Discussion Thread

How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

  • 1.  How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-28-2020 01:36 PM

    Today, January 28th , is National LEGO Day: https://nationaltoday.com/national-lego-day/ . Although I did not connect it to civil engineering at the time, I loved playing with LEGOS as a little kid. I especially loved the Harry Potter sets since it connected to my love of reading while still letting me build random creations for my mini-figures.

    During some recent cleaning at home, I found a photo of me at age 3 playing with LEGOS that I thought I would add. Feel free to add photos to your posts as well if you would like!

    Me at age 3 playing with LEGOS


    My question for you all is how have LEGOS have inspired you to pursue civil engineering? If not LEGOS, is there another toy that inspired you?



    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-29-2020 07:59 AM
    Hi Danielle.

    LEGOs were a big part of my childhood. Like you, I did not connect building with LEGOs with civil engineering. At the time, it was a fun way to pass the time and I spent many hours building and creating. In the years since I started working after college, I did see the connection a lot more clearly that building with LEGOs did have an impact on my development towards becoming an engineer with the desire to create and an ability to see things from a different perspective.

    Funny little story, in an elementary school yearbook, I said that when I grew up I wanted to be a LEGO master. My wife jokes that I kind of did just that by becoming a structural engineer.

    ------------------------------
    Daniel Taylor P.E., M.ASCE
    Mulhern + Kulp
    Ambler PA
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-30-2020 09:03 AM
    Danielle,

    I also enjoyed spending time building with my LEGOS and making different structures or designs out of my many sets.
    Looking back to my childhood of building things with LEGOS, they did inspire me to go towards Civil Engineering as we get to play with structures and analyze them, similarly to the way we may have with our LEGO built structures. Seeing how tall we could go with LEGOS showed that we always needed a strong base or foundation for whatever style of design we are creating. This is still the same with our work today, needing to have a strong foundation for any buildings we design, to make sure that it has proper support to be able to withstand the design loads imposed on it.

    Fun to remember times spending creating things out of LEGOS.

    ------------------------------
    Timothy Lang EI, A.M.ASCE
    Staff Engineer
    Elkhart IN
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  • 4.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-31-2020 12:18 PM
    I'll probably be the odd one out here. But, I strongly dislike Lego's and always have. I did like Lincoln logs as a kid because I could manipulate the logs to fit what I was trying to do. When I taught at the college in engineering programs I felt like Lego's were always been forced upon me for curriculum, particularly to connect to robotics and the K-12 system. It drove me nuts. My son and daughter  both went to an engineering magnet school and I got Lego robotic team flyers all the time.

    Growing up I had a go kart from an early age. It would break all the time and my engineer grandfather and I would fix it. We worked on electrical and mechanical systems to make it faster and better all the time. One of my favorite things to do was to go out in the fields after a rain and spin 360's in the wet grass. It always threw the chain and damaged the cart but boy was it a blast! I loved working with the real tools and my grandfather was awesome in the sense that he didn't care what I took apart and what tools I used as long as I put them all back. I'd sit in his workshop for hours making stupid things that did nothing, like just soldering resisters to a spare circuit board or using a wood burning tool to etch my name in scrap wood. I learned so much through play, experimentation, and sometimes failure (like the time he and I tried to make a real racoon skin hat Davey Crocket style - Spoiler: it didn't turn out well - so gross.) that I felt I didn't get with Lego's.

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    Jesse Kamm PhD, PMP, A.M.ASCE
    Senior Vice President of Construction Management
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  • 5.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-31-2020 12:18 PM
    Hello Danielle,

    I absolutely love LEGOS! For me LEGOS didn't directly inspire me to be a civil engineer but it directed my avenue for engineering, creativity, and imagination.  In elementary school I joined a LEGO robotics club using the mindstorms branch of LEGO.  Although not civil based it was still taking engineering concepts and procedure to accomplish a common goal for our team.

