Topic Moderators

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Meet the ASCE Collaborate Topic Moderators

Topic Moderators add value to the discussion, increase the body of knowledge, and nurture the ASCE Collaborate Community. Find out a little more about them.

Dr. Andres Guzman, ING., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate is an excellent opportunity to share our knowledge with young and former engineers and also with colleagues around the world. We can talk not only about technical issues but also about our profession, including ethical issues.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

As a civil engineering professor, I always tell my students to dedicate their work to serve, to do everything in the right way. I also tell them to be involved in different activities (sports, music, arts, other disciplines) to increase their knowledge and acquire new points of view in facing the daily practice. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I’ve always liked mathematics and physics. I like to know how everything works. Last but not least in importance, my university is the best in my home country (Colombia), and I wanted to learn and know with the best.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy helping others with no reward in mind. I can design any structure I can imagine and watch how it grows when it is constructed. That is beautiful. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

Right now I am involved in a project (a concrete building to serve as an art school) that uses different design disciplines, and during construction all conditions changed (soils, materials). The project needs to be verified for every new load that appears during construction.

Bevin Beaudet, P.E. M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

It is important for civil engineers to share their knowledge and experiences. We all become better problem solvers when we combine the experiences of the entire profession to help us with issues that we might otherwise struggle with on our own. ASCE Collaborate is a terrific forum for this profession-wide brainstorming.  

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?


I challenge new engineers to get as much detailed engineering experience as they can. This might mean volunteering for difficult tasks or asking their managers for jobs that involve hard engineering skills. Second, I remind them that it is not only OK, but good to ask questions of more experienced engineers. Third, I recommend that they work toward getting their professional engineering registrations as quickly as they can.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I became a civil engineer to work in water/wastewater treatment and water resources. I wanted to put my talents to work planning, designing, and building projects that advanced public health and the environment.   

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Ribbon cuttings.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most important project I have ever been involved in was late in my career as the Utilities Director for Palm Beach County, Florida. The project involved solving the technical and political problems of bringing in fresh, clean water and much-needed infrastructure repair and replacement for the poverty-stricken cities in Western Palm Beach County along Lake Okeechobee (the Glades Tri-cities). I did a presentation on this entitledEngineering to Out Poverty,” and received commendations from all three city councils just as I retired from the utility. This was my proudest moment as an engineer.  

 

Chad Morrison, P.E., M.ASCE


Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Sharing ideas on professional practice, career paths, and technical knowledge provides an opportunity to learn and reflect on your own work.  It helps build communication skills and your professional network.  Serving the profession is a means to build public trust and elevate its standing among others.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Listen to those who build and learn from them. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

My grandfather was a carpenter.  He told me, “Work with your mind, not your hands.”

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

The best part of being a civil engineer is visiting the project site.  During construction it is fun to get a behind the scenes look on some impressive works. When a project is completed, it is great to see everyone bustling around the building and being able to show my friends and family the work my team has done! 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

Miscellaneous steel items for Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University were some of the most challenging that I have completed.  They required original design work that needed to be coordinated with the design team, general contractor, and owner.  Items included a “floating” wall, oversized pivot doors, monumental stairs, acoustic wall supports, and catwalks.  I was able to provide creative solutions for connections to the superstructure, member sizing, acoustic isolation, and product selection. It was a difficult project at the time, but now I can see how much I learned from it.  Ask questions up front, but don’t be afraid to present your own solutions at the same time!

David Urena, P.E., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?  
To give back and help those who have been in the same boats as we have. To give technical and emotional guidance to young minds as they develop into becoming well-rounded engineers.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?
Read EQ is for Everyone by Dr. Hank Clemons

Why did you become a civil engineer?  
I worked a two-year internship at a site design firm that gave me a lot of exposure into the profession. I also enjoy solving civil engineering problems (mainly as they relate to drainage issues).

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?
Now that I’m a self-employed civil engineer, managing my own time is the most rewarding aspect of my day-to-day life. As far as the profession, drainage and plans production are my two most favorite tasks. Being licensed also gives me a huge sense of pride and distinguishment in the field.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed? 
I work on an apartment project in which the developer retained an ADA consultant which made grading the site a nightmare. It got permitted eventually. Even built, too!

Jameelah Ingram, P.E., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate is a tool to engage with civil engineers around the world. Contributing to ASCE Collaborate allows me to build relationships and share knowledge with other engineers. I also gain advice, new perspectives, and an opportunity to enhance my writing skills.

