Your Civil Engineering Career: Defining Moments
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What project defined you as a professional and as a person? I originally asked this question in a post on April 9, 2012 on Sales Aerobics For Engineers Blog. The following insights, in response to this question, are offered this week by three members of the CivilEngineeringCentral.com LinkedIn group:
“I am an Industrial Engineer and since I graduated, I had worked with medical devices manufacturing corporations. In 2001, I was offered a government position as Director of Public Works for a municipality and that changed it all. I was in charge of more than 120 men covering construction, pavement, mechanic shop, heavy equipment, school transportation, etc. My employees were anything but highly educated. Some of them didn’t even know how to read or write. Some of them could only afford a bag of chips from the vending machine as a lunch. However, I had never learned more about construction, about commitment, good manners, respect, and life. They taught me about construction, about how to do things with nothing and I was able to teach them about processes and how to be really committed to serve our citizens. I saw so much need and poverty during those years. I experienced the reality of our world. I understood what ‘true public service’ is about. I worked there for three years and then moved to other government jobs. Now, I work again for the private industry but those years gave me a different perspective and a clear understanding of what really matters in life.” Aixa G. Lopez-Santiago, P.E.
“I was an independent consultant for Rand Engineering, the largest engineering company in Manhattan. We supported a seven story masonry building with needles while we gutted the old concrete slabs and changed all the old steel beams that had deteriorated in the basement. We also excavated the basement floor below the existing foundations which meant that we had also had to underpin the existing foundations. We then built a two-story luxury apartment in the space. Along with this we shifted a load bearing wall above the basement and moved it over four feet to align with the walls below by splicing the existing timber beams so that bearing could be maintained over the near wall. .. The contractors were Russian and a very reliable crew… The Architect was Canadian… Language presented no difficulty for the most part because most of the major decisions were imparted directly to the Contractor who spoke English and Russian. Other on site directions were imparted to the foreman of the crew who also spoke enough English to understand what was being said. I must say that at all times there was perfect coordination of all concerned and all went the extra mile to ensure the job was completed satisfactorily.” Richard Guy
“I began my Civil Engineering career in a design office where I quickly learned that you needed construction experience before you could become a good designer. I soon found myself working on the construction of the Verrazano Bridge. I could not wait to get to work in the morning and took every opportunity to walk to the top of the tower and take in the panoramic view realizing that this experience could never be duplicated.” Irwin Weinbaum
Sometimes we are involved in projects which end up defining who we are. Except it’s too early for us to realize this, especially while we are in the middle of that defining moment.
What is your defining moment?