This year’s Engineers Week runs from February 17-23rd. If you’re not familiar, EWeek is a national campaign by DiscoverE, designed to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers, and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.
To start our week-long celebration we asked nine of our engineers the following questions:
- How long have you been with Pennoni/in engineering?
- What is your favorite thing about being an engineer?
- What is your favorite project (Pennoni or otherwise) and why?
- Why did you want to be an engineer?
- What is one thing you’d tell someone who wants to be an engineer?
- How do you feel engineers are making a difference in the world around us?
Check out their answers below.
Since arriving to the United States, my profession as a civil engineer started with working at Pennoni in the Summer of 2015. When I started, I worked with dry utilities and then I moved to the site design team where I am currently working. My favorite thing about being a Civil Engineer is that it’s not a repetitive job. Every project that you work with is unique and has different issues to solve with diverse challenges and situations; it’s always a continued learning experience. One of my favorite projects at Pennoni has been the Arrowbrook Centre development. I had the opportunity to work on nearly all aspects involving the site planning. Additionally, this project location is very close to the [Dulles] office, which is very convenient to monitor and oversee the construction as it goes along. This is very gratifying seeing your work going from a computer screen to becoming a tangible product, especially being able to see how all your planning of the erosion and sediment control works during a heavy rainy day. Since school I was attracted to math and physical science classes. Some individuals think that all you learn in school is not applied in professional life. I believe in the engineering field, everything that you learn in school/college is applicable and useful; for instance, every structure involves design and calculations to provide safety, stability and functionality. For me Engineering is a fascinating discipline that solves common problems through applicable science and physics. Something that I would say to anyone is to follow your passion and dreams, if engineering is your passion, as with anything, always give your best. There is a big responsibility behind the work that an engineer does every day that impacts everyone’s life, environment, and financial resources. Engineering is not only about providing solutions to a problem or a need, we also have the responsibility to consider the impacts to our environment and coming up with the best sustainable path for future generations.
I interned at Pennoni from January 2016 to May 2018. In May 2018 I began working as a Graduate Engineer. I really enjoy working with others to find solutions to a problem. It is very satisfying to see the end product of the time and effort you put into a project. Each project brings its own set of challenges therefore I’m constantly learning new things and developing new skill sets. My favorite project is one I worked on in college where I worked on developing a non-thermal diesel particulate filter to catch diesel particulate from cars and semi-trucks as my senior project. The project was challenging and required several late nights of running [computational fluid dynamics] CFD simulations to find a filter housing that would support the correct exhaust flow through the filter. The project gave me great insight into how a project’s scope of work can change and develop as the project progresses. Hopefully one day the project will result in a more efficient particulate filter for the diesel market. The engineering profession attracted me because I enjoy understanding how things work. Being an engineer allows me an opportunity to make a difference and improve the world around me. I would tell someone that the profession can have long hours and require a lot of work; however, it’s very rewarding. Seeing the end product of your time is very gratifying. Engineers are certainly making a difference all over the world every day. As engineers we push to develop new and better products, even when the current product appears to be sufficient. One way engineers can make a significant difference is improving infrastructure needs in low income areas with minimal resources. Volunteer work with organizations such as Engineers Without Borders, is a particular area I am personally interested in and hope to use my skills for in the near future.
I started with Pennoni June of 2017 after graduating from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. My favorite part of being an engineer is the different types of projects I get to work on every day. Each project is so unique to itself and comes with different types of challenges. With each project comes the opportunity to learn new things! I also love working and interacting with different people across different facets of the industry like architects and developers. The Comcast Technology Center that was recently completed is one of my favorite projects. Watching this project in the finishing stages while I have been in Philadelphia over the last two years has been incredible. As the tallest building in Philly, this project demonstrates innovation and forward thinking. After my junior year of high school, I went on a mission trip to El Salvador with Engineers without Borders. We spent the week building a water tank and digging the trenches to pipe running water to many of the huts scattered throughout the village. After hearing the stories of the time it takes the villagers to get water and carry it back to their huts, I realized the impact that these engineers were making in the lives of the villagers. I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in engineering and make an impact on the built world around us. So far I am loving it! An engineering degree opens the door to so many different career opportunities. With a variety of different disciplines and sub-disciplines, there are so many different options for a profession. Engineers are making a difference in the world around us each and every day! Engineers solve the many problems we face in our communities and work to evolve the built world around us. As technology is constantly improving, engineers are working to find ways to better our cities and neighborhoods.