    Even now I have several of the LEGO Skyline Architecture sets around my cubicle at work to remind me to be creative and to have fun.

    ------------------------------
    Jose Castro A.M.ASCE
    Chula Vista CA
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  • 6.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-03-2020 12:00 PM
    I loved playing with the LEGO set we had at my grandparents house, and I still enjoy building with LEGO. My favorite, though, were the colored wooden blocks we had at home.

    My sister and I both loved telling stories and making them come to life. She was largely in charge of character creation and dialogue. I was the director of the construction of the environment. She found suitable outfits for the Barbies to go with her theme, and I used our blocks and other supplies from around the house to make the roads and buildings.

    After a while I would get bored with whatever the Barbie crew was doing for the day and wanted to go outside. (Once the building part was over it wasn't of much interest to me.) My sister insisted that all narratives come to a logical conclusion. If I wanted to do something else, I had to find a way to end the story sooner.

    One of the most memorable was when her Barbie convertible was going over my bridge. I kicked out the supporting structure and said,"Oh no, structural failure. They all fell in the river and can't go to the ball now with wet dresses. Let's go play outside." I was around 9 years old at the time.

    I didn't really seriously think about being an engineer until high school. I decided on civil engineering my junior year of high school. Looking back over the story above and many others, it's no surprise this is where my career has taken me.
    I do wonder if I had known more about civil engineering as a kid if I would have decided on it sooner.

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    Heidi Wallace EI, A.M.ASCE
    Engineer Intern
    Tulsa OK
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  • 7.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-04-2020 10:11 AM
    Heidi - that is hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    My older brothers were huge Lego people, and I played with them some. I liked to create a little town, but I never really had enough street pads and lego sets to really do what I wanted. (Probably because I also like a lot of other toys)

    When I was a kid, I loved to play with matchbox cars. I would pick out a car for the mom and a car for the dad and imagine little families. Then I would use whatever I could find around my room to create a little town - neighborhoods where the imaginary people lived, schools, places of work. I always liked to make the parents drive the kids to school and go to work. I would pretty much have a "morning commute" and then turn around and do the "evening commute" (though I never thought of it that way at the time).

    I also love to draw house plans on graph paper, or to draw out maps on paper of imaginary towns. I would make up neighborhoods with schools and churches and shopping centers. After I had everything drawn out, I liked to plan out the different routes that people would take to get to school or church, etc.

    Fast forward many years and today I am (surprise, surprise) a traffic engineer! It makes perfect sense, but I don't think I ever knew there was such a thing when I was growing up.


    ------------------------------
    Kelly Farabee P.E., P.T.O.E., M.ASCE
    Project Engineer IV at CHA
    Savannah, GA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-05-2020 08:41 AM
    Well tonight is the premiere of the Lego Masters TV show.  Again, had I known that careers as a professional Lego builder or professional video gamer were options when growing up, things might have been different!   Lego is getting more and more recognition as being not just a kid's toy and that's cool!

    Lego building helps develop 3D building skills and visualization.  This is essential to transposing plans into reality.

    One thing that Lego is notable for is extremely low factory tolerances.  They are on the order of fractions of a mm.  Think about that in terms of quality, economics, and technical design!  Children are not fools, they know imitators when they see them.  Not because of the lack of brand name, but because of the fit-up of the bricks.  Even sets that claim compatibility of Lego will have pieces that fit too tight or too loose and are rendered useless.

    Most engineers at some point will realize that the real world does not conform to Lego standards for tolerance at all!  Tolerances for steel, concrete, wood, are all measured in inches.  Walls will never be perfectly plane and floors will never be perfectly flat.  So in a way Legos give the public a false sense of what construction is like.  But for engineers, they contain a valuable lesson on how rules within one building system dictate construction practices and need to be translated to integrate with another.

    One highlight of my career was helping to design stairs for Lego HQ in CT!

