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ReEngineering the Engineer: What Am I Missing?

August 8, 2019 - in Articles, Column

Historically, the kickoff keynotes for the NASCC Steel Conference are a must-see, and the 2019 conference in St. Louis was no exception. Orzan Varol presented the keynote this year titled “The Power of Contrarian Thinking.” The gist of the presentation…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Sustainability: How Can We Help?

June 21, 2019 - in Articles, Column

At about the time I was leaving my old firm in 2004, one of the large national architectural firms we worked with made a corporate announcement. Their…

ReEngineering the Engineer: To Change or Not to Change? The Answer Usually Is to Change

May 20, 2019 - in Articles, Column

Codes have changed significantly through the years. When I started engineering, the structural section of the North Carolina Building Code was just more…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Why Not Dream Big?

April 8, 2019 - in Articles, Column

When I started my company several years ago, I decided to play the “I need to be close to home” card. Instead of commuting 20 miles to Charlotte, N.C., every day, I found some office space close to our home. I was pretty sure I’d be spending a lot of…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Don’t Overuse Boilerplate Specs and Details in Engineering Documents

February 10, 2019 - in Articles, Column

In fall 2018, I was asked to go to a meeting to help one of our clients. It was a small project but rather unique: a 100-foot-long structure to support a sanitary sewer line across a creek. We had completed a couple of these for other people through the years…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Patience Is a Virtue

December 10, 2018 - in Articles, Column

My dad passed away about a year and a half ago. Being the oldest of three children, it was my task to help put together the eulogy for the service. I knew I wouldn’t be the one reading it (those types of potentially emotional talks are not in my repertoire),…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Teaching IPD: Integrated Project Dharma

October 4, 2018 - in Articles, Column

In 2016, Fitzpatrick Engineering Group was invited to be a signatory for a true Integrated (Lean) Project Delivery (ILPD) project for a regional hospital system. Most of the design team (everyone but the architect) as well as the general contractor and his…

ReEngineering the Engineer: To Fail or Not to Fail?

August 2, 2018 - in Articles, Column

True confession: I didn’t always want to be a structural engineer. I grew up in the 1960s when the space race with Russia was at its peak. In those days, all I could think about was being an astronaut, probably like most other kids my age on the planet.…

ReEngineering the Engineer: Written vs. Oral Communication: You Make the Call

June 4, 2018 - in Articles, Column

I admit I haven’t really embraced the whole texting thing, and I don’t believe it’s an age gap. Although I communicate with our kids that way about half the time—out of necessity—I rarely do so with our clients (unless, of course, I’m running late…

ReEngineering the Engineer: What’s Ice Got to Do with It?

April 2, 2018 - in Articles, Column

For some reason, I wasn’t much of a reader when I was young. Maybe it was the engineering gene; I don’t know many engineers I would consider voracious readers. However, through the years, I’ve come to enjoy reading a good book, mostly non-fiction. So…