In this episode, which is part of our Women in Civil Engineering series, I talk to Denise Carter, P.E., the Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Greenman-Pedersen, Inc (GPI). Denise leads and implements business strategy across the entire organization, integrating GPI operations and services to optimize staff, organizational development, and growth opportunities. In this episode, Denise talks about how to build confidence in your career, especially in a leadership role, and how it can drastically increase your success as an engineer.
civil engineering career
This is a guest blog by Nick Heim, P.E.
Many situations in life have us seeking the opinion of others, our careers being no exception. Instead of asking a significant other, coworker, or friend – what if instead we could have someone who is vested in the advancement and growth of our careers give us advice? Today, I would like to talk about some of the benefits of a career coach, and what they can do for your civil engineering career.
1. Providing Unbiased Input
THIS IS AN ARTICLE BY MATT LOOS, PE., INGENUITY AND THE ENGINEER – HOW TO HARNESS CREATIVITY IN ENGINEERING (1 PDH) HERE.
As consumption of resources continues to increase, creativity in engineering will be even more important to ensure longevity for future generations. The ability to generate and implement creative solutions can ultimately decide the fate of the future, especially when it comes to dealing with some of the world’s biggest challenges like failing infrastructure and global warming. As cheesy as this may sound, we need to embrace creativity as a necessary skill set and not let it fall by the wayside with other skills that were nurtured in our youth, such as imagination and curiosity.
That being said, what is the biggest barrier to harnessing creativity in your own civil engineering career or within your organization as a whole? My guess for most people it is a mix of things, with ego standing front and center. Ego often stands in the way of accepting new ideas and taking constructive criticism. Doing something successfully, in repetition over time often breed’s ego. When you’re experienced in a certain field, you don’t often seek others’ opinions. When you’re inexperienced, you don’t get stuck in the trap of doing something the way it’s always been done. As a newcomer, you don’t know everything, but you know those who do. So, you seek information.
The topic for our December 2020 Civil Engineering Collective session will be goal setting as many professionals start thinking about their goals for 2021. In the session, we will walk through three steps that you can take for effective goal setting. However what I’d like to cover in this post is an important step that you must take after setting goals, PRIORITIZING YOUR GOALS.
So let’s assume you followed the three-step goal setting process and you now have ten goals that you will be working on for 2021. How do you decide which goals to work on when?
Firstly, I recommend that you try to organize your goals by the amount of time it will take to achieve them. For example, studying for a certification exam could take 6 months, while reading a book or learning a new computer program could take four to six weeks. While the task duration shouldn’t be the only factor considered when prioritizing your goals, it may help deciding when to pursue each goal.
Once you’ve organized your goals by duration, next you should consider the impact that achieving each goal will have on you, your career, and those around you. I recommend classifying these by “low impact” or “high impact.” For example, if you were to achieve your professional engineering license (P.E.) that would most likely have a high positive impact on your career and also great benefit to your company. However, reading a book on communication skills, while it may help you, probably would be lower impact than a PE license.
In episode 128 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, which is our third episode in our Women in Civil Engineering series, I visit with Michelle Briehof, P.E. who is a project manager at Maser Consulting.
Michelle talks about some of the non-technical aspects and actions you can take as a civil engineering professional to build confidence and equip yourself as a well rounded civil engineering professional. She walks us through her career journey, from the beginning of her career up to where she is now and the experiences that have helped her to attain her position. She also tells us about the Maser Women’s Organization and how it has helped all employees at Maser, men and women, to build confidence and get the necessary exposure needed to become well-rounded engineering professionals.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Michelle:
- Tell us more about the Maser Women’s Organization
- How has the Maser Women’s Organization impacted you?
- How does being a mother impact your career?
- Tell us about your involvement in the different disciplines at your firm?
- Have you found that developing knowledge in different civil engineering disciplines has been helpful in your efforts?
- How important is it to have confidence as a manager?
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About Becoming a Well Rounded Civil Engineering Professional:
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.
Here are 7 benefits of working for the same company for a long period of time
5 Steps to Selecting 80/20 Goals to Boost your Civil Engineering Career
In episode 075 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I am going to give you 5 steps for selecting 80/20 goals to boost your civil engineering career. I will also discuss how you can use Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80/20 rule, to maximize your planning efforts.
Here are some key points discussed on selecting 80/20 goals:
Civil Engineering Career Navigation Advice from a Young Engineering Manager
In episode 073 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk with Shaun McGrath, P.E., CCM, a successful young division leader at a successful civil engineering company about career navigation through the early portions of your engineering career.
Here are some of the questions I ask Shaun:
- Talk about internships and how they have helped you.
- Tell us about the importance of different civil engineering career paths.
- Talk about stumbling blocks and learning from them.
- Is there a specific experience that you can recall that you learned something valuable from?
- Tell us about the importance of finding a mentor.
- Tell me more about networking.
Here are some key points discussed on civil engineering career navigation:
In episode 036 of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview Rick DeLaGuardia about entrepreneurship in civil engineering. We will focus on his newest book called Engineer to Entrepreneur: Success Strategies to Manage Your Career and Start Your Own Firm.
Here are some of the questions I ask Rick:
- What made you decide to write the book?
- Who is the book geared to primarily?
- What is the one key point you were trying to make when you wrote the book?
- You use a lot of anecdotes in your book, why?
- In the book you ask the readers to consider working for a small niche firm, can you explain why?
- You write about investing and finances a lot, why is it so important?
- Based on the three parts of your book, what is the best advice you could provide to each group: student, young engineer and aspiring entrepreneur?
- Who is publishing your book and how can we get a copy?
Quotes to think about:
Here are some key points discussed in this episode:
In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I interview Paul Eng-Wong, Professional Engineer and Principal in the Newark office of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB). We talk about professional ethics, mentoring, and the importance of being able to communicate effectively. Eng-Wong also gives 10 insightful strategies to help you advance your career as a civil engineer. Also in this episode, for our Civil Engineering Project of the Week Segment, we take a closer look at the Great Wall of China.