    ------------------------------
    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI
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  • 9.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-05-2020 09:57 AM
    I didn't have LEGOS back in Colombia where I grew up, but there was a toy that did inspire me to become a civil engineer. It took me a while to find the name since I wasn't sure if it had one plus what will be the right translation to English. The toy name is Etch A Sketch!

    I remembered spending a lot of time drawing, which later on I discovered I was drafting, other toys and I even remembered trying to re-draw the continents. I can't remember if I ever finished that amazing task!

    Thank you, Danielle, for posting this and bring such great memories!


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    Julian Valencia A.M.ASCE
    Project Engineer
    Houston, TX
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  • 10.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-09-2020 10:00 AM
    Dear Danielle, it is an excellent topic. I have the fortune to have a present of LEGO in my childhood, but it was not the case for most of the kids in my home country (Colombia). I played a lot with each brick and light cylinder. Still, I guess that other kids who hadn't this excellent opportunity also found the way to create and design things with all materials they have close (empty cans, boxes, lollypop sticks, etc.) and maybe that could also define their way to civil engineering. LEGO was a significant improvement to my career as a civil engineer and structural engineering and helped me to focus on my high level of getting everything ordered (in size and colour) transcending nowadays.

    ------------------------------
    Andres Guzman Ing., M.ASCE
    Associate Professor
    UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE
    Barranquilla
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  • 11.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 02-10-2020 12:27 PM
    Excellent discussion so far! I have especially enjoyed reading about the other toys that inspired you, like Julian and the Etch A Sketch! I see it as your introduction to CAD at a young age.

    During a recent K-12 Outreach visit at my mom's school, I came across the following table of "LEGO flying objects". Apparently this school has a LEGO club after school and these were their most recent creations. Happy to see that kids still love to create with LEGOS! 


    ------------------------------
    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 10-21-2020 03:19 PM
    Danielle,
    I just stumbled upon this thread, and I can relate to many of the others who played with LEGOs as a kid. Now, during this pandemic, I wish I still had many of the toys I used to play with as a kid! In addition to LEGOs, I remember other building related toys I used to play with:

    K'nex - Might be my favorite modular building block type toy. Like LEGOs, if you had enough K'nex pieces, you could build pretty much anything you wanted. I remember building a 3 foot tall hand operated windmill. An interesting thing with K'nex was that they had different "strength" pieces. I remember that the long grey rods (a very common piece) could be slightly bent to create curved shapes. But there were also long black rods, which were identical in shape to the grey rods, but were more rigid. I remember with the large windmill, the axle of the windmill needed to use the black rods, as the grey rods would not be able to support the weight. Teaching young kids that sometimes you need a stronger material to complete your design!

    Erector Sets - These were small scale metal plates, rods  nuts and bolts to make things out of. Even came with tiny wrenches to tighten the bolts! Since all the pieces were metal, they felt different compared to the plastic of LEGOs or K'nex. If anyone remembers the movie The Sandlot, the vacuum contraption they built to get their baseball back was made from Erector Sets. Great childhood memories!

    Lincoln Logs - Wooden rods of different lengths with notches in them to connect with other wooden rods (or logs). I can remember building skyscrapers with these and challenging myself to build higher next time. Plus, what kid doesn't love to topple over a skyscraper and watch it all come crashing down?

    I volunteer with mentoring high school students who are interested in architecture, construction, or engineering, and one of the best (and most fun) classes the mentors teach is on structural engineering where we have the students build building models out of magnetic geometric shapes (similar to GEOMAG Pro). It's amazing to see students who were bored suddenly become engaged and can't stop building all kinds of things.

    I think these types of toys can be an "educational" way for kids to play, and also a great way to teach concepts in an interactive way.

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    Doug Cantrell P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Durham NC
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  • 13.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 10-21-2020 09:55 PM
    What a fun post. I was really into Tonka trucks when I was young. I had a dedicated dirt patch where I could move earth. I also had a lot of broken trucks from pushing them to their limits. I also learned practical hydraulic engineering at an early age building waterways and retention basins.

