In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk to Tabitha Lafferre, E.I., an Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology at Fairmont State University about how the ASCE 2020 Report Card for West Virginia’s Infrastructure was a way of connecting engineering students with experienced professionals. Joining Tabitha in the conversation is one of her students, and the president of the ASCE Student Chapter, Lauren Johnson, who also worked on the report card.
In this episode, I talk to Milos Vasiljevic, PE, Program Manager at HDR, about fostering innovation on major infrastructure projects, and I mean mega projects. Milos has worked on some really interesting projects and will discuss some of the details and benefits of working on these megaprojects.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Milos:
In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk to Tony Mette, P.E., S.E., and Jay Chamberlain, P.E., who both work at THP Limited, a firm that specializes in large scale, complex structural engineering, building restoration, and parking projects. I talk to them about Parksmart, a system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smart parking solutions by designing smarter parking structures and operation.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Tony and Jay:
In this episode, which is part of our Women in Civil Engineering series, I talk to Peyton Gibson, EIT, ENV SP, a civil engineer who works for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the Board of Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment. She also serves as the ASCE Colorado’s Infrastructure Report Card Chair, and that’s what we focus on in this episode: what goes into developing the ASCE Infrastructure report card, both at the national and state levels.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Peyton:
- What led you to make your recent career change?
- What is the report card and what is its intent?
- Can you take us through the process of how ASCE came up with the final grading in the report card?
- With the amount of work, staff, and volunteers that are involved in compiling the report, how did you work through the process of managing all the different chapters?
- What do you think motivated the volunteers?
- What happens once you receive that grade and how can it be utilized to improve infrastructure?
- How do you have the funding and the resources for the marketing that needs to be done once the problem areas have been identified?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Developing the ASCE Report Card:
In this episode, I talk to Steve Soldati, P.E., the Regional Sales Manager at Aegion Corporation. Steve was previously seen on episode 74 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, where he discussed effective communication strategies. In today’s episode, he will discuss emerging renewal technologies for pressurized pipelines, which can be very applicable to today’s world of crumbling infrastructure.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Steve:
- Can you tell us about some of the career transitions you’ve had since we spoke with you last time on the podcast?
- What is a pressurized pipeline?
- In terms of the pressurized pipe systems, what is the landscape of the nation’s existing pressurized pipeline infrastructure?
- What is the risk associated with this aging infrastructure?
- From an engineering perspective, what are the challenges in trying to address this aging infrastructure of pressurized pipelines?
- While there are risks involved, what are some things that can be done for renewing and rehabilitating this infrastructure?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Emerging Renewal Technologies for Pressurized Pipelines:
In episode 103 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I am bringing you with me to the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Conference where I will be talking with several guests to get their view on the state of Infrastructure, but also tools and strategies you can use on your projects. From smart landscaping features that serves as safe barriers to things you should know about disaster recovery when designing your projects, and even a software that will help you ensure that all parties on your projects are looking at the latest version of the project plans. The conference was presented by Engineering News-Record (ENR).
Here are some of the question I asked our guests at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Conference:
- What should engineers be aware of in terms of new landscaping products for infrastructure projects?
- Tell us what disaster recovery means for designers in the A/E/C industry?
- What are some of the things you can do to alleviate the challenges behind project document coordination?
- How can civil engineers and project managers work on their people skills?
- What is your opinion of the importance people-management in project management?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Conference:
In episode 097 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I speak with Michael Mains, M.Eng, P.Eng, PE, a young engineer who has had a tremendous amount of experience on global tunneling projects. Michael gives a global overview of underground infrastructure and provides some great insights for young civil engineers considering getting involved in this industry.
Here are some of the questions I ask Michael:
- Why should we put infrastructure underground?
- Why is underground civil engineering an interesting subset of the industry?
- What are some of the challenges of underground construction and design?
- Do you see underground infrastructure more common in the years to come?
- What are some of the of the benefits and challenges of working internationally?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode on underground infrastructure:
In episode 094 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is 4th episode in our 5-part series on infrastructure, Chris Knutson interviews Kate Harris, President, and CEO of Stanley Consultants about harnessing innovation in engineering leadership. Kate gets into future trends of the industry and how we can prepare for them. She also discusses public- and private partnerships, an important aspect of infrastructure projects.
Here are some of the questions asked of Kate Harris on Harnessing Innovation in Engineering Leadership:
- You left university with a degree in quantity surveying. Did it prepare you for where you are today, CEO and President of an A/E firm?
- What were some of the notable milestones in your career which indicated that senior leadership positions might be a real possibility?
- What do exceptional A/E firms get right?
- Can you give advice to young professionals looking to work better with clients and improve their communication skills?
