In this episode of The Engineering Quality Control podcast, we continue with the 5-Part Framework for Quality Control and focus on the fifth and final aspect of this framework, which is known as TWEAK (debriefing).
This is a guest post by Dr. Rae Taylor
I am a member of the social networking site “Nextdoor” (I call it a nosy neighbor site). I joined for the COVID updates and to volunteer my superpowers as a relatively young, low-COVID-risk person. But I stayed for the complete insanity that is village gossip. I was a little shocked to get a notification from my county saying “Civil Engineers!!! We need you!” I clicked on the post and it sounded a little desperate. It seems my county doesn’t mind what stage of your career you are in, what area of civil engineering you are in, or even if you get your job ads from a site used primarily to discuss whose dog is barking at what time.
In the same week, I got an email from a city not too far from me, where I had unsuccessfully applied for a job in 2016, asking me if I would like to apply for a job again. They provided a link to the job they were thinking about, but stressed that if anything else caught my eye I should apply for that too.
The following week I got two messages on LinkedIn from recruiters about civil engineering jobs, located about two hours away, that they thought I might like to apply for.
Now is a good time to point out that while I have worked as a civil engineer before, until now I have never been recruited as one. There is a convincing argument that when you get a Ph.D., you will no longer be a good engineer. Clearly this is an oversimplification, and an enjoyable discussion can be had on this. But I would say that I can’t think of a person I know, or know of (other than me), who has done graduate-level research and then gone into an EIT or P.E. role exclusively. So it should make sense when I tell you that previously, all the messages I got recruiting me to apply for a job were for jobs in R&D, teaching and talking about research, or in one fun case setting up experiments for a TV show. But not civil engineering jobs. As such, these latest recruiting messages conjured up visions of a barrel and an entire HR department reaching as far as they can to the base.
So what’s happening and should we be worried? Well, lots, and yes, always.
This is a guest blog by Steve Soldati, P.E.
Pipelines that carry flows under pressure represent a special set of challenges for water and sewer rehabilitation. Historically, most pressurized pipelines were rehabilitated using open cut construction. Part of the reason for that choice was a lack of trenchless rehabilitation technologies appropriate for pressurized pipelines. A lack of investment in the aging pressure pipe infrastructure, coupled with increasing congestion both above and below ground, has accelerated development in the trenchless rehabilitation industry.
But there are several trenchless rehabilitation technologies available, so how do you choose between the different technologies? Where do you start? What factors about the project make one rehab solution better than the other? Who are the key players who need to be involved? What questions need to be answered to make an educated decision? There are multiple rehabilitation methods that are feasible, but each one has its own set of pros and cons.
In this episode, we talk to Joseph (Joe) Dardis, P.E., a Senior Structural Steel Specialist with the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) in Chicago, about what structural engineers should know about the evolving construction economy.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Joe About the Evolving Construction Economy:
- Can you provide more insights about what the building construction economy is looking like right now, the types of projects being built, and how it has evolved?
- Do you think any project types will bounce back to the level of growth they were in 2019?
- How did the sizes of projects evolve over the past few years?
- What forces in the overall economy drive the evolution of what we build and how can a structural engineer prepare and adapt to these changes?
- What do you predict the building market will look like in the future?
- How are building materials used to address the evolving building market?
- What can structural engineers do to help improve the construction industry?
- How do you measure US economic health and how does this relate to the construction economy?
- Are there any resources available that can help engineers understand more about the evolving building market?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About the Evolving Construction Economy:
This is a guest post by Peter C. Atherton, P.E.
There’s no question that strategic planning is essential for individual, team, and organizational success. Yet despite this, the vast majority of strategic plans and major strategic initiatives fail or fail to be fully or successfully implemented.
Why is this the case and, more importantly, what can we do to ensure that we, our teams, and our organizations are on the winning side?
From my perspective as both a strategic planning participant at manager, principal, and firm owner levels and now as a strategic planning facilitator and execution consultant, here are the top 10 reasons most strategic plans and major strategic initiatives either languish or fail:
This is a guest post by Zane Pucylowski , P.E.
Customers want to work with engineers who provide excellent service by respecting their time and needs. However, manufacturing challenges, constant innovations, and changes to the industry can be a barrier to excellent customer service. Without great customer service and relationship building, new innovations and investments may never happen. Keeping a steady pipeline of existing clients will be beneficial to your firm. Existing clients keep your project board full and can recommend your firm to new clientele. However, closing on a new lead can take time, so it helps your firm to re-engage with existing clients. As the President and Principal Engineer at Phoenix Engineering and Consulting, I have seen the importance of maintaining solid client relationships. Here are five ways we work with clients to make sure we keep these relationships strong.
1. Maintain an Open Mind
In this episode of The Civil Engineering Podcast, I talk to Ron Burg, P.E., the Executive Vice President of the American Concrete Institute, also known as ACI. Ron discusses some interesting trends in the world of concrete, but also provides some important strategies for career development for civil engineering professionals based on his long and successful career journey.
Here Are Some of the Questions I Ask Ron:
This is a guest blog by Kristi Hoke Mirambell, P.E
As I sit to write a blog about People Disappointment Management 101, I hear the song “God Is Great, Beer Is Good, and People Are Crazy” playing on the radio. At first, the song was nothing more than a typical country song about life with a country play on word humor. I heard this song many times, but it wasn’t until this time in my life, which is filled with an abundance of fear and unknowns, that I heard this song differently. I believe this song represents the best way to explain People Disappointment Management 101.
What makes us disappointed in another person?
I believe that our disappointments lie within our expectations of an event or person. When our expectations are not met, we create a narrative that validates that we are “right” and the event/person is “wrong.”
I am an engineer who lives for data points. This model works great for me because I continuously find data to prove my disappointment as accurate. From an ego standpoint, this works very well because all the narratives that I’ve lived by or believed made me “right.” However, what I learned through my 20-plus years of living according to a spreadsheet is that many past relationships ended in my life with the other person walking away defeated. Hey, but I won — or did I?
There was a time in my life that I knew I needed to change the way that I lived — that it no longer served me and I was ready for a “Cool Change” (another great song!). I started on this journey into uncharted territory and found that there was a whole new way of living, and it could help me to create the life I was desperately searching for.
For me, it started with being able to manage my disappointments in people. There are three key standards specific to personal relationships that we choose to live our lives in, and they tie right back to “God Is Great, Beer Is Good, and People Are Crazy.”
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 this episode, you’re going to listen in on a conversation between me and Fernando A. Ceballos, P.E. Fernando will share some strategies that he’s used to realize success in his career at such a young age. He will also talk about how being a member of our Engineering Management Institute has helped him in his career.