As we serve the public through civil engineering, the works we create serve us in return. Therefore, contributing to the civil engineering profession is essential, and I enjoy playing my part.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

1) Join a Professional Association - Professional Associations offer ways to: engage in engineering outreach on a large scale and strengthen the pipeline of future engineers; develop connections with professionals locally and globally; and grow leadership skills.

2) Read Engineering Articles - Reading engineering articles is an excellent way to explore interests outside of the projects you are working on. The articles can give you a glimpse into other niches in the engineering industry. Online publications and industry magazines often provide insight for problems you are working to solve as well.

3) Ask Questions - If you reach an impasse in an engineering calculation, try asking questions. Prior to the conversation, be sure to do your research. Come prepared to show the ways in which you have already attempted to arrive at a solution.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I was inspired to study structural engineering by the infrastructure and architecture in my hometown of Chicago. I was captivated by soaring skyscrapers and beautiful bridges. My mother, who is a surreal artist, and father, a technical professional and U.S. Navy Veteran, greatly influenced my path. As a civil engineer, I also have the opportunity to help others reach the destinations most important to them.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

As a civil engineer, our projects are tangible. Our designs solve critical problems and create conveniences to improve quality of life. I enjoy the feeling of happiness that comes with seeing a project I have contributed to being constructed and ultimately used by the public.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project I have ever completed was a new six span pedestrian bridge across a busy interstate with spans up to 173 feet (approx. 53 meters). It was challenging because it was a project full of “firsts” for me. It was the first pedestrian bridge, the first prestressed concrete bridge, and the first bridge on the East Coast of the United States I had ever designed. I had to learn new standards and software programs. I also collaborated with a new group of engineers for the project. The challenges made the completion of the project even more rewarding!

James Smith, P.E., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Civil Engineering may be one of the oldest professions, but it is also one of the most robust.  Over the millennia society has continued to change, morph, and adapt to an ever evolving world.  From the earliest huts for shelter, to the worlds tallest skyscrapers.  The first planned roads, to complex freeway networks.  From dumping our waste in rivers to turning our waste into other products we can use; and on and on. The profession of Civil Engineering continues to change, and so we the stewards and practitioners of this profession must also evolve and adapt.  As such the collective sharing of information is the most effective means to do so, and this collaboration is essential. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

In engineering, as in life: the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.  Starting out you may know a lot, but the truth is there is so much you don’t even realize you don’t know about.  Learn as much as you can about everything in your field; from technical specifications, team roles, drafting techniques and standards, and more.  First seek to learn on your own, online or in a book, then ask questions; not just of one person but your whole team if possible.   Try to better understand the roles of your team and how your work affects them and vice-versa, this improves collaboration and prevents mistakes.  And when you do make a mistake, and you will that’s part of learning, own up to it and learn from it so as not to repeat it.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I became a Civil Engineer because I wanted to help give back to society and make the world a better place.  While many professions and engineers share this same passion, I always enjoyed being able to create something I can see and touch.  To be able to bring a concept in my mind to lines on paper and finally a project that you can physically interact with and use is very rewarding.  While road design is not often the most visually stunning, I appreciate that I’m able to help countless numbers of people more safely travel.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Creative problem solving is what keeps Civil Engineering challenging and engaging.  While projects may seem very similar on the surface, no two projects are entirely alike.  Each have different constraints and challenges that require special considerations and solutions.  These challenges arrive at all different scales, big and small.  From laying out the alignment of a road to detail grading for drainage.  Every project has unique problems, and those problems require unique solutions.  That process of creative problem solving is what keeps Civil Engineering exciting and fulfilling to me.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

I had a local freeway project that was forced to accelerate its schedule from roughly 18 months to construction to about 8 months due to rapid deterioration of the road.  In addition to this dramatic reduction in road schedule for design, we were also tasked with designing the road for both concrete and asphalt to allow both industries to competitively bid on the project with life cycle cost in mind.  This task meant all team members had to take on greater responsibility and I had to quickly learn a number of new systems and elements of design in short order.  With the project also under public scrutiny, everything had to be done to perfection.  The combination of all those factors made it the biggest challenge I’ve faced, yet.  In the end we achieved this goal and delivered a project that greatly improved the safety and road quality for my community, and were awarded for excellence in paving.

