Women in Engineering: Sona Khalifeh - Head of FRP Solutions

In this series, we’ll be highlighting some of the unique stories of the women in engineering at Taziker. Keep on reading to find out more about Sona Khalifeh, Head of FRP Solutions in our FRP Production team.

Born in Syria of Palestinian origin, Sona Khalifeh moved to Canada when she was three years’ old and grew up surrounded by engineering, with both her father and brother working within the industry.

Reflecting on her early life, she said: “My Dad is a Chartered Structural Engineer and my brother is a Construction Project Manager, so I grew up all around engineering. I was always challenged by them to practice problem-solving skills, thinking outside of the box and most importantly, fostering a great relationship with anyone I came across – on both a professional and personal level.”

From an early age, Sona began working for her family’s engineering business, where she gained skills in the design, modification and reconstruction of custom homes, commercial spaces and medical clinics. All of which would be vital experience when she went on to study for her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering with a Structural Specialization at the University of Waterloo in Canada, one of the top engineering schools in the country.

During her undergraduate studies, Sona was able to undertake a variety of roles, from Field Technician conducting field and laboratory tests on soils and concrete to Design and Construction Technician, where she supervised the construction of related infrastructure and road reconstruction work on site.

Following on from the end of her undergraduate studies Sona came to the UK to study Structural Engineering, MSc at The University of Manchester, where she achieved a distinction. Choosing to remain in the UK, Sona joined Taziker in 2022 as Project Engineer in our FRP Solutions team, before gaining a promotion to Head of FRP Solutions shortly after. Sona oversees huge projects such as our Legacy Footbridge, which provides the rail industry with a sustainable solution for footbridge design.

Talking about her time at Taziker so far, Sona said: “Matt Greenhalgh (Managing Director, FRP Solutions) is a wonderful mentor and has showed great support in my progression at Taziker and is someone who truly values and sees my potential.

“Our development of the Legacy Footbridge and future innovations, such as sign gantries, lighting posts, and underbridges are definitely going to make a large impact on the rail industry in the UK. Me and Matt make a great team and together, we are going to accomplish many amazing things!”

Sona feels strongly about encouraging women into engineering and when asked what her advice would be for any women looking at a future in the industry she said: “I have never shied away from engineering being a male dominated field and I make a point of continuously empowering the women I come across in the industry.

“I would strongly encourage that you find a suitable mentor who values your abilities, sees your potential and is willing to help you grow and develop your knowledge. Don’t wait around for your opportunity and actively go out and find it.

“Be confident in yourself and use your voice. This is an exciting industry, which more and more women are joining!”

Headshot of Sona Khalifeh, Head of FRP Taziker