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 14.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-25-2021 02:45 PM
    Hi all!

    I had loved this discussion so far! As January 28th, National LEGO Day, is coming up again, I wanted to revive this thread to see if any other folks want to answer the questions or contribute to the general discussion.

    The questions are how have LEGOS have inspired you to pursue civil engineering? If not LEGOS, is there another toy that inspired you?

    In terms of an update since my original post, I recently learned about the brick separator tool that LEGO makes: https://www.lego.com/en-us/product/brick-separator-630. Also in 2020, the LEGO Group dubbed December 26th a new celebration called LEGO Build Day! I greatly enjoyed following #LEGOBuildDay on social media to see what folks were building.






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    Danielle Schroeder EIT, A.M.ASCE (She/her)
    Associate Engineer
    Pennoni Associates
    Philadelphia PA
    ------------------------------


  • 15.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 01-25-2021 03:52 PM
    As a side note, Lego offers a recycling program for used Legos. They provide a shipping label, making it easy to give. The bricks you send will be sorted and cleaned before being donated to Teach for America or Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. We sent off two large boxes of Legos from our son's childhood last year. 

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    Mitch Winkler P.E., M.ASCE
    Houston, TX
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  • 16.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 30 days ago
    I was a Lego kid too. I don't know if the building aspect drew me to civil engineering, but I think it definitely led me into the general direction of "science" and "water".  I was obsessed with any boat or submarine-style build, and definitely spent the most time playing with those sets. I even took them in the pool and remember being disappointed that the interiors were not watertight.

    Playing with Legos probably did highlight my linear nature of learning too. I closely followed directions, did not like to skip steps, and had a specific box for any spare parts that I thought were extra cool.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 17.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Since I am retired I suspect I am older than most of the respondents.  Legos are a toy of my children.  In my youth I played with Lincoln Logs and Erector sets.  I still have two Erector sets and a small box of Lincoln Logs for my nephews and nieces. I remember getting a set of the logs in Canada where my father's family lived and the log pieces were square rather than round as was available in the States.  I spent countless hours building things with both toys.  I know where my civil engineering background came from. How I loved the time I spent with those two toys.  Like Legos you learned to follow directions and to think outside of the box.  What a great experience and useful in any career.  Derek McGrath retired PE.

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    Derek Mc Grath P.E., M.ASCE
    Proj Mgr
    Ridgewood NJ
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  • 18.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Derek - I had to laugh out loud when I read your comment.  That might explain why all the Canadian cars on South Park have square wheels!

    - Greg Thein

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    Greg Thein, PE
    Cleveland, OH
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  • 19.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Since I am also retired and a Child of the Greatest Generation, for me it was Tonka Trucks and Erector Sets.  Moving dirt and building massive industrial structures in the oil & gas sector was my passion for 50 years.  My kids loved Legos and my Grandkids are into building bots.

    R. D. Muse, P.E.
    Owner
    Upstream Engineered Solutions
    Spring, TX

    ------------------------------
    Robert Muse P.E., M.ASCE
    OWNER
    Spring TX
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 22 days ago
    In 1960, my dad gave me a toy bulldozer, which I loved so much I would sleep with it at night.
    Have to admit, it bothered my mom that her little girl loved the bulldozer that much.

    ------------------------------
    Susan Everett P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Manager
    Seattle WA
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  • 21.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 21 days ago
    I'm of the pre-Lego generation,  so played with Lincoln Logs when younger, and Erector sets when a bit older.  Yes, I have purchased sets of each to play with my two grandsons, who are still in the upper grades of elementary school. But they also have grown up with Duplo, then Lego, and we have built many projects together. I then started getting them building kits from Engino. I hope I don't divert them from structural engineering, but they now have robots from Meccano, Jimu, and now Lego Mindstorms EV3. Back to structural, my son recently bought me old sets of Kenner building kits, with the red wide-flange beams and columns, and the grandkids and I have built buildings and bridges with those sets, as well. With my career focus on structural steel, those are perfection. I've also taught them some bolting using an impact wrench, and they are learning some basic welding skills using small-wire FCAW. This Grandpa is trying to have civil/structural engineering (and structural steel) as a career choice for them.

