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
The Kleingers Group recently acquired unmanned bird’s eye perspective video capture devices, a new way to conduct traffic counts. Rather than requiring a person to stand at an intersection, the new technology converts images to data using video collected through a battery-operated camera.
The benefits to you are:
- Access to Multiple Days of Data at No Extra Cost: A traditional intersection traffic count only collects one day of data. Sometimes something unexpected happens, such as a crash on a nearby street that diverts traffic and creates a high count. With video capture devices, The Kleingers Group has access to several days of data to ensure the traffic count is giving a representative picture.
- Counts at Abnormal Locations (such as Roundabouts) at A Reduced Cost: Busy roundabouts are notoriously hard to count because the person counting has to follow the car along its entire path through the roundabout. Often roundabouts require multiple people to conduct a count, raising costs. With video capture, costs don’t increase.
- More Information than Just Numbers: Sometimes traffic patterns need to be observed to get the full picture. An intersection may be too busy for a person to count the traffic and simultaneously make notes of needed observations. Now, video can be reviewed directly, allowing the engineer to make the necessary observations, often at a sped-up rate. The end result is more information to help you make smart decisions.
- The Ability to Review Data at A Later Time: Sometimes specific questions about existing conditions don’t arise until after the traffic count is finished. With video capture, The Kleingers Group can go back and review the video on file to answer new questions, saving a repeat field visit.
Read how The Kleingers Group is using new technology to create an innovative parking solution on Blue Ash Road or contact The Kleingers Group to discuss how we can use video capture and smart analysis to help solve your traffic or parking problem.
Everyone knows buying in bulk can save you money.
Paving city streets may not be any different. Contractors tell us that one larger contract is more attractive than several smaller ones and can save the end-user money.
Unfortunately, many smaller municipalities can never reach the level required to achieve costs savings on their own.
This year, The Kleingers Group, in coordination with the Center for Local Government, will premier one of the first multi-jurisdictional pavement improvement plans, combining paving needs from three communities into one project.
The idea is that three communities—Silverton, Amberley Village, and Golf Manor—are more likely to attract a competitive bid and get better pricing with a combined request for the proposal than individually.
“The Center for Local Government exists to help local governments work together to achieve efficiencies. We are always looking for innovative new methods of service delivery, and we are happy to be working to make this project a reality,” said T.J. White, Executive Director for the Center for Local Government
There are numerous benefits to the three communities working together. For starters, the communities can share small costs, such as printing and advertising, almost immediately. The cost of asphalt is cheaper when purchased in large quantities. Another real cost savings comes from transporting the very large paving equipment to the site. Since Silverton, Amberley Village, and Golf Manor are all neighboring communities, the contractor selected for the project will be able to transport equipment to the area once, completing the needed repairs in all three communities without incurring the cost of transporting equipment multiple times.
The result is an RFP that is more attractive to contractors and potentially cheaper for the communities involved.
The Kleingers Group has created combined bid documents previously. Last year, Kleingers coordinated two nearby improvement projects—one in Deer Park, one in Silverton—into one set of bid documents. Although the documents were created so they could be two individual sets, they were released as one document, producing a more attractive package for contractors and creating more competition.
Following that success, The Center for Local Government approached the Kleingers Group to discuss additional ways to help create coordination between local governments and began exploring multi-jurisdictional pavement improvements.
The Kleingers Group participated in a series of meetings to examine the possibility, bringing Silverton, Amberley Village, and Golf Manor on board.
As a result of the meetings, an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) was drafted between the three communities agreeing that Silverton will hold the contract with the roadway contractor for work to be done in all three of the communities and will be reimbursed by the other two communities for the costs. While Silverton will hold the contract and administer the construction, each community will prepare its own plans, have its own inspector, and approve the work completed.
The Kleingers Group and each of the three communities ensured their paving projects were as homogenous as possible. This coordination included using standard Ohio Department of Transportation asphalt mixes, consistent special provisions, and material testing standards. The result is the contractor doesn’t have to use a different set of standards in each community, which would have increased costs.
Moving forward, The Kleingers Group hopes to not only add communities to the Silverton/Amberley Village/Golf Manor paving program but also look at working with other Southern Ohio communities to cluster their paving programs.
Silverton Mayor John A. Smith emphasized the need to share services and cooperate with neighboring jurisdictions, even as Silverton retains its own identity.
“Our residents have told us clearly: we don’t want to merge with another community and lose Silverton’s identity and self-governance. For Silverton, partnering with neighbors like Deer Park and Amberley Village has always been a priority. Today, though, it is essential. We have found even more ways to pool our resources and cooperate. Paradoxically, it is only by working together on projects like this that we can preserve our communities and determine for ourselves how to self-govern,” he said.
Construction documents for the project will be sold on March 9 and bids will be opened on March 23.
Happy Engineer’s Week! This week we celebrate engineers and what they mean to the community. Here at Kleingers, we pride ourselves on helping to build better communities and we believe our engineers play a big part in that. This week is also about increasing the public dialogue about the need for engineers. With that in mind, we asked our team a few questions. The responses range from serious to sarcastic, but all of our engineers are clearly passionate about their work! Below are some of our favorite:
Who inspired you to be a civil engineer?
My high school math teacher who told me that since I was good at math and science, I should be an engineer. I wasn’t even sure what that meant! – Jennifer
I don’t know if there is specifically one individual who wholly inspired me, but I grew up in a new subdivision and I often had the chance to see civil engineering in action. What kid doesn’t like watching bulldozers, concrete trucks and pavers doing their thing? My dad was a surveyor in his “first career” so that definitely had an impact on my career choice as well. – Steve
Oooh that’s a toughy. Inspiration comes in many forms…I guess if I had to pick just one person it would be Justin Bieber, but it’s really neck and neck with Miley Cyrus….no Bieber….definitely Bieber – Greg
Legos of course! I love building stuff! – Michael
Why does the world need engineers?
Engineers provide practical, cost effective solutions to complicated problems. – Michael
To enable it to function. – Mike
To keep some black and white in the world and help everyone avoid all of those pretty, bright colors. – Steve
Engineers are imperative to designing our built environment. Without engineers, we would have an empty world with no roads, buildings, utilities, etc. – Jennifer
Almost everything we use, wear and eat has been enhanced at some level by an engineer. Engineers have an ability to analyze a problem and offer/design solutions. – Nick
What do you love most about being an engineer?
The process of understanding a client/owner’s goals and dreams, and helping it become a reality….seeing a project grow from infancy to the final product and watching people enjoy and use the space in the end. – Steve
I love finding efficient solutions to problems that’s backed up by math! – Michael
Being creative. – Mike
The opportunity to solve problems and make a difference. – Nick
The celebrity status, I know a lot of engineers get tired of it, you know with all the gossip and such but I actually welcome the busy schedule, well with all the interviews, and late show appearances, the amazing money and exotic locations I get to travel too…it’s really hard to complain. – Greg
I love that you can see your finished product being constructed. I like the interaction with people (both internal team members and clients) and helping them bring their projects to fruition. – Jennifer
What contributions do engineers make to society?
Engineers designed the infrastructure that makes everyday life possible. From water supplies, to sewage systems, roadways, the electrical power grid, and more – none of those modern conveniences would be possible without many engineers. – Michael
They provide practical solutions to everyday problems. – Mike
Too many to list….but a lot of it we all take for granted. Transportation, water and sewer are big ones off the top of my head. Have you ever heard the saying that “engineers save more lives than doctors”? Engineers do so with their proactive planning. – Steve
Well I think it’s safe to say that nobody really knows. personally I don’t even know why we need civil engineers….I think generally as a people we have all become pretty civil to one another. – Greg
We assist in shaping the world as we see it including advances in sustainability and responsible development. – Jennifer
Civil engineers use their professional knowledge and skills to aid in the advancement and betterment of human welfare. – Nick
What is it like to work with a civil engineer?
It is refreshing to interview civil engineers and hear the repeated stories about their passion for the profession, their pride in driving by built projects and pointing them out to their families…to be a part of building communities. Engineers are passionate about what they do! – Nancy