I’ve been at Pennoni for more than 5 years. I was first exposed to engineering in high school where there was a program that allowed students to rotate between an electrical engineering and mechanical engineering curriculum freshman year. We then got to choose between the two as a course of study for the remainder of high school. This led to attending NJIT, a very engineering focused college, and ultimately Pennoni. My favorite thing about being an engineer is the ever-changing pace of work and the challenging nature of what we do. No two projects are ever exactly the same, there’s always a new problem or hurdle that we need to solve through our design. This keeps it interesting. My favorite project was one of my very first at Pennoni – The Children’s Playground at Branch Brook Park. This project focused on designing an ADA compliant playground for children to use and enjoy. Being able to see the design come to life and then enjoyed by people was a rewarding experience. This goes back to my high school experience with the various engineering disciplines. When I was younger, I always liked solving problems and “designing” things – whether it be sketching cars or building forts from spare materials around the house. Engineering seemed like a natural field to pursue as its essentially problem solving at its root. Engineering is not just math and computers. Engineering requires communication skills - whether it be writing a report, giving a presentation, or working in a team, being able to clearly express your ideas and convey the message to other people is a key to an engineer’s daily activities. Engineers are making a difference in the world around us constantly. As a civil engineer, I’ve accepted that a lot of times the difference may go unnoticed – underground pipes for stormwater, a safe roadway, lighting in a parking lot, an ADA compliant curb ramp, etc. It doesn’t mean these things aren’t having a positive impact on people and making things safer/easier.
I have worked predominately in the traffic engineering field since graduating from Penn State University in May 2004, and I have been with Pennoni for 12½ years. After spending about 3 years in the Lehigh Valley Office, I moved to the Wyoming Valley Office. My favorite aspect of transportation and traffic engineering is knowing that I can have a positive impact on people’s daily lives by improving safety and increasing efficiency on our roadways, one intersection or area at a time. I was lucky to be a part of the transportation and traffic engineering for the Kalahari Poconos development. Kalahari Poconos is now the largest indoor water park in America at 220,000 sf, and the third Kalahari Water Park & Resort in the country. Evaluating the potential traffic impacts associated with Kalahari required estimating the development traffic, which we ultimately based on the two existing Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky, OH and Wisconsin Dells, WI. The traffic study evaluated the impacts at two interchanges and identified significant roadway improvements to accommodate the anticipated traffic. Several Highway Occupancy Permits (HOPs) were obtained for the project, including one for the main entrance into the facility known as Kalahari Boulevard. The entire Pennoni team was integral in meeting the opening date for Kalahari. I always enjoyed math and science in school, so my parents and teachers really encouraged me toward the engineering and science fields when I was as young as 10 years old. As a junior in high school, I was brainstorming for a Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science project, and my father reached out to his cousin, Hank, who was a civil engineer. As it turned out, Hank was more specifically a traffic engineer – a field I didn’t even realize existed. I took signal timings and traffic flow for granted at that age. He suggested measuring speeds along a nearby roadway to determine the 85th percentile speed using statistical analysis, and I found this quite interesting. That project and my conversations with Hank are what ultimately drove my decision to major in Civil Engineering with a transportation/traffic focus. Engineering offers countless possibilities for career paths. The number of engineering fields is constantly growing as technology advances and changes. Engineering careers can be very technical, but there are also many opportunities to manage projects and teams and to work with people for the larger part of any given day. While often thought of as a very independent career with little opportunity for interacting, being an engineer is usually the opposite. Civil engineering (transportation and traffic engineering specifically) involves team work and communication skills are critical in communicating with your team, your clients, or to the public. Engineers are constantly working and evolving to improve safety and quality of life for all. Traffic engineering by definition is “achieving the safe, efficient, and convenient movement of people and goods using streets, roads and highways.” We are constantly incorporating new technologies in design to improve efficiency and safety on our roadways, and the number of fatal crashes nationwide and statewide has been steadily trending downward. Pennsylvania had the lowest number of traffic fatalities on record in 2017. Other engineering fields are developing innovative means to save and preserve the environment, improving medicine and biomedical equipment and ultimately making advances in healthcare, improving food quality and safety, and developing smart technologies in vehicles, homes, and in all walks of life. Engineering at its core is truly advancing our capabilities as humans!
