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Rygh2014

Interview with an Engineer!

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Hey everyone!


I am doing a project for one of my high school engineering classes, and am required to interview an engineer in this field. I don't really know any engineers personally, so if anyone would like to answer some questions, I'd be one happy man!



• What is your specific degree in?


• What is your place of employment?


• Please describe your engineering field.


• What is your current job title?


• Please describe your particular job and duties.


• What is your average work schedule?


• Starting with high school, describe your educational background chronologically.


• If you had it to do over, related to your career or education, would you do anything differently?


• What advice would you give to me as someone interested in pursuing a career path similar to yours?



It doesn't have to be these questions, just anything that relates to your field / job would work fine, and help tremendously!



Thank you!


Grant


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• What is your specific degree in?


Engineering, with a Specialty in Civil Engineering



Really, my degree could be described better as Structural Engineering with a little bit of Geotechnical Engineering (Civil is a broad field, so many civil engineers have entirely different skill sets), but that's the way my university names things.



• What is your place of employment?


A small construction engineering consulting firm (8 engineers) primarily working in bridge demolition.



• Please describe your engineering field.


Most of my work is in temporary structures and construction devices -- coming up with non-permanent means to help a big general contractor (think Skanska or Fluor or Kiewit) complete their permanent project. This may mean designing formwork and falsework to allow a concrete structure to be poured, or coming up with a lift plan to allow their cranes to get in and do the work.



• What is your current job title?


Bridge Engineer -- which is our term for a design engineer with a Professional Engineer (PE) license



• Please describe your particular job and duties.


I usually work with one or two other engineers in our office and one or two of the contractor's field engineers to develop designs and plans for our various tasks. Usually this begins with a few phone calls or meetings to discuss the intent of the design, what constraints we need to work within, and to develop a plan of attack. After this, I'll perform some calculations to pick the correct piece of equipment or correct size of timber beams. As a small office, we often also end up drawing up our final design in CAD to send to the contractor. Larger companies generally have a dedicated CAD designer or department that will perform the drafting work.



• What is your average work schedule?


I tend to work about 40-45 hours a week, but we are pretty flexible. If there is work to be done, once in a while that'll become a 50 hour week. If we're ahead of schedule, the office will thin early out on Friday afternoons.



• Starting with high school, describe your educational background chronologically.


High School '06


BS in Engineering (Civil) '10


MS in Engineering Management '11 <- This one just because I thought it would be fun


MS in Engineering (Civil) '12 <- This one because they offered to pay for it (through a research project) and I didn't have an alternative job offer. Turned out to be a very good decision though.



• If you had it to do over, related to your career or education, would you do anything differently?


No, it's worked out very well for me thus far.



• What advice would you give to me as someone interested in pursuing a career path similar to yours?


As a young engineer or engineering student, never doubt the value of variety. It's a broad world out there, with lots of variations on what you can do in the workplace -- try as many options as you can. Even if you end up not liking something, chances are that the experience will tie into something else you do later on.


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