Through her career Lowell Christy has broken ground for women in engineering and construction, along the way providing critical support for influential projects around Alabama and the nation.
As a founding partner and former president of Christy/ Cobb Inc., she developed management skills as the prime design professional and structural engineer for architectural projects, municipal and industrial facilities along with temporary and special structures. Her clients include owners, state and local governmental agencies, engineers and contractors as well as architects.
An Alabama native, Christy began in engineering as a summer employee with Rust International while still a civil engineering student at The University of Alabama. In 1971, she went to work for Hudson & Associates, a small consulting structural engineering firm. During the decade that followed she designed the structures of parking garages, malls, medical, educational and commercial buildings, and industrial facilities and worked as a consultant to other structural engineering firms.
In 1981, she and Len Cobb founded Christy/Cobb Inc. The firm initially focused on residential and commercial projects serving architectural clients. Today, the firm is a woman-owned, small-structural engineering consulting company with members of the firm licensed in most southeastern states. It expanded over the years to become a diverse, talented team that develops innovative structural engineering solutions for its clients and the community.
The firm has extensive experience in the design of temporary structures. The firm’s engineers work with contractors to investigate existing structures for construction loads, design platforms allowing access for personnel and equipment, and design excavation bracing systems. Value engineering for complex sites has led to significant cost savings for large paper machine foundations, building foundations for unusual subsurface conditions and a long culvert below an active port facility. Christy/Cobb has served as the prime design professional for county bridges, industrial facilities, and for many years was the engineer for Birmingham’s Industrial Water Board completing the Mulberry intake structure and the renovation of the dam and spillway at Inland Lake. Projects in the Birmingham area include the recently completed Football Operations Center at UAB, the bridges along Ross Bridge Parkway and many buildings for Alabama Power Company.
With Christy as president, the firm received design awards and recognition in national publications. The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Alabama recognized Christy/Cobb for an excavation bracing system that allowed construction of a rotary car dumper at the McDuffie Terminal Plant in Mobile and the emergency foundation repair of Pearson Hall in Birmingham. The Birmingham Historical Society presented the firm a preservation award for the Control Building at the Cahaba Pumping Station, and the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects has recognized the firm.
She is a licensed Professional Engineer in Alabama and currently licensed in three other Southern states. Some of Christy’s favorite projects include the historic site assessments for Fort Morgan and Wheeler Plantation, the stone restoration and columbarium at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, and the shortwave broadcasting facility for Mother Angelica.
A Fellow with ACEC, Christy is a member of the Associated General Contractors of Alabama Hall of Fame. She received the 2014 Community Service Award from the ACEC College of Fellows.
Her service to her profession includes chair of the Council of American Structural Engineers and president of ACEC Alabama. She has been a member of the American Society of Women Engineers, National Trust for Historic Preservation, the American Institute of Steel Construction, and the International Concrete Repair Institute as well as many other councils, boards and committees. She also serves on the advisory board for the UAB Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering as well as Birmingham Southern College’s Norton Advisory Board.
She was recognized in 1991 in the Top 10 Women by the Birmingham Business Journal, and was awarded the 1994 Women of Distinction honor by the Cahaba Girl Scout Council. She is also past president of The Women’s Network, past president of the board of directors of Girls Incorporated of Central Alabama, and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham.