Podcast

Engineers on Engineering
02/25/2022

For Engineers Week, we conducted a series of short interviews during our annual planning meeting with some of CEC’s engineers. We asked them what inspired them to become engineers and what they’re looking forward to in the future of their career.

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to CEC Explains — your deep dive into fascinating subjects from the worlds of engineering and the environment, brought to you by Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. And now, from our CEC studios around the nation, this is CEC Explains.

Hello, everyone. My name is Adam Cline with Civil & Environmental Consultants, and during our Annual Planning Meeting earlier this week, we conducted a series of short interviews with several different engineers from different disciplines in support of Engineers Week. We asked some different questions from what inspired them to become an engineer, to what they’re looking forward to in their future career as an engineer, and more. So, we hope you enjoy listening in on these interviews. 

 

I’m Adele Beaves. I’m a civil engineer practicing in Pittsburgh.

Q: What inspired you to become an engineer?

A: Okay. Actually, it was my grandfather who was a mechanical engineer but always took the time when I was growing up to give me math problems to solve and other engineering-type questions from a very young age, so he sort of inspired me to go into the field. 

Q: What are you looking forward to in your future career as an engineer?

A: I’m looking forward to just doing what I’m doing now which is working with clients, building really cool projects that I get to experience and stop at, and go to commercial developments, retail developments, and housing.

 

Hi, I’m Amanda Black. I’m out of our Monroeville office, and I’m an air quality principal.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an engineer? What inspired you to become one?

A: Yeah, I think it was a couple different factors. I kind of always had a curiosity of how things worked and how things are made, and that always interested me. And then I was lucky enough my older brother was an engineer, a brother I always looked up to. So, I kind of followed in his path a bit.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your career as an engineer?

A: I guess just continuing to build new clients, new client relationships, and helping mentor others.

 

My name is Ameen Bakare. I’m in the Cincinnati office. We are the civil/site practice.

Q: And how long have you been with CEC?

A: I’ve been with CEC for about three years.

Q: What kind of inspired you to become an engineer?

A: Initially, I was very much into artwork. I really got into architecture as well, and then I realized that I was kind of a nerd. I like math, science, like to build things, and eventually that kind of led me into seeing that you can take a piece of land and develop it into a different type of art. That’s kind of how I got my in, graphically doing grading and designing; that kind of stuff really interested me. And then I didn’t realize you could make a career out of it, so I went to school for it, and I never left.

 

My name is Chris Dohner. I’m in the solid waste practice from the Boston office.

Q: How long have you been with CEC? 

A: I’ve been at CEC for 12 years now. I went to school in Ohio for a bachelor’s in civil engineering. I went to Ohio Northern University and came out to Boston after I graduated. I started working with CEC a few years after that, and now I’m a project manager III in our Boston office, managing solid waste projects design.

Q: So, have you always wanted to be an engineer, and what inspired you to become one?

A: So, I think I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. I have a very vivid memory of growing up near a farm. When I was six years old, I actually built a small dam system and had some small twigs and stones and put water through that system, and I think from that point on, I knew I was going to be an engineer

 

So, just start by saying your name, your office, and your practice.

Chris Remley of the Pittsburgh office, the civil/site practice.

Q: And how long have you been with CEC?

A: Almost 14 years.

Q: Is there a specific topic within the field of engineering that really interests you?

A: I mean mostly what I do is real estate, construction of a lot of different types of projects, and that’s what I kind of enjoy. I get to do different school projects or residential projects, office building projects, so there are a lot of different types of projects that I get to work on which is what I enjoy.

Q: How would you say engineering differs from other science, technology, and math careers?

A: I think the biggest thing is construction projects. Y’know, at the end of the day, a lot of other science-type fields I think are more maybe hypothetical or just kind of study different things. Whereas in the engineering field, you have a product at the end of the day that you can, in our case, go visit and drive to which is kind of cool and just kind of point to it and go, “Hey, I designed that,” y’know, and that’s a little bit of a differentiator, I think.

 

My name is Jeff Henfling. I’m from the Cleveland office. I’m in the civil practice.

Q: And how long have you been with CEC?

