full-time position during her final semester at WIU that fall. She has been working at Shive-Hattery ever since.

“It's good to have colleges where you live because of the opportunity they provide,” Haberman noted. “My experience at Western was a good one.” For Haberman, part of that opportunity meant smaller classes instead of large lecture-hall classes of 100 or more. “The faculty at Western were really motivated to help students succeed.”

And succeed she did.

Haberman is the first WIU School of Engineering graduate to receive her Professional Engineering License in 2017 from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). It's a smart career goal, and necessary as her career continues.  She's also President of the Society of Women Engineers for the Quad-Cities / Muscatine Chapter.

Even though Vanessa still considers herself a Cornhusker, she enjoys life in the Quad Cities with her husband and family. She visits her family away from the Quad Cities, but at Thanksgiving, the Quad Cities becomes the “hot spot” because it's more central for everyone to gather here for the holiday.

What else does she like about living here? Like others, she says it's like a small town, but it really isn't. And just like being the hot spot for her family for Thanksgiving, Haberman says it's also “in the middle of everything...St. Louis, Chicago, and there's so much to do here, too.” And she quickly rattles off the list: museums, nightlife, baseball, hockey and more.

Haberman says being in her profession does provide additional benefits. Her 11-year old “doesn't like” going on a roller coaster, but she told him, “I'm an engineer. Trust me. They're safe.” It's kind of hard to argue with a structural engineer.

Submit Your Story

Make it Here is a celebration of who we are as Quad Citizens. We are entrepreneurs and volunteers, innovators and collaborators. No matter what your passion, you can make it here.  We hope you’ll join us by sharing your story.

man working in the Quad Cities at a factory
open coffee for entrepreneurs
people working in the Quad Cities at a chamber organization
man working in the Quad Cities at a factory
person working in the Quad Cities at John Deere
entrepreneurs networking