Since 1951, Engineers Week has inspired the next generation of STEM leaders by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. Parametrix has a vested interest in ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce.
This week, the engineers of Parametrix share what inspires them, what they enjoy about engineering, favorite projects, advice, and how they are “reimagining the possible”.
Dustin is a Senior Engineer based out of Bend, OR. He has been with Parametrix since November 2021 and has 16 years of industry experience.
What inspired you to become an engineer?
Like a lot of engineers, I have always been interested in how things work. As a young kid I would spend hours taking things apart and putting them back together, typically unsuccessfully, any old junk my parents were going to throw out just to see how it worked. This interest led me to enjoying science in school and ultimately a love for math. As crazy as that sounds, I love math, and it always came easy to me which ultimately lead me into the engineering field.
What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?
At this point in my career one of my favorite things as an engineer is mentoring the new young engineers joining our team. I have spent a lot of years in my career being a part of design teams and even leading designs for high value projects, but I get a bigger kick these days watching others succeed. The new engineers joining our field that I have encountered are so smart and enthusiastic for the work that I can’t help but let their excitement to learn rub off on me. I have also been blessed to have some great mentors in my past and I try to pass on that experience to the new group to help everyone.
This year’s theme is “Reimagining the Possible.” How are you reimagining the possible in your career?
Being open to other people’s ideas and open to innovation. This builds on what I enjoy most about working with young, smart engineers as there are always new ideas and innovative ways of doing things and we should all be open to them. The culture created by being open to innovation promotes teamwork, communication, not being afraid to share ideas, and ultimately being cutting edge in our marketplace. The words “that’s the way we have always done it” is the worst thing an engineer can think. The world and construction market moves fast and we need to always be open to innovation to keep up.
What advice do you have for the next generation of engineers?
Never be afraid to ask questions, just try not to ask the same question twice too many times. Asking questions in this field is important in many ways. While working with young engineers often, I find that they are afraid to speak up and share ideas or ask questions. Although, in our field that is the only way to truly learn. Engineering school does a great job at teaching engineers how to learn and think but ultimately has very little real work experience involved. You will learn more about direct civil engineering in your first month on the job than you did in your four years at school. No matter where new engineers land in their career, take advantage of the experience and knowledge of others in the office.
Also, you always need to ask questions to fully understand the tasks given to you. Do not just do updates and changes because you are told to do them, make sure you understand why the change is being requested so you can know how your work directly affects the project and design.
Lastly, don’t ever accept the response “that’s just the way we have always done it”, question the method to understand the best way forward.