Dr. Jesse Kamm, Ph.D., A.M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Engineering projects come in a wide variety. It’s important to know there are many experts within our community with specialized knowledge that are eager to engage and share expertise for those moments you need some focused advice. Newer engineers can tap into that resource through ASCE collaborate and ASCE Journals while more experienced engineers can contribute their valuable expertise into new areas of knowledge. Since no one is all-knowing, we need those intersections of finely tuned expertise to lead the profession into the future.

 What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

  1. Always consider “why” the project exists- Project stakeholders may be approaching decisions from very different perspectives and perhaps with competing goals of which you may not be aware.
  2. Evaluate solutions from the user’s/stakeholder’s perspective - It’s easy for engineers to see one solution as the best possible solution without seeing outside perspectives.
  3. Recognize your own biases (such as anchoring, availability heuristics, congruence bias, and many other cognitive bias) – Research has shown engineers (and people in general) make decisions in ways contrary to logic under very common scenarios. Learn when you may be experiencing such bias.
  4. Get the P.E. behind your name and find your niche in the marketplace. Don’t underestimate the value of the P.E. designation.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I love to create environments where people want to be. I believe there is an art to creating immersive environments, working within competing constraints, and using engineering to solve complex problems. Since my PhD and MS are within the construction and engineering management domain, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a civil engineer per se but as a construction engineering management professional I appreciate the unique contributions of all engineering disciplines. The world is a better place because of engineers.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy creating the built environment and using technology and science to make things that were once only imagined.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging projects involve multiple stakeholders with competing interests and varying degrees of cooperation. As an engineering manager my job is to keep the money and the information flowing so all the moving parts end in the correct place. As I’ve progressed through the ranks my day-to-day activities become far less technical (which of course is why I fell in love with engineering in the first place) and now involve working with budgets, contracts, engineering legal issues, and people management. At times it feels those challenges are much more difficult than solving a technical challenge.

Kenneth Mika, P.E., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I believe it is importance to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole because we need to continue to advance the profession. One way to advance the profession is to share and discuss knowledge and experiences with each other. By providing knowledge and experiences to each other, we can learn from each other and help each other grow.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Advice I often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career is to network as much as possible. Networking can help you meet people who may eventually become friends, family, colleagues, and/or clients. Since I started working in my life (e.g., high school), I have been employed by 10 different employers. Of the 10, I have only had 1 job where going into the employment I didn’t know anyone there. With the other 9 jobs, I was able to find out about the position from someone I knew well who worked at that employer.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I became a civil engineer because I was encouraged by my cousin who at the time, was graduating with a civil engineering degree. During my senior year of high school, I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to obtain for a college degree. My cousin pointed out a summer job I had in high school at a civil engineering firm. I remembered how much I enjoyed working outside. In addition, my cousin had me come shadow her in a few of her classes to get an additional feel for the civil engineering profession. I enjoyed shadowing her and ended up going to the same college that she did and also obtained my civil engineering degree.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

The most enjoyable thing about being a civil engineer is that every day is different, every project is different, and every challenge is different. While there are differences in everything that I do, I am able to use and build upon my past experiences to solve the next big opportunity. In addition, in the early part of my career, I was in the field a lot of which I also enjoyed tremendously. As I worked my way up in my career, I started working my way out of the field. These days I get really excited when I can go out to a field project, even if it is for only a day.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project I ever completed was when I was asked to lead a project with several subject matter experts and conduct a partial site investigation, a technology specific treatability study, develop a remedial design with construction drawings and technical specifications, and help our client procure a contractor to ensure construction started that summer. We started in February and the contractor that was hired mobilized in August. It was great to see our team collaborate so well that we were able to accomplish this project that some felt would be very difficult.

Luis Duque, EIT, A.M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Our goal as civil engineers is to ensure the welfare of humanity, and the only way we can achieve that is by collaborating with each other. We have seen this for many generations, from ancient times until now; we have a great collection of failures and successes from previous generations that have helped us develop new and improved methods to design and construct. It is really hard for one person to make an impact on the world, that is why civil engineers constantly work in teams. I believe ASCE Collaborate is making this communication much easier as we are not confined just to our offices and are getting feedback from people all over the world.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I consider myself to still be in the early stages of my career, but I have been fortunate to have gained some experience in a variety of fields, even outside of engineering, during my collegiate experience. I have also been able to mentor senior students for their Capstone projects and a student chapter of Engineers Without Borders in my professional experience. Through all of these experiences and my first year and a half out of college, I have come to believe that there are two things a young engineer can do if they want to be successful.