I began my engineering career with Pennoni as a summer intern in 2013 and transitioned into a full-time employee after graduating from Rowan University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree concentrated in Civil Engineering. I started my Pennoni career with the Inspection and Testing Division out of the Haddon Heights, NJ office where I worked as a field inspector/lab technician under the tutelage of Mike Padula. As I progressed in my engineer career, Pennoni had an opening for a graduate engineer in 2015 with the Geotechnical/Inspection and Testing Division based out of the Newark, DE office, which is where I currently reside. I am currently an associate engineer working underneath the supervision and guidance of Ted Thomson and looking forward to taking my PE examination on April 5, 2019. My favorite part about being an engineer (in-training, EIT) is being able to provide services to clients, the engineering community, and the general public to help advance progress in a positive way. Whether that progress is in regard to inspection/testing and oversight of construction progression; or the development of engineering parameters for assistance in the design of buildings, roadways or stormwater design, the satisfying feeling of being able to offer assistance to help those in need of engineering expertise is very rewarding. Developing solutions to real-world problems; contributing to a project in a manner that has helped the project towards completion; and providing a service to those in need, are what I would consider my favorite parts of being an engineer (in-training, EIT). My favorite project has been working as a field engineer/lead pile driving inspector for the Holtec Technology Center Manufacturing/Warehouse buildings in Camden, NJ from May 2015 through March 2016. I observed the installation and testing of closed-end steel pipe piles for a manufacturing building and office building adjacent to the Delaware River in Camden, NJ. I wanted to be an engineer because I wanted to be able provide a service to my community in an industry that has always interested me. My first memory of wanting to be an engineer was when I walked across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and realized how impressive of an accomplishment the engineering and construction of this type of infrastructure truly was. The sheer size and complexity of seeing up close the interworking’s of the bridge structure, abutments and roadways areas fascinated me and lit a fire inside of me that wanted to learn more and find out how I could be a part of something similar. A life goal of mine has been to become a Professional Engineer (PE) and I look forward the opportunity to take the PE exam this upcoming April to hopefully fulfill that goal. If you have the drive to push yourself, the desire to problem-solve, and the ability to be a team-player, then entering the engineering field is highly recommended for you. Being an engineer is an astute honor that comes with great responsibility, but to strive to be a part of a select few in this world who can call themselves engineers is worth every second of the hard work that will come. Engineers are creating positive differences in this world in a multitude of ways, including the most fascinating (in my opinion) way as highlighted in our most recent edition of the Pennoni Perspective. The articles within the Perspective highlighting the “Smart” features of cars, roadways, water systems, and more show how engineers are developing/creating a safer, smarter and advanced future for the world. Examples of these types of differences being made worldwide helps to inspire myself to try and make positive engineering impacts each and every day.
I have been in engineering for nearly 20 years. I celebrated 13 years with Pennoni in December. I began working with Patton Harris Rust and Associates [acquired by Pennoni in 2011] in 2005. My favorite thing about being an engineer is knowing that I can combine using creativity and education to impact society. I work in our Municipal Group and we deal primarily with water, sewers and storm drains infrastructure. We impact the community’s lives by ensuring that we have the proper infrastructure in place. At times we are working on extremely old collection systems and pumping stations that require replacement and/or rehabilitation. While we need to meet the needs of the public, we also are confined by existing utilities, structures and building envelopes. Each project is a new challenge! The Ashburton Pumping Station Improvements project is my favorite because I have had the opportunity to work on this project from the study phase, managed the design phase and will be managing the construction phase. I chose this project because this 84 MGD pumping station will be completed rehabilitated to a 78 MGD station and includes all areas of engineering and architectural design. While I know it won’t be easy, it will be exciting to watch the plans come to life! I was involved with an engineering program in Delaware called Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering (FAME) since I was in middle school. This early exposure to engineering is what prompted me to want to pursue a career as an engineer as it exposed us to various types of enrichment and also reinforced and provided enrichment in the critical subjects and math and science. During the summer, in addition to enrichment, we also toured many companies such as DuPont and Hercules which allowed us to see first-hand what engineering was all about. I'd tell someone who wants to be an engineer to stay focused! You can do it! In this time of climate change, we are needed all around the world. We need to be on the cutting edge of technologies to minimize emissions and our overall carbon footprint. We need to create a more sustainable society. We are also need to evaluate things like our shorelines and develop ways to prevent and/or minimize erosion and ways to manage large rain events. We are also needed to manage our aging infrastructure, including but not limited to, roads, bridges and underground utilities.
I have been with Pennoni for almost two years. My favorite thing about being an engineer is that I can come up with a creative design and see it become real. One of my favorite projects I worked on is Saint Peter College Student Center. I participated in the design of the project from the very beginning to the end. I assisted with a preliminary design, developed a 3D structural analysis, and prepared drawings and calculations. Furthermore, I got opportunities to go on site for an inspection. I love this project not only because I put in a lot effort, but I really saw my designs become real. Since I was very interested in buildings and bridges when I was a child, I thought it will be very cool if one day I can design them. This is the main reason why I became a structural engineer today. If you think you might want to be an engineer, do a little research and gain some exposure to real, live, practicing engineers in advance. Our world is looking for innovative solutions, and the engineers are who can come up with those solutions.