By Stephanie Van Ness, CSCS
If you see Terese Kwiatkowski in class you might think she's simply a gentle, soft-spoken, hardworking woman looking to stay fit. While certainly she is those things, she's also a powerhouse business exec who has made a name for herself in a heavily male-dominated field. Add to that the fact that she's a former high school and Div 3 college standout in three sports and it becomes clear that first impressions don't tell the whole story.
Terese is a Principal/Sr. Vice President at GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., located just across the parking lot from Athletic Republic. She holds a BS in civil engineering from WPI and a MS in civil engineering from Virginia Tech, and has been with GZA for 29 years. She currently sits on GZA's Board of Directors. So what exactly does she do? "Specifically, I work on the design of foundations for buildings, bridges, power transmission structures, and underground structures such as tunnels. Some of my local projects include design of the foundation system for TD Garden, Legacy Place, and the proposed Sarah Long Replacement Bridge from Portsmouth, NH to Kittery, Maine."
"My work days are long, but I enjoy solving the technical challenges of each project with my various project teams," she said. With an intense work life, Terese relies on exercise to keep her healthy and relaxed. "Playing sports and working out are a critical part of my life and always have been," she said. "They allow me to forget about everything going on at work, and when I am done I feel like I have a fresh perspective."
"I am coming up on one year of working out at ARX," she continued. "I learned about it from my friend and colleague Sue Bator, who I have played with in pick-up basketball leagues over the years. (Ed note: Sue is a longtime ARXer.) I had really bad plantar fasciitis before I joined ARX and had given up sports, but I missed them. I was thinking about getting back into basketball and ultimate Frisbee when Sue convinced me to try ARX rather than pound my feet on the hard court or on grass fields in cleats."
"I'm glad I joined ARX, but leaving team sports for the gym has been a change," Terese said. "I played field hockey, basketball and softball in high school and college. I am honored to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at both Stoneham High School and WPI. In college, my field hockey team made it to Div. 3 nationals. That same year I was voted to the U.S. Div 3 All-America Team for field hockey, as well as the U.S. Div. 3 Academic All-America Team for basketball."
Despite her athletic accomplishments, the transition to ARX was an adjustment. "When I first started working out at ARX it was very humbling," she said. "Though I have played sports for a lifetime I never participated in any sort of focused conditioning program doing the type of activities that we do at ARX. It took me a while to learn how to do the exercises properly. But now that I do, I feel much stronger. Even my mom has noticed that my body has changed. I'm leaner and stronger. I feel good and more confident as a result."
"Going to ARX makes me feel like I did in college - it gives me that great feeling of having fun and working hard at the end of a long day," she said. " I look forward to coming to the gym and miss it on days when I can't make it. I almost always attend the evening class and there is a core group that consistently attends. We have a good handle on each other's abilities and personalities and it makes coming to ARX very enjoyable. We both encourage and joke around with each other."
"I also appreciate the knowledge, experience and concern for participants that the trainers bring," she continued. "They get to know each ARXer and make sure everyone knows how to properly do the exercises. And they make it a point to understand what injuries or limitations an ARXer might have so they can suggest alternate exercises."
One more thing Terese likes about ARX? Facebook! "I like going to the ARX Facebook page every day to see what the workout will be for that evening," she said. "No two days are alike and it's nice to think about what we'll be doing. It is also fun to see pictures of fellow ARXers in action, as well as check out the various motivational or humorous quotes, especially those featuring Snoopy - my personal favorite!"