Happy Engineers Week! We spent the week reflecting on what makes a good engineer, what brought our employees to this career, how they share their passion for this kind of work and what it means to others when we do what we do. As we wrap up this week’s Engineers Week, we asked our team a few questions that we hope you find entertaining and insightful!
How do you explain civil engineering to people who don’t know?
I often present to young students on career day at various schools, and I typically keep it simple and start with “civil engineers design roads and bridges.” If it’s a little older crowd, I often delve into what we do with site engineering and explain that civil engineers design everything on a building site outside of the building, including driveways, parking lots, sewers, waterlines, drainage and grading. If I was cool, I’d say civil engineers take a vision of a site and turn it into reality. – Steve
Everyone seems to know what an architect is, so I tend to describe a Civil Engineer as “The Architect of the Land.” We generally focus on things outside of the building, shaping the land and providing the infrastructure needed to support the buildings that architects design. – Melissa
Someone else just explained to me today the three things you need to know to be a civil engineer…
1. You can’t push a rope.
2. Water and dirt make mud.
3. $#!t (er, um, water) flows downhill.
Good advice for anyone. – Craig
When I try to describe it, and their head turns a funny angle, I fall back to: Essentially, it’s a 5 year degree in ditch digging. – Tim
Tell us about a moment where you thought to yourself “I love what I do.” What made you think that?
I love being able to see a project come to life. To step onto a job site and see your engineering design set in motion is a really cool feeling. – Melissa
Every time that I’m involved with the planning and design of a new project, and I get to see the progression from concept, to planning, to detailed design, to and through construction…. and I get to see the final product with the end user using and enjoying the space…..I take a lot of pride. We engineers like to be creative in our problem solving, and therefore I’m stoked any time I can use creativity to solve a unique problem in an effective and efficient manner. – Steve
What’s the biggest misconception about engineers?
The biggest misconception about engineers is that we are all nerds!!! That is 100% false… we are all “cool nerds”!!! – Melissa
The biggest misconception about engineers is that they have no personality. Engineers are taught to think analytically and determine the best possible outcome based on the facts. By nature, they are conservative and have low risk tolerance. Most engineers are quick witted, loyal and fun to be around. – Nick
That there isn’t any creativity in what we design. We often find ways to be creative when appropriate, but when it comes to designing for roadways where lives are at stake, it’s important to rely on tested design methods and know what you are doing. – Dave
That they are this odd lot of extroverts who favor form over function and have a deep seeded passion for the creative arts. I guess people just can’t see how it is that we are actually much more into numbers, logic and have horrible tastes in fashion, style and aren’t really that good of communicators and we don’t really excel at grammar and we tend to make run-on sentences. – Greg
Who is the coolest engineer you’ve ever met?
Jim Kleingers, of course!!! – Everyone
All engineers are geeks, so from the perspective of the outside world I haven’t met any “cool” ones. However, any engineer that can speak well in public is generally viewed by other engineers as the coolest person on the planet.
Wow, that’s a tough one. Isn’t “cool engineer” an oxymoron? – Steve
What skills are most important to be a good engineer?
A good engineer has a great aptitude for math and science. He/she understands how things work and is able to explain that to others. – Nick
Of course math skills are a must, but being able to look at one problem and provide multiple solutions is what makes a great engineer. – Melissa
Ability to focus, computer skills, and logic. Certain types of math are important too, like geometry. – Dave
Listening and understanding the needs of a project and its owner and end users, and being able to translate this into helping the vision become a reality. – Steve
To be ‘engineereeyee’. – Tim