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Final Thoughts: The Reasons for Speed Bumps on the Road and in Life

February 7, 2019 - in Articles, Column

Speed bump—the new term might be speed hump or traffic-calming device. Whatever they’re called, we’ve all come across them. Most of the time, speed bumps have a specific purpose, and they’re usually effective. Speed bumps cause you to slow down and…

Final Thoughts: Project Management Often About ‘Common Sense’

December 16, 2018 - in Articles, Column

I begin this column knowing I may offend some people in project management, because my contention is that project management of engineering projects isn’t…

Final Thoughts: Which Costumes Have You Worn Throughout Your Engineering Career?

October 5, 2018 - in Articles, Column

It’s Halloween season: the time of year when we get to dress up and act like a different person or character for a day. We can take on another role,…

Final Thoughts: Certainly Uncertain: Difficult for Engineers

August 8, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Uncertainty. This is a word that engineers have a problem with, as we like to be able to predict what will happen. Nobody wants to design or construct a project for which we can’t predict the performance. Sadly, uncertainty now is part of the future of our…

Final Thoughts: Spring Brings Baseball and Construction Seasons

June 11, 2018 - in Articles, Column

Spring finally has arrived here in the Midwest (Chicago, to be specific): flowers are blooming, trees are budding out, birds are singing, and baseball is in full swing. But April 2018 was the fourth-coldest April on record; the Chicago Cubs home opening game…

Final Thoughts: Engineers Also Deserve Awards and Recognition

April 9, 2018 - in Articles, Column

I was among the millions of people who watched at least part of the Academy Awards show this year, and I couldn’t help but think about comparing the awards to our industry. The Academy recognizes outstanding performance in the film industry in 24 categories,…

Final Thoughts: Many Changes in Engineering, but the Main Priority Remains the Same

March 12, 2018 - in Articles, Column

In previous “Final Thoughts” columns, I looked back at the work environment when I began my career some 40-plus years ago, which included calculations with slide rules, drafting on mylar and working in an open-space office. Today’s office and “tools…

Final Thoughts: Thankful to Be an Engineer and All That Comes with It

December 18, 2017 - in Column

We’re in the season when many of us stop and think about the things for which we’re thankful. For some, it’s our family, our health, our jobs, our home. For others, it’s nature, the ability to travel, the freedom to speak. For some, it’s difficult…

Final Thoughts: Bridge Work: From Wooden Covers to Recycled Steel

October 7, 2017 - in Articles, Column

As I was previewing this issue of Informed Infrastructure, I came across a brief summary of an article about the engineering of tall wood buildings. Although I’m not quite old enough to have designed any covered bridges, I have some experience with wooden-bridge…

Final Thoughts: Millennials Are ‘Engineering: The Next Generation’

August 16, 2017 - in Articles, Column

Many members of my generation think we Baby Boomers are the greatest generation. After all, we protested against wars, fought for civil rights, and invented rock and roll. But we also produced this next generation of people. I am a Baby Boomer, and our generation…