In episode 120 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, you are going to hear interviews from my recent visit to the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute (SEI) Structures Congress. The interviews will cover both technical and professional development topics related to civil and structural engineering as well as personal development including effective communication skills for engineers.
Career Goals and Challenges
In episode 119 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I visit with John M. Keller PE, PMP, who serves as the Executive Director of The New Jersey Turnpike Authority. We talk about the differences between working in the public sector versus private sector and John provides some very specific examples, which may help you if you are deciding between these two career paths.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask John Keller during the interview:
In episode 113 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Gina Rock who is the Program Delivery Manager at Jacobs. We talk about her career journey from the circus to Disney’s longest flying Tinker Bell (yes she was Tinker Bell) and then into the world of engineering. What I love about this episode is it really emphasizes how it’s never too late to make changes in your career path.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Gina About Her Journey as Disney’s Longest Flying Tinker Bell:
- How did you end up being Disney’s longest flying Tinker Bell?
- What did it feel like for you when you found out you got the job as Tinker Bell in Disneyland?
- Tell us about your performance as Tinker Bell?
- What made you decide to go back to the engineering field?
- How did you feel when you started with your first individual assistance job?
- What makes a manager or leader effective in your experience?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
In episode 111 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I am going to give you five reasons why ALL civil engineers should get field experience on project sites as early on as possible in their careers. The purpose of this episode is to reinforce the importance of on-site experience for civil engineering professionals.
Here Are the Reasons Why I Think All Civil Engineers Should Gain Field Experience
1. It Helps You to Be a Practical Engineer
I started out in high school doing land surveying (see photo above) over the summers and it really changed my career. Because of my field experience, I was able to make my designs more practical and create better details for the contractors who had to construct the projects I worked on.
2. Engineering Field Experience Allows You to Start with the End in Mind so You Don’t Just Start with the Design First
A lot of civil engineers start designing projects immediately, without seeing the project sites, however the problem with this is if you didn’t see the site, there may be a condition out there that you are not aware of. When you are forced to think in reverse and you’ve seen projects built before and then you start to do your design work, those construction issues comes to the forefront of your mind, which forces you to think with the end in mind first.
3. Engineering Field Experience Forces You to Interact with People
Civil Engineering to me is about people. We work on project teams, we work with architects, contractors, developers, real estate developers and other engineers constantly. If we are not focused on improving our people skills 100%, we are going to battle to be great civil engineers.
4. You Get to Know the Industry and Construction Lingo
Field experience helps you to learn how to talk to other civil engineering professionals effectively. It improves your overall confidence as an engineer and makes you stand out from the crowd.
5. Once You Get Promoted and Move up in Your Career, Your Chances of Gaining Field Experience Diminish Greatly
Civil engineering managers typically send younger engineers into the field to do inspections, reports etc. While you are young and you have the chance, you should grab the opportunity with both hands as this will have an incredibly positive impact on your engineering career.
More details in this episode…
Engineering Management Accelerator Workshop (Online) | 5 PDHs
Engineering Management Institute Professional Membership
Engineer to Manager: On-demand
Engineering Management Institute YouTube Channel
ASCE Careers and Leadership Column
EQUATION: The Engineering Management Skills Trilogy Plus the Theory of Constraints Equals Effective Engineering Managers
This episode is brought to you by PPI, the leader of civil engineering FE or PE exam preparations. Visit ppi2pass.com to find essential licensure exam prep books, digital review, and helpful tips and advice.
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on gaining field experience in your career.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
In episode 109 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Nils Gransberg, MS on topics related to Construction Engineering. Nils also tells us about the research he is conducting into negotiated bid contracts, and about his military background and experience.
Here are some of the questions I ask Nils:
- Tell us more about the discipline of Construction Engineering?
- Why did you decide to get your PhD?
- Tell us about your research on negotiated bid contract delivery in public projects?
- Can you talk about what it was like being a civil engineer in the military?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode about construction engineering:
In episode 108 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I will be speaking with Lisa Roger, PMP who is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Dewberry. We talk about her work in the Information Technology (IT) Department and also discuss the importance of IT Professionals in the engineering world.
Here are some of the questions I ask Lisa Roger, CIO:
- What does being a CIO mean in terms of your responsibilities at Dewberry?
- Talk to us about your philosophy in terms of IT?
- Do you encourage interaction between IT professionals and engineering professionals?
- How do you decide which software will be implemented at your company?
- How much do you rely on out of the box software vs. software you have customized in-house?
- Many small firms don’t have the advantage of an in-house IT department. At what point in an engineering firm’s growth do you think an IT department is needed and what are some of the pitfalls if they don’t have one?
- How do you think the future of artificial intelligence will influence IT jobs and the engineering world?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode about IT Professionals:
In episode 104 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I am taking you with me to the offices of AECOM to talk with Anthony Attanasio, B.A, Vice President and Senior Program Manager at AECOM. We’ll discuss his career which has spanned both the public and private sectors, and we also talk about connected and autonomous vehicles, and what to expect in the short and long terms.
Here are some of the questions I ask Anthony Attanasio:
In this episode, we have published a special compilation episode which consists of clips from some of our past episodes related to our career elevator advice question. This question gets asked at the end of each episode and goes as follows: “If you got into an elevator with a civil engineer and had about 30 to 40 seconds with him or her and had to give him or her career advice in that short period of time, what would it be?” We are so grateful for the support of our listeners and excited to share this milestone 100th episode with you!
Here is a summary of the elevator advice from our guests in this compilation episode:
In episode 90 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Joseph Barker, PE, PTOE, a licensed Professional Engineer and Traffic Operations Engineer from Stantec. We discuss the topic of diversity and why firms should embrace diversity for engineers which provides inspiration and typically leads to them being happier and more productive in their careers.
Here are some of the questions I asked Joseph Barker, PE, PTOE:
- What was it like entering the Civil Engineering workforce as a gay man?
- How did hiding your being gay affect your daily mindset?
- Would you say that this experience you went through, hiding who you really are, made you stronger today?
- Tell us about the move you made to Stantec, and how that impacted your mindset and career overall?
- Have you ever thought of relocating to a geographical location that is more accepting of gay people?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
In episode 086 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with one of our listeners who is facing a difficult civil engineering career decision. He has to decide whether or not to stay in the private consulting sector or to move to a public career path.
Here are some of the questions I ask:
- What discipline of civil engineering are you involved in and how long have you been practicing?
- Are you considering government employment or working with a private contractor who is working for the government?
- Where do you see yourself in your career 10 years from now?
- What makes your work fulfilling?
- What is the current breakdown of your department and what level are you at in at your department?