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ReEngineering the Engineer: A Tale of Two Projects

October 3, 2019 - in Articles, Column

Every now and then, you get a project that just seems to run into headwinds no matter which direction you turn. This latest one, however, came at a time when we were closing out our Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) project. The difference between the two…

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…

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 than 100 pages and was basically the “one-stop shop” for all our structural engineering analysis and…

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…