Becoming Successful Engineers, One Mistake at a Time

“I used to believe that good engineers never made mistakes.”

This story was featured in the December 2016 issue of Modern Steel Construction.

I used to believe that good engineers never made mistakes. Now I believe that good engineers have simply learned to never repeat mistakes. In the decade I’ve been working as an engineer, I’ve made countless decisions — most good, but some bad. Each decision taught me something, but the lessons from the bad ones are harder to forget. One of those lessons has stuck with me since my first week on the job, more than ten years ago. (more…)

San Andreas Movie: A Structural Engineer’s Perspective

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During a recent trip, I decided to rent the movie “San Andreas” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Paul Giamatti.  The movie follows a rescue pilot (Johnson) during a series of large earthquakes stretching from Las Vegas to San Francisco along the San Andreas Fault as he tries to save members of his family.  Overall, it was entertaining and worth watching.  But the engineer in me couldn’t resist noticing the way the movie depicted how a seismic event would impact the buildings, bridges and structures in the movie’s principle setting of San Francisco.

In the movie. it seemed as though nearly every skyscraper toppled over, broke in half or split vertically into two sections; a rather bleak outlook for modern construction.  But is this really how we can expect our modern buildings to behave in a serious earthquake or during “the big one?” (more…)

Fan Experience in Structural Engineering

Fan experience is the number one thing that architects try to achieve in their vision for a sport facility and the most important thing for an owner to realize at the end of the project. It’s important because fan experience determines the long term success of a facility; more so than even the record of the team playing in it.

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What is a Standing Desk?

Why I Chose to “Take a Stand” at Work – My Experience with a Standing Desk

Earlier this summer, I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with some health issues related to circulation. Like many people, I spend the majority of my day behind a monitor at work.  Before this incident forced the issue to the forefront of my mind, I had spent some time reading about the side effects of sitting for a while. This lead to me trying different ways to address this with varying success…timers to remind me to stand, drinking more water, filling my water bottle half full to encourage more frequent trips to the cooler, etc.

But one of the problems I faced is that when I am full blown into the design of a project or hot-and-heavy in crunching numbers, distractions are not only unwanted – they are unproductive as well!  So I found myself frequently violating my self-imposed habits and binge sitting for two to three hours at a stretch.

After this incident, I decided I needed to make a more permanent change and go for a standing desk. (more…)

How to Choose a Consultant

Trouble Choosing the Right Consultant? Take a Look at their Desk…

Forrest Gump’s’ mama always said you could tell a lot about a person by their shoes; where they have gone, where they are going. In the consulting world, you can tell a lot about a consultant and how to choose a consultant by looking at their desk; what they have done and who they are.

For all of us desk-jockeys, our desk becomes an expression of ourselves and the company we work for. We personalize it, we organize it, we wash it (or don’t wash it), and we decorate it.  But very few people have stopped to think about what it says about them and how this information could be a valuable tool for choosing the right consultant or business partner on a project. (more…)