The first one relates to how they face failure. Many young engineers, myself included, are afraid to make mistakes because we don’t want our bosses to think we are not capable of doing our job. I learned through my tennis career that if you don’t fail, you are not trying to improve. I think mistakes are just a sign that we are trying to improve and learn.

The second piece of advice is be organized and responsible with what your work. This ties back to my first piece in this way: although mistakes are unavoidable, by keeping track of them we can prevent repeating them in the future. I like to keep an engineering journal to remember everything I do well and everything I do poorly; I also link it to relevant documents to help me in the future. Further yet, I keep my workload in Excel to stay on top of my tasks. I have found that no matter what you do in life, if you show your boss that you are responsible, respectful of their time, and willing to work hard and learn, you and your team will be more successful.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

Engineering has been my passion since I was little. I was great with math and physics and loved to build stuff with Lego bricks. I was strongly influenced by my dad who is an architect; he would always show me constructions plans and take me to job sites. I not only knew I wanted to be a civil engineer but also was sure I wanted to be a structural engineer. This became more evident as I started college and got involved with student organizations, such as EWB. The impact that I have had, and will continue to have, on communities in need is priceless. Civil engineers do not sit behind a desk doing math all day; we are working with humanity in mind. Our job as civil engineers is to protect and provide for current and future civilizations, which have always been my goals for my career.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I thoroughly enjoy the collaboration with others and the interactions I have with people. In my job I am able to talk to a client that has a problem and explain what can be done from an engineering perspective; I enjoy giving them a solution right there. Being able to produce a tangible, successful result is incredibly motivating and exciting, as well. The problem-solving aspect of our profession is also very satisfying and rewarding. We are able to take the most challenging problems in the world and generate innovative solutions. There is no such greater joy than providing others with solutions that will enhance their quality of life.

Neil Kazen, F.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?


Contributing to ASCE Collaborate enables me to follow up on the experience and concerns of my civil engineering colleagues, and allows me to share my own. I enjoy the freedom of discussing topics related to my whole career. Always keeping in mind that civil engineering has been the backbone of civilization since the dawn of history.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

My advice to all engineers who are early in their career is to keep in mind the engineering perspective at large: a tri-harmony between personal creative intuition, objective rigorous science, and societal conscientiousness. Look at engineering as the art of the possible, of transforming hopes and dreams into reality while dealing with the “devil in the details.” Civil engineers in particular need to look closely into constructability requirements, workmanship challenges, environmental restrictions, labor regulations, and all that is needed to create that long-lasting project that might continue to serve society long after they are gone.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I grew up in the middle of what was the largest construction boom in the world: the modern construction of the Middle East. Civil engineering was the bold frontier reviving the glories of ancient civil engineering monuments like the pyramids of Egypt, the Baalbek Castle in Lebanon, and the Roman Aqueducts in Syria (which are still functional today). Kingdoms and empires, even civilizations came and went, but those civil engineering monuments are still standing, proudly shrugging off time.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Its down-to-earth presence in serving the public at large, yet outliving almost everything else. Since my first project, a stadium, nearly half a century ago, there has been so much change in the world: its leaders, ideals, fashion, consumer goods, nearly everything; but that stadium continues to host the masses, one generation after another. It gives me quiet and deep satisfaction to see that the projects I worked on are part of the landscape and infrastructure of so many cities around the world. Some projects were large enough to involve heads of state, and one that I know of was presented proudly on a postage stamp of a country. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

My last project was my most challenging project. Since I wanted to retire with a “big bang,” I picked up Canada’s biggest project: Eglinton Crosstown Light Rapid Transit (ECLRT). It’s a design-build-finance-operate and maintain for 30 years project. ECLRT 19 km (12 miles) line, across Toronto, includes 25 stations (with 15 underground stations), two bridges, and a maintenance facility. In fact, it was the largest project in the history of Ontario. As the System-wide Lead Structural Engineer, I led seven structural engineering teams from five firms (one of them supplying three teams). It was quite a challenge to streamline teams from five firms, some of which were once in fierce competition with each other, into one coherent Structural Focus Group – the largest of its kind in Canada. With rivalry replaced by close team cooperation, the result was the development of a unified Structural Design Criteria, structural concept philosophy, and the extensive value engineering (including some firsts in that country) that helped us win the competition against a rival consortium. After we proceeded into final design, with system-wide reports completed, I retired at age 70, leaving it in the safe hands of my successors.

