In this episode, we talk to Jennifer Traut-Todaro. SE, LEED AP, a senior engineer at the American Institute of Steel Construction about equity in the AEC world. She expands on some of the challenges faced in the office environment and in the trades and how you can become more involved in the AEC Industry.
Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Jennifer:
- You are a private tutor on topics such as general structures, lateral forces, statistic and dynamics, concrete, steel, and many more. How has this experience helped to advance your engineering career?
- What challenges do you get to face in the office environment that you work in, and what do you do to overcome these challenges?
- How about challenges in the trades?
- What are some of the emerging initiatives in the AEC industry that have caught your attention?
- What is your opinion on equity in AEC?
Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About Equity in AEC:
- Seeing structures from an architectural perspective and not just like an engineer can help students to approach exams from an architect’s perspective, which can make it more likely that they will get licensed.
- One of the challenges of one-on-one teaching is that you need to explain some things in many ways before the student understands it; this can be difficult to do in a large group scenario.
- Breaking down a large team into smaller workgroups can make things more manageable, and more individual attention can be given to team members and problems that arise.
- One of the biggest challenges faced during the pandemic is effectively communicating and keeping everyone up to date.
- The AISC is highly funded by companies that make steel. You get a manual because the fabricators of steel want you to be able to design their products. The AISC has many volunteers with different skills who come together to look at the AISC’s documents, ensure they are current research, and that they cover all the details that need to be covered.
- People need to join groups like the ASCE because the diverse perspective and questions asked are what help people and the groups to grow. You can learn a lot from the engineers with Ph.D.s as they have many years of study and work experience to pass on.
- We are currently in a skilled trade shortage, and research is forecasting that the main need is people in their 50s with many years of experience. However, this is not sustainable.
- The trades are trying to hire people who look like them, but people are not interested anymore, even though the positions are high paying and secure. Many different groups are trying to increase the diversity of the people in the trades and make the opportunities available to everybody.
- Some companies harness engineering education in school and working environments. These companies have recruiters who work with non-traditional roles. Get in touch with them and find out if they have a position that you can work in.
More Details in This Episode…
About Jennifer Traut-Todaro, SE, LEED AP
Jennifer Traut-Todaro, SE, LEED AP, is a Senior Engineer for the American Institute of Steel Construction and is a licensed Structural Engineer in the State of Illinois. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture Degree with a structural focus, both from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. After graduation, Jennie started her structural engineering career as a consulting design engineer, gathering experience for 11 years on small to mid-rise projects around the United States. Before joining AISC in 2014, she was a Structural Associate at the A/E firm Harley Ellis Devereaux. She is serving her last term on the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois’ board of directors and is involved with several committees. Her passions are elegant building design solutions, structural and architectural, and equity in the AEC industry.
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Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on equity in AEC and the challenges engineers face in the office environment and the trades.
To your success,
Mathew Picardal P.E. & Alexis Clark, P.E., M.ASCE
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast