Lynchburg Business Proves Women Can Dominate in STEM Fields
When it comes to quality surveying and engineering design services, Accupoint Surveying & Design does not disappoint and has an interesting story behind it to boot. Majority Partner and Owner Amy Seipp helped start up the company about four years ago and has quite the impressive history in Lynchburg’s engineering industry as well as an immense passion for encouraging young women to enter the engineering workforce.
“[The shortage of women in STEM positions] is a big issue in so many aspects,” Seipp says. “I, however, was never one to shy away from roles that seemed unlikely for girls. I worked my way through college by working in the service department of a car dealership. Don’t get me wrong; I like shoes and makeup, but I also built LEGOs before it was cool and they only had primary colors.”
Seipp, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Rolla, which is an all-engineering campus, moved to the area 20 years ago this summer. Beforehand, she worked in consulting and traveled the country handling site development for large corporations such as AutoZone, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s and Sonic.
After moving to Lynchburg, she worked on the city’s utility combined sewer overflow (CSO) projects, which she says helped her to learn a great deal about the area and its history. From there, she held various positions from project engineer to partner in the private sector of civil engineering and land surveying around Central Virginia, allowing her to build solid working relationships with other area business professionals. After taking a break to spend a few years at home with her two sons, she rejoined the workforce developing medical offices, and then ultimately came back to engineering full-time.
In July 2015, Seipp’s current business partner,
Ed Willman, LS, OSE, opened Accupoint, and Seipp started as part-time civil engineer. Her involvement continued to increase, and they decided to partner in 2018. Their company is now certified as a Minority-Woman Owned, Small, Micro, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).
While Seipp has been highly successful with her career in a typically male-dominated industry, it has not come without its challenges. Seipp says she does not know a single woman older than she is in the engineering field, which can sometimes make things tough.
“It is not uncommon that I am the only woman in a room of men—especially on construction sites,” she says. “If we go out to a job site, and I’m with Ed, people often assume he’s the engineer and I’m just there to take notes.”
In the past, some contractors have even tried to bully her on the job site, but she has always been able to hold her own.
“I always rely on sound plans, ethics and integrity,” Seipp says. “I would say [getting] respect on projects as a woman engineer is [improving] as time progresses, but there is still a long way to go.”
Seipp hopes that she can be a role model to other young women who may want to enter the engineering industry, and she encourages it whenever she has the opportunity. Her goal is always to help young women understand that pursuing a career in STEM is definitely hard work, but so worth it.
“I hope more women who are professionals in STEM will encourage not only girls, but all kids at the elementary and middle school levels to get involved in STEM classes from a young age,” she says. “This helps set them up to be successful in these fields later.”
Accupoint, which serves all of Central and Western Virginia and beyond, offers full-service civil engineering and design, land surveying—including industrial surveying and metrology—and soil consulting. Fun fact: they’re the only surveying firm in Central Virginia to offer drone surveying services.
“Accupoint is extremely customer service–driven,” Seipp points out. “We give the responsiveness that we expect to get ourselves.”
They offer a diverse range of services and see projects through from design to construction completion. Seipp strongly advises those interested in building to contact Accupoint before starting on a project—because most of the time, the feasibility of a project hinges on factors that many do not even consider and may have nothing to do with the actual building itself. Soil, for example, is one of these factors.
Seipp loves what she does and says each project is truly unique. Some stick out in her mind because of challenging design aspects, while others are memorable because of the client collaboration. Others may be special because of their size of scope.
Some of her larger projects include preliminary engineering assessments for evaluating water and sewer solutions for entire counties, designing 50+ AutoZone sites in Michigan, and projects for solar farms and large-scale commercial developments. Seipp says her most memorable project, though, is getting to work on some of the design aspects around South Point Mall in Durham, NC.
Seipp and her team are excited to see Accupoint continue to grow and explore new opportunities for DBE projects. Their success in partnering with larger design and construction firms has allowed them to diversify their projects and expand their reach, and they plan to only continue growing.
The ultimate keys to Seipp’s personal success, she says, are “loving God, loving others, and serving both; being willing to go above and beyond what others will do; and always leaving things better than you found them.”
Learn more at www.accupointsurveying.com.
AT A GLANCE
Located: 950 Airport Road, #2, Lynchburg
Founded: 2015 Employees: 11