Paul Lee, P.E., M.ASCE

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What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I would tell them to definitely get involved with a professional organization. Whether it is ASCE, AAa/e, EWB, or Toastmasters there are dozens of groups out there. Your career is more than just your time in the office. It’s about networking and continued growth technically and professionally. Plus, it’s fun and full of great people.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I became a civil engineer to make a positive impact on the world. I discovered that as a civil engineer I can make meaningful changes by tackling challenges like climate change. 

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

That part I love most about being a civil engineer is the variety of opportunities we have. As a civil engineer we’re exposed to almost every aspect of infrastructure. We get involved with the financing, politics, and engineering and not to mention all the other engineering disciplines that get roped into large scale projects. I find the ability to rally different groups of people together for a project the coolest part of being a civil engineer.

Spiridon Lazaris, MPA, MCE, P.E. ENV SP, M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?


ASCE Collaborate provides the platform where ASCE experts can communicate and share ideas, processes, methods, and knowledge with anyone who is involved not only within the civil engineering field, but with any discipline and at any professional and academic level. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Be passionate about what you do, learn everything about it, and practice humility and kindness everywhere. 

Why did you become a civil engineer?

To make an impact by enhancing the performance and safety of high-visibility public works infrastructure projects while increasing the quality of life of the citizens in that community, making it a better place to live. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and mentoring students who one day will hopefully become the future leaders in our profession.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

To be able to determine how infrastructure is conceptualized, designed, and finally constructed.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The goal of the Congo Revival Initiative is to build self-replicable sustainable University Complexes within remote areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is a continuing effort and collaboration with local community leaders and officials, tribal chiefs, and professionals within the DRC and experts within the USA on all technical areas.   

Stephanie Slocum, P.E., M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

When I first started working in the early 2000's, the internet was just taking off and discussion groups for civil engineers didn’t exist. I had to navigate many things on my own, especially nontechnical career development, because I didn’t have anyone to ask.

Through my contribution to ASCE Collaborate, I have the chance to help make sure other engineers have someone to ask, and to help them connect with other professionals. I’m particularly excited about the “Professional and Career Topics” forum, because of the focus on career development and work environments specific to civil engineers. It’s something I wish had been available to me early in my career.

An interaction with one mentor or one person can change the course of someone’s career. On ASCE Collaborate, my goal is to ask good questions to spark a dialogue between two people who may not have connected before.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

It is dangerous to ask this question of a woman who literally wrote a book on the subject. These days, I send people over to Amazon.com for my book, She Engineers or to my website, which is full of guidance for early and mid‐career engineers.

But if I only had 30 seconds, this is what I’d share:

Learn everything you can, ask for what you want, and always remember that engineering is a service industry that serves people. In practice, that means saying “yes” often. Yes to late nights learning new concepts, to doing what you need to do to meet every deadline every time, to volunteering in organizations like ASCE, and to things that will be uncomfortable at first – that first presentation at a township meeting, negotiating a raise, asking for help (and then asking several more times when you don’t get it the first time!), and talking with a stranger at a conference.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I mentioned earlier that contributing to ASCE Collaborate was important because one interaction can change your life. That happened to me in college, and it’s the reason I became a structural engineer.

I was struggling with picking my college major – in my second year of college! – and had already switched from biochemistry to computer engineering (where I hated my C++ programming class). For exercise and stress‐relief, I often played tennis with a friend majoring in engineering. He came to play one day straight from his last class, and brought a miniature building model. I looked at the model and asked him in which engineering class he was building models. The rest you can say is history – I went into architectural engineering, and specifically structural building design. I’d always been fascinated by buildings (but do not consider myself artistic, thus ruling out architecture). I liked math, science, and writing. I didn’t realize you could combine them into a career until this one interaction opened my eyes.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

My top three are impact, collaboration, and problem solving. Check out this blog article for a deeper dive into those reasons, from when I worked as a design engineer and in my current role as an entrepreneur. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed? 

I have two. The first is completing and publishing my book, She Engineers. This was one of those projects I thought I might get to “someday” – like when I retired. But the universe had other plans. It was a reminder to me that you need to take a chance on new opportunities when they come, and that big dreams require big action.

