Q: Tell these fine people reading this what your title is.
A: I am a Level 1 Civil Engineer (EC1) specializing in Water Resources Engineering.
Q: What was the educational and career path that got you here, both to TranSystems and to your spot on the team?
A: My path to TranSystems is probably unique compared to others. I actually started college at Rockhurst University and completed a double major and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics. I then went on to the University of Missouri-Kansas City where I completed a second B.S. and my third major in Civil Engineering. Somehow I still hadn’t had enough school so I stayed on and just this semester completed my Master of Science in Civil Engineering. My first interaction with TranSystems was through my then at the time teacher, Erich Schmitz. I interviewed with Erich and was hired on at the end of my senior year with the Water Resources and Environmental Team.
Q: What’s that title mean to our clients on an org chart?
A: This means myself and the Water Resources Team will handle anything to do with water. Generally we will evaluate the hydrology of a structure such as a culvert or bridge for its hydraulic impact.
Q: What might not be immediately apparent about your days just from the title?
A: I do a lot of work outside of my normal job. I was lucky enough to be brought on to work with what is now called the ON THE MOVE Campaign, which has started several new initiatives within TranSystems including Project GROW, the TranSystems Mentorship Program. I also am an officer in the Kansas City Office Toastmasters Club and participate regularly. I also have been working on the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Committee, which is in charge of getting people signed up for events and organizing attendance for each event.
Q: Now….to the heart of the matter. I won’t hold you to this exact day, but average out your activities over the last couple weeks and tell us what ‘a day in the life’ might be like.
A: Recently life has been pretty hectic, but of my own making. As I said earlier I just finished my Master’s Degree so these last few weeks have meant class, finalizing my thesis, and defending my thesis. All of that on top of my normal workload. At work itself I’ve been working on one of our largest projects for the Kansas Department of Transportation performing a Rapid Assessment of over 20,000 bridges across the state. This is a four-year project that has meant a steady workload and great learning opportunities. On top of that I work on projects for the BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, as well as other state agencies. This work usually includes evaluating the hydrology of a site, creating a hydraulic model, and then assessing the hydraulic impact of a new structure that our client wants to build.
Q: I think you like this work very much, yes? Tell us why.
A: It’s different every day. I don’t like stagnation and this job has been anything but.
We are not too small to where I wouldn’t have any mentors, and we are not too big to where I would never get recognized. It’s a nice balance and I feel like my work is valued.
I feel like those who work hard and perform are rewarded for their time and efforts.
Q: OK, we’ll let you get back to it. One more thing, I’ve got a niece interested in going into engineering. Any advice for her?
A: Work on your math. Math is so essential for so many careers, engineering included. There is a big difference between being able to actually understand the formulas used in engineering as opposed to just throwing numbers in and getting an answer. If you don’t understand the math behind the formulas you won’t know if the answer is right or wrong. I would also say maintain ethical integrity. Fundamental to all engineering design is public safety. How many people can say they contributed to the building of a bridge that millions of people will use during the life of the bridge? The many decisions made by engineers every day carry a lot of weight and directly affect public safety.