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    Robert Shaw P.E., M.ASCE
    President
    Steel Structures Tech Center Inc
    Howell MI
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  • 22.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hah! - Kenner's 'Girder and Panel' (buildings) and 'Bridge and Highway' (bridges).  I had one and my brother had the other.   Now I'm the engineer and he's in the retail jewelry business.  We got our sets in the mid-1070's - all the columns, beams, and braces were black by then.  They were perfect toys for budding structural engineers.  You'd never build a Frank Gehry Building out of hte sets, but they were perfect for World Trade Centers (the original Twin Towers) or the Sear (now Willis) building

    Girder and Panel building sets - Wikipedia

    Kenner Girder & Panel System - Girders & Gears (girdersandgears.com)

    What is Girder and Panel? - Bridge Street Toys

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    Greg Thein, PE
    Cleveland, OH
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  • 23.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 20 days ago
    Hi, Danielle! What a fun topic!! My brothers and I (both civil engineers) did have Legos and Lincoln Logs, but I spent most of my time with our Junior Chemistry Set. We grew up in a huge old house that had a full 3rd floor. That's where we hung out. We had a pool table there. It was in pretty good shape at first, but I spilled chemicals "a few" times. Lots of holes in the baize. No fume hoods, no safety goggles, not even a lab coat. My brothers both followed the bridge design route. My path was industrial wastewater treatment and hazardous waste management. Good thing, because when I told my high school math teacher I wanted to be a civil engineer, she told me she's never drive across a bridge I designed. She had a point: I wasn't terribly good at doing arithmetic in my head nor close attention to detail; however, with wastewater, all you have to remember is that it flows downhill.

    ------------------------------
    Ann Tomalavage P.E., M.ASCE
    President
    Malarkey Consulting Inc
    Pottstown PA
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  • 24.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 17 days ago
    As a fellow wastewater engineer, I would like to endorse your message.

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    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
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  • 25.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 14 days ago
    I had to laugh about the chemistry set - a great toy, they wisely no longer sell.  I loved mine, and set the basement floor joist on fire -- twice.

    ------------------------------
    Susan Everett P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Manager
    Seattle WA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Great Topic!  Building tree forts gave me the bug for structures, dynamics, materials, and environmental engineering! :)

    ------------------------------
    Andrew Feranda, PE, PTOE, CME, M.ASCE
    Senior Project Manager
    Shamong, NJ
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  • 27.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 4 days ago
    Little did I know how my childhood toys would lead to a career in engineering.

    The actual sequence may be a bit fuzzy, but I think my first toy was a truck crane. Fully operable as far as the crane functions were concerned. Mom let me use a box of pasta as a substitute for real dirt (indoors of course). Wish that toy had remained in pristine condition as it would now be a pricey collectible.

    Next was Kenner's Girder & Panel Building Set (the basic version). I had a particular fun project building a tower up through the Christmas tree in & around the branches. Very prophetic much later in my career.

    I graduated from that set to Kenner's Hydro-Dynamic set. This caused a bit of angst with my parents because of the use of water - a lot of stuff got wet because of my tinkering.

    Of course, these are the indoor toys (except for the crane). During Summer vacation my mom pushed us outdoors when the weather was decent. I lived on a subsistence farm with a pond and multiple streams to play in. Thankfully I was outdoors more than indoors and always found something to keep involved in (read mischief).

    My neighborhood buddy up the street and I got into building and destroying multiple dams on those streams. We always got a kick out of totally cutting off water to a downstream portion, then busting the dam to see how much flooding would occur. I got into a major dam project on the larger stream that fostered my understanding of water diversion to facilitate dam construction. Today's Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission would have issued a Cease & Desist order had they discovered my endeavors. I was able to back up the stream for about 300 feet upstream and at times raised the water level by a foot or more.