The second is a building project called “Ship in a Bottle.” It’s actually one of the smaller projects I’ve completed in terms of total construction cost, but it was extremely challenging. It’s a project at Clarion University (in Pennsylvania), where we renovated Becht Hall. The building was made in the early 1900's. The structure was wood floor and wall framing with exterior masonry bearing walls, and was originally used as a dormitory. Existing drawings were not available, and we were changing the use to a student services center, which required an increase in the structural loads for the building. After reviewing many options over several years, the team determined that the inside of the building would be gutted – structure and all – to achieve the project goals. But, since the exterior of the building was historic, the exterior building shell was to be maintained. That meant we needed to figure out a way to entirely replace four stories of structure inside without demolishing the exterior roof and walls. This project was a fascinating lesson in existing conditions, constructability, and teamwork. Our new foundations and structural system were designed based first on the question “How do you build the new structure within the very limited space available?” The contractor had to work around the massive amounts of shoring required to support the walls and roof in the interim conditions. We even found unusual things during demolition, like a large tree trunk holding up the existing roof structure that needed to be replaced.

Click HERE for a construction time‐lapse video of the project showing the structure. It was taken by the contractor and demonstrates some of the complexities of the project.

Danielle Schroeder, EIT, A.M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Civil engineering is arguably the oldest engineering discipline as well as one the most robust. As such, is it important for us to seek out diverse experiences throughout all phases of a project. As ASCE’s 2019 President, Robin Kemper, recently stated “Our field depends on diversity and inclusion because diverse teams with diverse thinking lead to creative and innovative ideas and better solutions to civil engineering problems.” With resources like ASCE Collaborate, it is easier than ever to be connected to other civil engineers across the world to share advice and reach our full potential as engineers and leaders!

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I still consider myself as an early career professional, but I have learned so much since graduating in 2017. The best advice I can give any early career professional, is be willing to step out of your comfort zone and take on new tasks with an open mind. An engineering education is excellent for teaching you critical thinking skills and how to break down a problem, but you will still need to learn about your chosen field through experience at your job. Learning does not end with school.

For advice about starting your first job, I recommend reading the following article where I along with other ASCE members share extensive advice on the topic: https://news.asce.org/tips-for-starting-your-first-civil-engineering-job/

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I became an engineer because I wanted to focus on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our current infrastructure, as it is the backbone of America. In my current job, I do just that as my focus is in bridge retrofit, reconstruction, and inspection. I enjoying making a difference - in my community, in my profession, and for humanity in general which is what the engineering profession is all about.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

As a Civil Engineer, I enjoy that every day I am tasked with a different problem to find a solution to. I also greatly enjoy paying it forward and frequently volunteer at outreach events to teach kids as young as kindergarten how awesome my profession is. Through my job, I focus on rehabilitating the physical structures of our past and through my outreach volunteering, I get the opportunity to inspire the minds of our future.

Yance Marti, M.ASCE

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Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate seems to be a good way to engage engineers across the country and the world with some of the more important issues affecting the profession. There are many different viewpoints with engineers of varying background and this offers an opportunity to work together to find answers or share ideas. Collaborate offers the possibility to get immediate answers and feedback for many problems.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

It is very important to network and get to know other seasoned engineers. This is a great way to become known and learn of other opportunities. It is also important to learn about the other branches of civil engineering. Cross-training is very important especially for engineers working in public works. Attend conferences and take sessions to learn something that isn’t your specialty. Many projects we work on are collaborations across branches and disciplines so the more that an engineer knows, the better prepared they are to understand how to coordinate multi-disciplinary projects.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I grew up next to the construction of a multi-year interstate highway project. It was literally in my backyard. It was fascinating to watch this large public works project and seeing the transformation stuck in my head. After high school I became a survey technician and knew that I wanted to continue in the profession working on public works projects. I completed my Bachelor’s degree and moved on to bigger things.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Problem solving. Most problems encountered need to be solved quickly and cost effectively. It helps to see and analyze failures to know how to avoid them in the future. Knowing the causes of problems in advance helps an engineer get data to help them design a perfect project.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

My first big project was as the project manager on the reconstruction of a major 12 block urban street in Racine, WI. It took two years to complete and required coordination with many residences and businesses. I learned everything from utility coordination, dealing with other public agencies to scheduling and meeting deadlines. It was a challenging first project that taught me most of what I know.

*** Interested in being an ASCE Collaborate Topic Moderator? Contact Tirza Austin at taustin@asce.org.