Tom Jordan from our Spokane, WA office recently earned his Professional Engineer’s (PE) license, a major career milestone. He shares what inspired him to pursue a career in civil engineering, projects he’s working on, career goals, and his advice for others working toward their PE license.
Tell us about your professional background.
I graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and started at Taylor Engineering in 2014, a couple years before we became Parametrix. I worked as a construction inspector for the Spokane International Airport’s Taxiway Reconfiguration Project.
I’ve had the awesome experience of being able to work on a lot of different types of projects since then. Some of the bigger projects I’ve been a part of include the Northern Quest Casino Expansion, Rowan Avenue Rehabilitation, Fort Lewis Exchange Expansion, and The Spokane International Airport Taxiway Reconfiguration.
These days I spend a lot of time preparing drainage, water system design, and regulatory reports. I would say my specialty is in data analysis through computer modeling and spreadsheets, but I also do a lot of drafting and design for site development and municipal projects.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
I’ve always been interested in applied science and having parents in and around the engineering field got me interested. In college I knew I was on the right track when I got into my first class on preparing drainage designs. I really liked the crunching of numbers and using the site parameters to design a facility.
Once I had my first internship over the summer with the Oregon Department of Transportation I really knew I had something I could do for a long time. I worked on the survey crew and the inspection team for the Newberg Dundee Bypass back in 2011 and 2012 and got to see how the designs were translated to a huge construction project.
Since then I’ve been on both sides of the design/construction phases and I really enjoy the split time between the field and office work.
What is your next career goal now that you’ve earned your PE license? What is your ultimate career goal?
Now that I have the license out of the way, I want to get to the point of managing my own projects.
I would like to manage projects and stay on the design side of the profession. I really enjoy the number crunching and design process.
Which projects are you currently working on? What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I am just finishing up the construction phase of Barker Road Homes Sewer project for Spokane County which has dominated my work time for quite a while, and soon I will be transitioning back into doing feasibility studies and water system design reports for a few weeks. I am also working on the City of Spokane’s Wastewater Lift Station Conditions Assessment, a project reviewing the City’s existing pump stations and planning for improvements.
My favorite project has to be the City of Pullman’s Water Tank and Booster Pump Station #11 in conjunction with the Trinitas Student Housing Development. It combined a lot of different disciplines like stormwater, site design, and water system modeling to provide the design of a new water tank and booster pump station in a separate pressure zone. The project also had several phases, so a separate design had to be prepared for each with lots of layering. I got to use several different spreadsheets and design software with lots of overlapping considerations.
What advice do you have for others pursuing their PE license?
If you are looking to prepare for the test, I would get as many practice tests as possible, they were key for my studying.