A: About three months, since Thanksgiving of 2021. 

Q: Oh, nice. So, have you always wanted to be an engineer, or what sort of inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I think deep down I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. My dad was a mechanical engineer. So, I’ve always kind of grown up with engineering in mind with a good role model with my dad. I have a brother three years older than me who majored in mechanical engineering, and he’s now a flight director for the space station at NASA in Houston. So, he’s just a good role model for me. I also have a twin brother, identical twin that is three minutes older than me, and both he and I majored in civil engineering in college and kind of have taken the same track in life. He doesn’t work here. So, engineering has always kind of been what I’ve thought about and wanted to do.

Q: Is there a specific topic within the field of engineering that really interests you?

A: I like the fact that civil engineers help society. We do things to make society better, to make the environment better. I like doing public sector projects where you’re impacting communities, especially local ones where it’s the communities that I drive through or live in.

 

So, hi, I’m Jennifer Flannery. I’m from the Philadelphia office. I am both the office lead and the air practice lead.

Q: What inspired you to become an engineer?

A: That’s a long story actually. When I was in second grade, I actually wanted to be an astronaut, and as I got older and progressed through school, I actually found out that astronauts had to be engineers. So, I started pursuing it a little bit more and ended up going to college for environmental engineering.

 

I am Julia Pflugrath, and I’m in the site/civil practice in the Pittsburgh office in Pennsylvania.

Q: And how long have you been with CEC?

A: I have actually been with CEC for almost exactly three years. I was hired three years ago on February 19.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an engineer, or what inspired you to become one?

A: My mom is a professional engineer, civil engineer. So, I joked when I was younger; I said, “I’m never going to do what you do,” and I obviously ate my own words. So, yeah.

Q: Is there a specific topic within the field of engineering that really interests you? 

A: Stormwater management. Actually, jokingly at my very first company, my boss told a client that stormwater is my passion, and it kind of went as a running joke for a while, but it’s actually become true at this point.

 

So, just start by saying your name, your office, and your practice.

Matthew Bainbridge in the Bridgeport office. [survey/geospatial practice]

Q: How long have you been with CEC?

A: Been here about seven years. I grew up doing survey, grew up in my dad’s company learning how to survey as I was a kid. That was my summer job. So, it’s something that I already had a lot of experience with. So, I went the route of getting a degree in engineering from Fairmont State and went to work at CEC.

 

My name is Nick Justice. I’m in the Indianapolis office, and I’m a civil/site.

Q: Have you always wanted to be an engineer, or what sort of inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I came from a family of engineers. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew I was good at math and analytical thinking. And once I decided I had to pick a college senior year, it just suddenly clicked. I was like, you know what? I think I was built to be an engineer. So, I went to Purdue. It’s a very good engineering school, and it just fit perfectly for me.

Q: Is there a specific topic within the field of engineering that really interests you?

A: Construction, I would say. When I was a freshman at Purdue trying to decide, because even then I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but when they kind of presented all the options in front of me, as soon as it got to construction that one was the one that really felt like the best fit. And I love being out in the field and talking to people and also getting the design side of things too.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your future career as an engineer?

A: Just continue to grow and learn and never stop being curious about how to be better at my job and passing on that information. And maybe all the lessons I’ve learned, passing those lessons on to the younger engineers. I do enjoy seeing that and watching younger engineers develop and feel like you had a little bit of a hand in that.

 

Say your name, your office, and your practice.

Leah Blinn, Pittsburgh office, air quality practice.

Q: How long have you been with CEC, Leah?

A: I’ve been with CEC for four years.

Q: What inspired you to become an engineer?

A: I have a lot of engineers in my family. My dad is an engineer; my brother is an engineer. They’re both mechanical engineers. I guess I have an aptitude for math and science and chemistry. So, I decided to be a chemical engineer. I like the problem-solving aspects of being an engineer, and I think — especially with a chemical engineering degree — you can basically do anything with it.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your future career as an engineer?

A: I am looking forward to bringing more engineers into my practice and really seeing them grow, both engineers and scientists.

 

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of our podcast. We truly appreciate it, and we hope you enjoyed it.

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