Business of Engineering

Hear from an engineer: What does the future have in store

In honor of Engineers Week, we asked several professionals around the country to share a piece of advice with the next generation of engineers and pick out what future engineering technology they are most excited for.
By Rachel Vandenberg, Rafal Wojcik, Sam Franzen, Kevin Wood, Sean O’Connell, Peter Garvey, and Kevin Marley April 16, 2019
Photo courtesy: Dewberry

In honor of Engineers Week, we asked several professionals around the country to share a piece of advice with the next generation of engineers and pick out what future engineering technology they are most excited for.

What’s a message you would like to send to the next generation of engineers?

Rachel Vandenberg, Senior Vice President, Long Beach, California

Engineering is not a problem set. What I mean by that is that, unlike engineering school, “real world” problems are almost never neatly defined. Rather, you must be ready to find solutions to challenges that are messy and fuzzy around the edges. Some reasonable assumptions and professional judgments will need to be applied. Your greatest value to the industry is your analytic ability, including the ability to clearly define a problem so you can develop the right solution.

Rafal Wojcik, Project Engineer, Bloomfield, New Jersey

Never, and I mean NEVER, get rid of your textbooks!

Sam Franzen, Staff Engineer, Denver, Colorado

I would say don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be afraid of making mistakes—it is a great way to learn.

Photo courtesy: Dewberry

Kevin Wood, Vice President, Fairfax, Virginia

Be curious!  Some of the engineers I have admired the most in my career have this trait, and I’ve tried to emulate that. Ask not only the “what” but the “how” and the “why.” It will take you to new places!

Sean O’Connell, Vice President, Denver, Colorado

Spend time early in your career thinking about what truly makes you happy, satisfied, and passionate in your work and then strive to find a place that supports that.  Don’t settle for a boss/supervisor that cannot help you support your interests through mentoring, coaching, and acknowledgement.  I learned this far too late in my career.

What future engineering possibilities are you looking forward to?

Peter Garvey, Vice President, Boston, Massachusetts

In Boston, we’re leading a team for a municipal client to obtain city-wide drive-by lidar resulting in over 50 TB of data collected. Now that computing power can manipulate that amount of data, imagine the possibilities!

Photo courtesy: Dewberry

Kevin Marley, Project Engineer, Fairfax, Virginia

I am interested to see how technologies such as building information modeling (BIM) and virtual reality (VR) change the way we design and prepare construction plans for our clients.

Rachel Vandenberg

As we make efforts to adapt our infrastructure to climate stressors, there is a growing need to be able to quantify the economic benefits of sustainable and the value of risks averted by using sustainable and resilient design solutions. There are many tools out there for sustainable return on investment, but today it means different things to different audiences.


This article originally appeared on Dewberry’s blog. Dewberry is a CFE Media content partner.

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Rachel Vandenberg, Rafal Wojcik, Sam Franzen, Kevin Wood, Sean O’Connell, Peter Garvey, and Kevin Marley