    Of course my buddy & I built the requisite 'forts' and a great succession of tree houses, one of which housed the first Playboy magazine that we had lifted. That treehouse lasted well beyond our venture in getting drivers' licenses and the beginning of a fascination with cars.

    Back to the earlier years. Dad provided a pile of sand for us to play in. The aforementioned crane found its way outside of course, and ultimately included other construction vehicles. I was especially entranced by tracked vehicles.  At some point I discovered that certain soil, mixed with water, poured into the space between 2 vertical boards, and dried by the sun would provide a vertical 'wall'. That expanded my creativity and allowed for the construction of roads, bridges and mud (adobe I suppose) buildings. Naturally after a heavy rain I'd have to start all over again.

    Once high school loomed near, I opted for a technical high school's Architectural Drafting program. This was in the mid-late 1960s so CAD was not yet on the horizon.  I readily adapted to CAD (AutoCAD) and now almost all of my thinking, planning and tinkering is done on the computer.

    My career path started less than a year after high school graduation as a position of drafter for a building products manufacturer and distributor. I became a detailer of open web joists initially, and then worked into their concrete construction division.

    As time went on a district manager convinced me to take college courses and work towards getting a BSCE degree, which I ultimately achieved. It took 13 years though, working fulltime with extended periods of overtime. I was unique in that I obtained my first P.E. license 2 years BEFORE receiving my BSCE.

    What I think is really ironic were a couple of things. The sandbox experience with mud (adobe) structures and then being involved in the design of concrete forms, and the associated temporary structures need to support them. Remember the tower and the Christmas tree? This fostered some insight in designing temporary works needed for modifying existing structures.

    All in all, my career has been very gratifying, albeit not newsworthy. It's unfortunate that the many people who have the 'hands on' in making noteworthy structures reach completion do not get the same kind of recognition granted to those who conceived and designed them. Were it not for those workers these kinds of accomplishments would never have been realized.

    ------------------------------
    Ralph Tulis P.E., M.ASCE
    General Manager
    Willington CT
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 3 days ago
    Ralph,
    Your response to this question should be published.  (BTW, I had forgotten about the hydraulic set.  I had one of those, and made a mess of the basement.  I also had a chemistry set, and caught that basement on fire (twice).
    Susan

    ------------------------------
    Susan Everett P.E., M.ASCE
    Design Manager
    Seattle WA
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted 3 days ago
    Susan,
    Thanks for your response.  There are a number of things that I did not include in my initial comments.
    I also had a chemistry set.  I actually got more enjoyment out of using the alcohol lamp to bend and shape glass tubing.  Didn't get much into the mixing of various chemicals to prove or examine the result.
    I had the usual model train set along with a number of locomotives that I tinkered with.  Of course, one or more never worked again after I dismantled and reassembled them.  But I will say that it was a start in understanding how electricity worked.
    And then there was the slot car set.  I was actually in a slot car club in my freshman year at high school.  We had a drag race track for our club meetings which further enhanced my proclivity to tinker, which (unknown to me at the time) fostered an intuitive sense of gear ratios and DC motors.
    As a boy growing up in the '50s & '60s I had a cobbled together Erector Set handed down from my grandparents.  It provided hours of fun and inspiration.  Again, another thing I wish had been better taken care of and saved for posterity.
    No doubt after I send this off to the nether land of the internet I'll recall some additional tidbits that other may find interesting.  I will exclude those things that, in today's climate, would have precipitated a visit by Homeland Security or the ATFE.
    Ralph

    ------------------------------
    Ralph Tulis P.E., M.ASCE
    General Manager
    Willington CT
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: How have LEGOS or other toys inspired you to pursue civil engineering?

    Posted yesterday

    The slot cars, I remember taking them apart.  I also had a electric circuit board toy.  We made a radio that worked (occasionally).  From that experience, I learned the importance of a good antenna.

    Susan