In episode 079 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I will give my opinion on why I don’t believe it’s a bad thing to work for same civil engineering company for a long time, possibly even your entire career. I constantly hear people say that you have to make a move from one company to the next in order to really advance your career, which I don’t agree with.
How to Think Like an Entrepreneur is a guest blog post by Daniel Hayes, PE, PMP
When I started my engineering career, I worked hard to understand and apply engineering principles and processes required to prepare deliverables in a technically correct and efficient manner.
I consider myself a good engineer. There was a time I believed the work should speak for itself. Being an introvert by nature, I don’t like to sell and don’t want to come off as salesy. I spoke of what I could do for the client. Yet, clients and prospects always wanted something more.
Why does this happen? Because as engineers, we are not selling construction plans. We are not selling the latest in engineering technology. We are not selling deliverables. Instead, we are selling solutions to problems. Real world problems that our clients need to be solved.
If a real estate developer retains a civil engineering firm to prepare a set of construction documents or to acquire the necessary permits and approvals for development, what the client wants is neither the construction documents nor the permit. What he wants is a completed development, ready for resale or rent. Engineering is just one of many means to this end and that is why you should start to think like an entrepreneur.
This is a guest post by Johanna Cider
Note from Founder: Hello this is Anthony Fasano, P.E., founder of the Engineering Management Institute (EMI). At EMI we are focused on helping engineers become more effective managers and leaders. In this post, guest author Johanna Cider talks about the importance an entrepreneurial mindset can have when growing a business. Well, I believe that this mindset can also help you in growing a successful engineering career and becoming a partner/owner in your engineering company. Enjoy the article, and please consider implementing some of the recommended strategies, whether you’re a student or an owner…
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If you’re starting out in the business world, you might feel a little overwhelmed with all of the information out there. You’ve probably been doing plenty of research, and you might’ve come across the idea of an entrepreneurial mindset, which is, above all, a mindset that will help you to succeed in the world of business. The essentials of an entrepreneurial mindset are, among other characteristics, the lack of fear when it comes to innovation and taking risks, and the ability to take failures into stride. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, it’s important to know why entrepreneurial mindset is important for business.
In this episode, I talk to about the difference between big picture thinking versus a detailed orientated mindset and how to benefit from both in your engineering career. I will detail the benefits of each of these thinking patterns and provide strategies for utilizing both effectively as a technical professional.
Here are some of the key points discussed in this episode:
- As an engineering professional, you’ll be faced with a wide variety of problems and challenges that will require you to think big and come up with solutions.
- Engineers who value both big picture and detail-oriented thinking will have a greater opportunity to be successful in their careers.
- Big picture thinking is when you look at the whole picture and all of the effects that the situation has on everything around it. Most big-picture thinkers do not get bogged down in the details of executing their plans.
Characteristics of Big Picture Thinking
In episode 078 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Robert Mora, PE, PLS, ENV SP about the philosophy that he and his partner are operating under in building Batture Engineers + Land Surveyors, a unique civil engineering firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Here are some of the questions I ask on building a Civil Engineering Firm:
- Tell us about your experience with land surveying and how that has helped in growing your firm.
- When did you realize that you might want to start your own business?
- What did you do to prepare for starting your own business?
- Tell us more about networking and personal relationships and how it has affected your career?
- What was your goal in creating a local mastermind group?
- Take us through the first year you started your business.
- At what point did you decide that you want to seek out a partner?
Here are some key points discussed and quotes from this episode:
- I always thought about the bigger picture in my career and looked for roles that would benefit me in the future.
- To a certain extent, I was not really focused on salary, it was more about mobility and opportunity. I would take less money to work someplace if it was going to give me the opportunity to do something that I wanted to get better at.
- Part of what made things easier for me is that I’ve always enjoyed the process more than the results.
- You become confident in certain things because when you are good at doing something, you are typically confident in it.
- Overreacting to something is not going to change what is happening. It’s just going to change your perspective on it.
- When building a civil engineering firm you might not immediately enjoy doing all of the different tasks, but through consistency, you can find enjoyment in it.
- It’s important to build relationships and to listen to people in doing it, and help them, instead of immediately just trying to sell what you are doing when building a civil engineering firm.
- Doing good work and being mission driven is more important than profits. You can’t do bad work and blame the price you gave the customer, for doing the bad work.
