Celia Ruiz Tomlinson is the President of Rhombus Professional Associates (RHOMBUS), a rare 24-year-old American engineering firm that was founded and is owned and operated by an immigrant female Asian engineer. Celia became the first female member of the Philippine Association of Civil Engineers in 1965. Coming to the United States in 1968 by herself with only $300 and a civil engineer's diploma, this remarkable woman had to overcome nearly insurmountable obstacles of absolute poverty, gender bias, racial discrimination, and a language barrier to achieve success. In 1970, she became New Mexico's first registered female Asian professional engineer. In 1983, she became the first female professional engineer to serve in the U.S. National Council of Engineering Examiners. Her firm, which was founded with $2000, rented surveying equipment, and a laborer plucked from the state unemployment line, has been in continuous operation for 24 years and has completed projects in Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.
- Motivation, Inspiration
- Executive Insights
- Ethnically Diverse Speakers
- In 1992, Celia was named Minority Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Park Service.
- In 2002, she received the Asian Women in Business Entrepreneurial Leadership National Award in New York.
- In June 2004, she received the Filipinas Magazine/Wells Fargo Entrepreneurial Leadership Award in San Francisco.
- Celia is the author of A Woman's Guide to a Successful Career in Construction (PPI Publications) and a house inspection program called Computerized Evaluation of Lived-In Areas (CELIA), which has been used by Native American housing authorities and government agencies.
- She has published articles and was profiled in magazines including People on Parade, Woman Engineer, and Civil Engineering.
- Her inspirational autobiography Don't Ever Tell Me YOU CAN'T was published in 2002 by Virtualbookworm Publishing, and in 2005, a second edition by De La Salle University Press. The latter edition became one of five finalists in the 2005 Philippine National Book of the Year Award.
- The recipient of New Mexico's Outstanding Woman and Trailblazer Awards, Celia is a woman of many interests and pursuits. She serves on the Board of Share Your Care, Inc., a non-profit organization.
- She is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
- Celia was the keynote speaker at the Georgia Tech Women's Leadership Conference 2007 in Atlanta, Georgia.
In Her Words
"Be armed for life. Get a degree, learn a trade or a craft, or learn how to be a salesperson. Do whatever it takes to acquire self-confidence then get out of the crowd; find your niche."
Key NotesFee Range: 4,500 to 4,500 USD Lives In: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
- A Female Engineer's Success Story
- A Technical Woman's Success Story
- An American Success Story
- Don't Ever Tell me You Can't!
- Overcoming Poverty
- "Celia Tomlinson is a smart, insightful and very brave woman. She has a fantastic story to tell. She also has a tremendous sense of humor."<br> <b> -- Mona Lisa Yuchengco, Former Publisher of Filipinas Magazine
- "Celia has a natural ability to gain and hold an audience's attention. She can easily put forth feelings and ideas that we can all relate to. Celia has an exceptional sense of humor and her laugh is contagious. Her audiences always come away with a feeling that they can laugh at many of the awkward, but ultimately positive, experiences in their own lives. Celia's speaking engagements are inspirational and her story represents a "triumph of the human spirit."<br> <b> -- James Hewitt Jr., PE, Principal Engineer, Hewitt Engineering & Environmental Consultants
- "Celia spoke for a group of which I was the vice president at the time, our organization's name is Society for Women in Architecture. We asked her to speak for us because she was the first female engineer to be registered in New Mexico, and thought she'd impart some valuable wisdom and inspiration for being such a pioneer in a male-dominated field very much related to architecture. We were not disappointed. She is a very energetic speaker with quick wit and interesting stories which she gladly shares with her audience. Her life experiences are quite unique and I think allow her to entertain and inspire her audiences. I would highly recommend her for any speaking engagement that you are considering her for."<br> <b> -- Malia Savoy Orell, Former President of Society of Women Architects
- "Celia was very inspiring, with a great sense of humor... I was truly impressed with the insurmountable obstacles that she had to overcome. She is a leader!" -- Sharon Howard, BFS Solutions, Attendee of Georgia Tech Women's Leadership Conference