- What changes have you witnessed during your 25 years in the civil engineering industry?
- What are your thoughts on private/public partnerships?
- How do you decide what the most important task to work on is for any given day?
- Share with us your thoughts on how an engineer can approach looking at the future?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode on harnessing innovation in engineering leadership:
- Having a degree in Quantity Surveying gave me an appetite for creative problem solving and build-ability.
- Throughout my career, I have tried many new things to get a broad view of our industry. I feel that this is important in trying to understand what matters to people. When you can understand what is important to other people, you will understand what questions to ask them.
- Exceptionally good A/E firms understand that business success is in servicing clients and client experience. We need to be partners in terms of harnessing innovation in business thinking, management skills, giving advice, and we certainly need to be technically capable and creative.
- It’s very important that companies understand what they are bringing to their clients, and not just what they are bringing to their constituents and their shareholders.
- The key to working with clients is to listen actively to what they need, and to not just concentrate on what you want to say next.
- We are all going to have to look to the future and figure out what the word “value” will mean tomorrow, rather than what it means today.
- It’s not so much about what we know in our industry, it’s about what we know in our world, and what is going on outside of our industry, that is important for young engineers to know. Young engineers should get curious, be fearless and get educated on what is happening outside of the field.
- Being technically competent without the ability to inspire others limits you in your career as a leader. A leader needs to be able to identify and support great talent. If you are planning on becoming the chief engineer of your company, you need to learn how to communicate with others in a way that inspires them to follow their dreams.
- The key to communication is not what you want to tell people, it’s about figuring out how people assimilate information and what matters to them. You then have to allow them to understand what you are telling them. To do this, you need to change your style to match the way they think and listen.
- It’s absolutely fundamental for project managers to know what success looks like for a business, and not just for a project.
- Your job as a CEO is to find great talents, set direction and provide support. You need to carve out time to do all three of these things to be successful in your career.
- Connect, communicate, listen and be very curious as an engineer.
More details in this episode…
About Kate Harris
Kate Harris, President and CEO of Stanley Consultants, has 25 years of international experience in the construction, engineering and consulting industry. Stanley Consultants provides engineering, environmental, and construction services at over 30 offices worldwide. Founded in 1913, the firm has completed engagements in all 50 states and 110 countries, and is ranked among the largest engineering companies in the United States – very impressive.
Kate Harris graduated with a First-Class Honors degree in Quantity Surveying from the University of the West of England in 1993. She has also completed the Advanced Management and Intellectual Property programs from Harvard. Harris has a broad range of contractor, client and consultant experience encompassing strategy development, risk management, building high performing teams, developing client relationships and profitably growing businesses. Most recently Harris provided board and executive advisory services following her global Commercial Officer role with MWH Global (now part of Stantec). During her 17-year tenure with the firm, she is credited with integrating service lines and setting global policy, performance measures and business practices. An active advocate of talent development, she continues to mentor upcoming generations of leaders.
This episode is brought to you by RedVector. The team at RedVector believes knowledge is the most powerful tool available for helping people enrich their lives and meet their professional goals. To find out more about RedVector continuing education, visit www.RedVector.com.
This episode is also brought to you by Danfoss. Smart energy systems, efficient buildings, and raising construction sites are just a couple of areas where you can experience how Danfoss is part of the sustainable development of strong infrastructure, visit www.city.danfoss.com
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on harnessing innovation in engineering leadership.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success
In episode 91 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is the third episode of our 5-episode infrastructure series, I talk with Michael Burns, PE, PgMP from AECOM. We talk about many things related to infrastructure. One of the main topics we discuss is assessing the risk associated with infrastructure projects in deciding whether or not to move projects forward.
Here are some of the questions I ask Michael Burns, PE, PgMP from AECOM:
- What is infrastructure and what does a D- report card mean?
- How do infrastructure projects impact people?
- What books can you recommend that touch on the complexities of global infrastructure?
- What are some of the risks involved with infrastructure projects and how can stakeholders assess them?
Here are some key points discussed in this episode about assessing risk on infrastructure projects:
In episode 87 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is the second episode of our 5 episode Infrastructure Series, I talk with Professor Bilal M. Ayyub, PhD, PE, Dist.M.ASCE from the University of Maryland about how civil engineers can adapt to climate change and its effects on infrastructure.
Here are some of the questions I ask Professor Bilal:
- Tell us more about risk mitigation in general.
- How will you assess an existing piece of infrastructure against potential climate change concerns?
- Does the government assess certain points of existing infrastructure that are more susceptible to climate change than others?
- How do you analyze the risk associated with something as variable as climate change?
- How can civil engineers move towards more climate-resilient designs?