In this episode, we talk to Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero, Ph.D., P.E., a geotechnical project manager and laboratory manager at American Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc., about how you can be open to new opportunities in your engineering career, what geotechnical engineers can do in life, and what it means to be an engineer who attends conferences.
In this episode, we talk to Andrew (Drew) Twarek, a project manager at Ruby+Associates, Inc. Structural Engineers about construction engineering, what it is and how it differs from structural engineering. He also talks about some of the top award-winning projects that he’s worked on in the past.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Drew Twarek about Construction Engineering:
In this episode of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast, I talk to Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, president at Hagerty Engineering, Inc., about starting a successful engineering firm. Peggy shares some of the valuable lessons she learned when starting her firm and how she overcame obstacles in her path.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, in This Episode:
- Can you tell us what it is like to be the President of Hagerty Engineering?
- What made you decide to take the geotechnical engineering path?
- Do you have to love math to be an engineer?
- Why did you start your blog and what experiences have you had because of it?
- Can you tell us about the deep foundation video that you were in and what your role was in it?
- What made you decide to start your own firm?
- Did you have any fears when you started your firm and how did you overcome them?
- If you had to look back, did you make the right decision to start a firm?
- Is there anything that you can think of doing differently in your firm?
- What is your advice for geotechnical engineers who are thinking about starting their firm?
- With your firm’s involvement with ADSC, how do you find time to do everything, and how does it align with your responsibilities and professional career?
- At what point do you think in someone’s career should they start looking at getting engaged with professional organizations?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How to Start and Grow a Successful Engineering Firm:
- Peggy started her geotechnical engineering career by conducting basic geotechnical investigations, and still does this from time to time. She has kept her company small because she does not want to go to a level of just management — she still wants to be active in the field. The company is in an area where there are many sinkholes, and it excites her to work on projects that involve working with sinkholes.
- Peggy started studying in the medical field, however, she had helped her dad with research projects and discovered that she enjoyed doing that kind of work, and so decided to pursue a geotechnical engineering career.
- You do not need to love math to be an engineer, but you do need to be able to do it.
- There are not many women in the geotechnical engineering field, and the few that are there feel like they cannot talk about having rough days at a site. This is because they are mostly scared someone is going to pull them off of the project and replace them with a man. Peggy’s blog serves as an outlet for women, and they are encouraged to join in and share their experiences.
- Peggy was 30 years old when she decided to start her firm. She decided to do this because she did not agree with the philosophy of many of the places she worked at. Many firms put the business decisions before the engineering decisions, but Peggy wanted to do this the other way around: engineering decisions and ethics first.
- When starting her firm, Peggy was more nervous about the business side of things than the engineering side. She thought in a way where she felt responsible for the mortgages of all the people who worked in her firm. She has a spontaneous personality and when she decided to start her firm, she said she was doing it and not looking back.
- Hagerty Engineering Inc., does a lot of outreach and support of community construction projects.
- If you get involved with all of your employees’ personal problems, then you are not being a good manager, and this takes a while to learn.
- The ADSC is Hagerty Engineering’s biggest client, and they service their technical director. They oversee all of ADSC’s technical committee work and all the research that is done with the association. They are also the liaison with federal estate agencies and represent members in technical issues.
- You should start engaging with professional organizations as soon as you can. This will help you early in your career to get help with problems from people who have done it before.
More Details in This Episode…
About Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE
Peggy Hagerty Duffy, P.E., D.GE, M.ASCE, graduated from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1989 and a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering degree with a concentration in geotechnical engineering in 1990. She worked for several consulting firms before starting Hagerty Engineering in 1997 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in the metro Louisville, Kentucky, area.
Peggy has experience with both deep and shallow foundations for a wide variety of structures, including municipal facilities, wastewater treatment and water treatment plants, multifamily and single-family housing, industrial complexes, and many others. She also has experience with tunnel and dam design and with dam remediation, as well as slope stability analysis. She has extensive experience in karst terrain and has worked on hundreds of projects involving sinkhole treatment and design and construction of structures over sinkholes.
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This episode was also brought to you by Menard Group USA. Do you have projects where you are faced with building on soft or loose ground? Does it seem like all the good sites are taken and you are always building on poor soils that are a challenge for conventional foundation approaches? Menard may be able to help! As a specialty ground improvement contractor, Menard works nationally and internationally providing design-build ground improvement solutions at sites with problematic soils. Menard’s techniques include Controlled Modulus Columns, wick drains, earthquake drains, vibro stone columns, dynamic compaction, rapid impact compaction, and soil mixing. Typical projects include warehouses, buildings, material storage piles, processing areas, embankments, roadways, port facilities, storage tanks, containment structures, and platforms. In many cases, ground improvement is less costly than traditional approaches such as removal and replacement or piling systems. Menard works closely with civil, structural, and geotechnical engineers to minimize foundation costs for wide ranges of soil conditions, structure types, and loading conditions. To learn more about Menard Group USA, or for help on your next project, please visit www.menardgroupusa.com
Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on starting your own successful engineering firm.
To your success,
Jared M. Green, P.E., D.GE
Host of The Geotechnical Engineering Podcast
This is a guest blog by Mike Burns, PE, PgMP, DBIA
Last month we discussed How AEC Professionals Can Approach Their Roles as Integrators. This role is critical as communities across the globe cautiously move from healthcare pandemic responses to economic recovery. In the United States, our rapidly evolving monetary and fiscal response has a significant infrastructure investment component, including the Federal Reserves’ Municipal Liquidity Facility, the CARES Act, and pending action in Congress as recent headlines note (e.g., House approves $1.5T plan to fix crumbling infrastructure). In our inherently complex industry, we must build on our integrator role to expose and promote local wins aligned to broader policy objectives.
The Legislative Outline for Infrastructure in America , developed with inputs from across the political spectrum, frames our policy emphasis:
In this episode, I talk to Jonathan Hard, CEO and President of H2L Solutions, Inc. (H2L). H2L specializes in cyber and information assurance and provides cybersecurity solutions for government and commercial customers. Jonathan talks about cybersecurity, both what individual engineers can do to protect themselves in the world of homeworking and what engineering companies need to consider, and why the company should be working with the United States government.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Jonathan Hard:
- What are some of the key cybersecurity things that homeworkers should be thinking about?
- Are there any other actions that an individual may want to be thinking about to strengthen their home cybersecurity systems beyond a VPN?
- Are there things that company managers need to be thinking about with regard to additional items or activities to make sure that their staff is up to scratch with cybersecurity?
- Can you explain what the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) program is?
- As we look to the future, where do you see the IT industry going with regard to homeworking, businesses, and what you think the new normal is going to look like?
- How can people get connected with you and learn more about what you and your company are doing?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Cybersecurity:
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.