Who Is Lucy Chang Evans?
The Early Years
I spent the first four years of my engineering career working at a consulting firm to model stormwater runoff and design stormdrain systems. I briefly moved into the design of water, wastewater, and recycled water systems before making a switch to the public sector. I gained valuable municipal engineering experience working for the City of Fullerton and the City of Huntington Beach in California.
I am a first-generation Chinese American. My parents both emigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. to pursue their graduate school degrees. My father was a chemist, and my mother was a civil engineer. My older brother Peter, older sister Susie, and I were born in Corvallis, Oregon. We moved to Portland shortly after I was born. Money was always tight, so like most kids, we entertained ourselves by riding our bikes and playing with friends until the streetlights came on. If we wanted money for candy, we would bike around town to find cans and bottles to bring back to the store for their nickel deposit. (My early experience with recycling!) Weekends consisted of Saturday morning cartoons and Chinese school. I was nine years old when my brother Ted was born and, shortly after, only 11 years old when our mother died of breast cancer. After that it was up to Peter, Susie, and me to take care of two-year-old Ted while our father worked long hours to support us. I will never forget the kindness of my neighbors who drove me and my siblings back and forth to Ted’s daycare, so we could bring him home after school everyday.
In high school, I worked babysitting jobs and spent three years working for a small bakery. I always loved school and believed that if I worked hard, I could achieve anything. I exceled in school and sports and aspired to have an exciting career someday. I attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland my freshman year. Longing for sunny weather and the experience of a living in a big city, I transferred to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. I graduated from USC with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and moved to Newport Beach after landing my first engineering job.
Secret Service Agent
Left: Graduation day at the Secret Service Training Academy. Right: Lucy prepared for the arrival of President George W. Bush via Air Force One.
My three-year journey into a law enforcement career could fill a book, but the short story is I decided to become a Secret Service Agent to fulfill my sense of civic duty. I was hired shortly after 9/11 and trained in Georgia and Maryland. After graduating from Special Agent training, I was assigned to the Los Angeles Field Office, and I traveled all over the country to protect George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Dick Cheney, Jimmy Carter, and visiting heads of state. As part of the agency’s dual mission, I also investigated credit card fraud and identity theft.
Resident of Naperville
My first husband is also a federal agent, and his agency relocated us to Illinois in 2005. We knew we wanted to buy an affordable house in a safe neighborhood with great schools. We decided on Naperville and moved to the University Heights neighborhood in 2006, shortly after our daughter Emily was born. Naperville has been a wonderful place to raise a family.
Stay at Home Mom
The decision to be a stay-at-home mom was an easy one for me. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and although she was taken from us far too early, my siblings and I have many enduring memories of her. I wanted to devote myself full time to my children during their formative years. I did not realize how hard it would be to stay home with kids. Sleep deprivation, diapers, allergies, potty training, tantrums, and sibling rivalry created a special kind of chaos when I was home all day with the kids. The friendships I made in my Naperville mommy group were my saving grace. I don’t regret my time spent as a stay-at-home mom, but I certainly get tired just thinking about those days.
In 2013 after ten years, my first husband and I decided to end our marriage. Our kids were ages 2, 5, and 8 at the time. I recall the first stage in our divorce as the time when I cried for two months straight. Not only was I mourning the loss of my marriage, but I also had no clue what I was going to do to support myself and my kids after the divorce. I envisioned a life of poverty, moving with my kids to another town that I could afford on a lower budget. I worked hard to reestablish my career as an engineer and rehabilitate my finances. I was even able to buy a smaller house for the four of us in the same University Heights neighborhood that we had come to love so much.
Being a single parent can be challenging and stressful. The constant worry of having to stay home from work to care for a sick kid, cooking on the weekends to have dinner on the table during the work week, dividing holidays between two homes, and the adventures of dating after divorce were part of my experience as a single parent.
Civil Engineer (Again)
Left: I hosted the DuPage County Stormwater Management booth at public events (pictured with Kay McKeen of SCARCE) to educate the public about rainfall, runoff, and water quality issues. Right: In addition to my engineering duties, I was a drone pilot for DuPage County. DuPage County utilized a drone to safely and inexpensively inspect facilities that were difficult to access.
After a ten-year absence from the workforce, I polished off my resume and became a licensed professional engineer in Illinois. I managed to find a part time job as an engineer for the Village of Hinsdale, and I put my children in daycare for the first time. A few months later, I accepted a full-time engineering position with DuPage County. Many of the project applications that I processed were directly beneficial to the City of Naperville.
Lucy in front of the University of Illinois Alma Mater statue
As part of my never-ending quest to learn new things, I am earning a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L-I-N-I!). Although the MBA program is not new to the U of I, its 100% online format was launched in 2016. I am taking classes from home alongside my children who are e-learning. I will graduate in Spring 2022 and plan to make a career pivot into the field of data visualization. I hope to keep people better informed by creating visuals that make data easier to understand.
Left to right: Jim, Lucy, John, William, and Emily
My husband Jim and I have been married since 2018. This is the second marriage for both of us. Jim is a cyber security analyst and an Air Force veteran. He has two grown children, and we have a two-year old granddaughter named Maddalyn. My daughter Emily is a freshman at Naperville Central High School. My son William is a sixth grader at Madison Junior High School, and my son John is a fourth grader at Meadow Glens Elementary School. My kids have a three-year old half-sister named Gracie (their father's daughter), and we love her to pieces.
Hobbies and Activities
In my free time, I like to travel, cook, exercise, garden, and spend time with friends and family. I have traveled to 22 countries, and I can’t wait to see more of the world.