In this episode, I talk with Anne-Marie Walters, a chemical engineer and a global marketing director at Bentley Systems. We talk about her transition from engineering to marketing and how her engineering skills have helped her throughout this transition. Anne-Marie also talks about how having a big-picture outlook in life can provide so much fulfillment in your career. This episode was also published on YouTube which you can view here.
This is a guest blog by Lindsay Diven, CPSM
It’s interesting that in the engineering industry, our sales teams are often referred to as Business Developers or Client Managers. The sound of the word “sales” makes you think of a used car salesperson or a telemarketer. I get it. You studied to be an engineer and practice your craft with pride, as you should. You are very skilled in your expertise.
However, there is a point, when you must win that next project for your team or firm. This typically involves finding potential new clients and meeting with decision makers. Having worked with engineers for more than a decade, I know that this is easier said than done.
Resisting Business Development Meetings
You may resist meeting with clients because you feel you must sell your experience and ideas. This often feels like a “dog and pony show.” The clients often feel this way too. They don’t want to sit in an hour-long meeting listening to how great you and your firm are. They are busy too and more often not taking as many “sales” meetings or are making them shorter. I have experienced some clients only giving us 15 minutes!
So, how do you make business development easier for you and more accepting for your clients? How do you make those type of meetings valuable to both you and your client so that each party feels their time wasn’t wasted?
You do this by redefining business development.
First, let’s start with the original definition.
In episode 126 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I will be talking with Dax Hoff, PE who is the founder and owner of Dax Consulting. Dax outlines the process of starting a civil engineering firm and also covers some of the aspects of building an engineering business including finding new business and hiring the right people.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Dax:
- Tell us about your background and career journey and how you got to where you are today.
- Take us through your thought process of deciding on starting a civil engineering firm.
- Did you always feel that you wanted to become a business owner?
- What are some of the benefits to starting a civil engineering firm?
- What are some of the risks in starting your own business?
- How do you bring in new business when starting and growing a civil engineering firm?
- Talk to us about the process of hiring engineering staff?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Starting A Civil Engineering Firm:
How to Start Your Own Engineering Practice is a guest blog by Allison Hail
So you want to start your own engineering practice? Becoming an independent engineering consultant can be very lucrative. It also gives you freedom over the work you do. But it is a very different lifestyle than working for an engineering firm. There are several important items to consider before taking the plunge.
Find Your Niche
As any engineer will tell you, engineering is an enormous field of work. Even within your specialization, there is a huge variance in the kinds of projects you might take on as an engineering consultant. With innovations occurring every day in the tech sector, this variety is only set to increase.
This presents a wide array of possibilities to specialize your practice. While it may not be wise to be picky about the type of projects you take on at first, aim to be carving out a niche for yourself over time. Building a profile as the go-to person for certain kinds of projects will reduce the time you need to spend finding new clients. As word of mouth spreads, clients should start coming to you off the back of your reputation.
Stay on Top of the Admin
In episode 08 of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast, we talk to Alastair Soane, C.Eng, Ph.D., FICE, FIStructE who is the Director at Structural Safety. They are the group that oversees CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety) and SCOSS (Standing Committee on Structural Safety). We then speak to Glenn R. Bell, P.E., S.E., C.Eng, F.SEI, F.ASCE, Senior Principal at SGH and President-Elect for ASCE SEI.
First Sloane gives an overview of CROSS-UK and CROSS-International, and then Bell, discusses the expansion of CROSS in the US and how this amazing program is providing great value to structural engineers all over the world.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask our Guests in This Episode:
- What is CROSS?
- Can you tell us more about the processing and publication of reports?
- What are some lessons that can be learned from the development of CROSS in the United Kingdom?
- Are you planning on expanding your research to other countries and regions?
- Were you involved in the Hyatt Regency project?
- What motivated you to get involved with the CROSS program?
- What is the plan for implementing CROSS in the United States?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About the CROSS:
In this episode, I am taking you with me on a road trip to the offices of Burns Engineering in downtown Philadelphia where you will listen in on a conversation between myself and Laura Hughes. Laura practiced as an engineer earlier in her career but is now the Director of Business Development at Burns Engineering, Inc. In the interview Laura provides strategies engineers can take to improve their business development skills. One example — she discusses why listening and leaving space in conversations is important instead of insisting on what you think they need. You can also view this episode on YouTube.
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Business Development Skills:
This is a guest blog by Nader Mowlaee
As a mechanical engineer (ME), you can look forward to the inherent rewards of a lucrative career. An in-demand job and even job mobility as mechanical engineers typically make above-average earnings here the United States. However, engineers today are looking for more than the monetary rewards that come with this dynamic role. That’s why many mechanical engineers often look to give back to their communities.
Giving back to your community comes with several benefits. Not only do you get to hone your leadership skills as a mechanical engineer, but it also provides you with networking opportunities and gives you the chance to gain new experiences. Whether you’re a senior mechanical engineer or an experienced mechanical engineering manager looking to share your insight, there are several opportunities you can take to give back to your community. Here’s a few of them:
In episode 125 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is our second episode in our Women in Civil Engineering series, I will be talking to Mary Lang, P.E., P.P., LEED GA, who is a principal at Yu & Associates. Mary will discuss design build and what civil engineers should know about this delivery process, which while it has been around for a while, continues to become more and more popular.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Mary:
- What advice can you give some of the younger female engineers out there?
- Tell us about the time you took a break in your career to raise your children?
- What is Design Build?
- What are the benefits and risks of using this delivery process from the engineer’s perspective?
- Do you see Design Build becoming more popular moving forward?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Design Build:
This is a guest blog by Jim Hughes
The number of engineers launching their own startup companies is increasing. More and more engineers are pursuing new entrepreneurial ventures with the dream of becoming their own boss, launching their own product or services, and making a dent in their industries. This has highlighted something that is critical to startup success: employee management, which is a huge challenge.
Employee management covers best practices to retain the top talent who will help you achieve your goals. As a founder, you know that a big part of your success (or failure) is your people. So, as you work your way towards establishing an engineering startup, it is important to equip yourself with knowledge in employee management.
Finding the Right People
In episode 07 of The Structural Engineering Channel podcast, we talk to Luis Duque, EIT, A.M. ASCE, A.M. SEI who is a structural engineer at DLK Engineering. We talk about the use of drones in structural engineering inspections and more specifically about how drones will impact bridge inspections. This is some really interesting stuff!
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Luis in This Episode:
- What made you interested in bridge inspections?
- What are the benefits of using UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)?
- Is it safer to use UAVs for inspection than doing it in traditional ways?
- How do you see UAVs and similar technologies related to bridge inspection in the future?