- Don’t let money drive your decisions and what you do, but also don’t ignore it. As you grow in your business, you have to think differently about your company finances than your personal finances.
More details in this episode…
About Robert Mora, PE, PLS, ENV SP
Bob Mora, founder of Batture Engineers + Land Surveyors, has over 15 years of experience in land surveying and civil engineering, providing civil design services for both private developers and municipalities. He has successfully managed and completed projects for the Sewerage and Water Board, the Department of Public Works, the Regional Planning Commission, the Orleans Levee Board, and St. Bernard, Ascension, and Plaquemines Parishes. As a sub-consultant for the Army Corp of Engineers, Bob managed the construction of over $100 million of flood protection, earning a Certificate of Appreciation for Exceptional Achievement from the Hurricane & Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Mission. A native of New Orleans, Bob graduated from LSU with a degree in Civil Engineering and Land Surveying. He is the past president and an active member of the New Orleans Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, helping engineers identify pro bono opportunities both locally and around the globe.
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Use promo code TCE8 for a 20 % discount at ppi2pass.com/resources
Books Mentioned in this Episode:
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on building a Civil Engineering Firm.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Mangement Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
Expect Murphy’s Law to Apply to all Engineering Presentations You Give is a guest post by Shoots Veis, P.E.
I’ve had the honor of speaking to thousands of engineers across the world over the years, which has helped me to understand why public speaking is so important to any professional. It gives you the ability to reach and impact a lot of people.
That being said, there’s been a few times, where I showed up to speak and everything went wrong, and I had to adjust. This happens more often than not and that’s why I am really excited to share the following story with you from our guest author for this week Shoots Veis, P.E, author of Public Speaking for Engineers, about engineering presentations. Enjoy it…
5 Reasons Why You Should Encourage Flexible Engineering Work Hours
is a guest blog post by Olivia Ryan
Flexible working has been one of the main topics in the business world in the last couple of years. This trend has reached the engineering field too, with 77% of firms offering some kind of flextime to their employees. Seeing that we are now living in the world where the newest employees are millennials, employees demand more flexible work arrangements even if the firm has not considered them in the business strategy.
“As a former engineer at a big company, I really enjoyed the sense of control you get when they allow you to set your work hours. Of course, we did not enjoy full liberty, but the employer allowed us to set our own start and stop times, and choose if we want to spread our work hours to the weekends, too, or do the entire shifts from Monday to Friday and get weekends off.” – says Keith Jackson, now an engineering writing expert at aussiewritings.com.
If you are still wondering whether you should introduce more flexibility into your work routine or that of your engineers, here are five big reasons why you should consider this:
In this episode, I talk with David Kowal, founder, and president of Kowal Communications about improving one’s technical writing skills. David gives five very specific strategies that you can start using immediately to make you a more effective writer and overall communicator as a technical professional.
Here are the key points discussed on improving your technical writing skills:
- We have more ways to communicate than ever before, yet technology has made communication impersonal and often ambiguous.
- We need to focus more on how we communicate, and writing is a big part of that.
- Most communication today is written. By improving your writing skills, you can improve how you communicate through emails, text messages, social media posts, blog posts, reports, memos, articles, white papers, letters, and presentations.
- Improving your technical writing skills can help you manage projects more efficiently, generate more dynamic engineering reports, sell more effectively, be more productive, stand out and advance your career.
Here are five strategies you can use to improve your technical writing skills:
In episode 077 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Christian Knutson, P.E., PMP, who has hosted several episodes of this podcast. Chris provided a framework that he has used to make many career transitions, and also talked about building the confidence needed to make engineering career transitions.
Here are some of the questions I ask Chris on career transitions:
- Tell us about some of the career transitions you had to deal with?
- What are some of the skills and strategic approaches one should take when transitioning in their career?
- How can engineers build their confidence and adopt a mindset towards taking risks in their careers?
- Tell us about the planning and preparation you did when you transitioned in your career?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
How to become a Resume Genius Fresh Out of College is a guest post by Kevin Nelson
No doubt, writing a resume when you’re just out of college is a challenging task, especially if you think that most employers prefer candidates with experience. The first word of advice here would be to let go of this misconception — as a matter of fact, a lot of great companies are looking for young talent. This, however, does not mean that you should underestimate the importance of a well-crafted resume — after all, every job opening sees an average of 250 resumes, and only 2% of those candidates land an actual interview. Let’s find out how you can wind up in those lucky two percent and become a resume genius.