The far-reaching impact of modern engineering on day-to-day life is extraordinary. Everything from clean drinking water and efficient roadway networks to advanced medical and cell phone technology is made possible by the engineering profession. Each year, the engineering community and educators across the country celebrate National Engineers Week (E-Week) to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of engineers. It’s the only event of its kind that not only honors engineers and their work but also strives to increase public awareness of the profession for the general public.
As the complex challenges faced by society continue to evolve, National Engineers Week serves as a valuable platform to help educate, mentor, and inspire the next generation of forward-thinking engineers. Initiated by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) in 1951, this year marks the 66th anniversary of Engineers Week. Since 1990, it has been organized and supported by DiscoverE (formerly known as the National Engineers Week Foundation), which uses outreach, education, celebration, and volunteerism to promote the engineering profession.
Taking place the week of February 19th, the 2017 E-Week theme is “Dream Big,” with a variety of videos, activity ideas, posters, and other resources available at discovere.org. To launch Engineers Week 2017, five new members of the Snyder & Associates engineering team shared their thoughts on the profession, including what inspired them to become an engineer, what they enjoy most about the job so far, the advice they would give to someone interested in becoming an engineer, and how they “Dream Big.”
Our Engineers Week celebrations will continue next week with key insights from veteran Snyder & Associates engineers — so stay tuned!
With this year’s E-Week theme “Dream Big” in mind, what are two important goals you have as an engineer?
Right now, my main goal is to get my PE license in the future, and then I’d like to work my way up to bigger and more complex projects. — Kyle Sokulski, EI, Civil Engineer
I want to get my Professional Engineer license as soon as I can, and then my Professional Traffic Operations Engineer license after that. Eventually, I hope to lead a traffic engineering group like the one I work in. — Andrew Houchin, EI, Traffic Engineer
I would like to get my PE and take a trip to the Philippines to help improve the living conditions. — Lorena McGee, EI, Civil Engineer
I would like to be able to have a positive impact on the communities we serve and build great working relationships with potential and future clients. I also strive to consistently expand my knowledge base to the point where I am the one that gets asked questions and not the other way around — serving as a mentor for young engineers. — Parker Just, EI, Water Resources Engineer
My short-term goals revolve around gaining as much experience as I can. There are many engineers at Snyder & Associates who have worked through more scenarios than I could imagine. Taking on different tasks and learning from experienced engineers throughout the office will go a long way.
Long-term, I’d like to get to the point that I’m able to pass on my own experiences to the next wave of engineers and provide the same guidance so many professionals have shared with me. — Matthew Allender, EI, Civil Engineer
Who or what inspired you to become an engineer and why?
My grandfather worked in the civil engineering field for the greater part of the last 60 years so I can thank him for passing on the math and science genes to get the leg work done. Otherwise, I’ve always had an interest in finding the best solution for a given set of constraints, and engineering gave me a perfect platform to do that. — Matthew Allender, EI, Civil Engineer
I grew up in the Philippines, and I have seen and lived in areas where houses are made of materials that are not structurally stable and there’s unsafe drinking water. I wanted to be someone who could help change that for my friends and family who live there and Civil Engineering covers all of that. — Lorena McGee, EI, Civil Engineer
What do you enjoy most about the profession so far?
I enjoy the problem-solving that goes into each project. While there are many projects which have similarities, no two are exactly alike, and each provides their own set of unique challenges and constraints, almost like a puzzle. It’s very satisfying to come up with a design or analysis that overcomes those challenges. — Andrew Houchin, EI, Traffic Engineer
Seeing something you designed or were a part of building completed and in use is really cool. — Kyle Sokulski, EI, Civil Engineer
It’s dynamic and exciting. Every project comes with its own individual research, design requirements, and challenges. Additionally, there is a good opportunity to enhance my knowledge by working on new projects, with new people, and attending conferences and webinars. — Parker Just, EI, Water Resources Engineer
What advice would you give to someone that’s interested in becoming an engineer?
The best advice I could pass on would be to get your foot in the door as soon as you can. Engineering encompasses so many fields; getting experience in how they all tie together within a project goes a long way and opens a lot of doors. — Matthew Allender, EI, Civil Engineer
Put effort into all your school work and not just your engineering courses. Technical aspects are important, but it is equally important that you are able to express technical concepts to non-technical people, whether it’s through writing or speaking. — Andrew Houchin, EI, Traffic Engineer
Be open to new experiences and learning new things because as an engineer, you will be constantly learning and absorbing new ways of doing things. Diversifying your knowledge base when you’re in school will allow you to draw on more experiences as a professional and allow you to be a well-rounded engineer. — Parker Just, EI, Water Resources Engineer