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From the Editor: ‘Smart’ Solutions In Every Issue

August 12, 2019 - in Articles, Column

When I started working as a civil engineer, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in its infancy. The EPA began its work in December 1970, but the procedures and policies didn’t really affect our work for a few years. After they were in place, however,…

From the Editor: The Vocabulary and Eras Change, But Smart Engineering Is Timeless

June 26, 2019 - in Articles, Column

Thousands of words are added to the dictionary every year. Some are “made-up” words added because they’re often used, like “buzzy” or “guac.”…

Final Thoughts: When Did You Choose Your Career?

May 27, 2019 - in Column

Some people have known all their life what their chosen profession would be, perhaps because of a particular skill or because a relative was a successful…

Final Thoughts: Let’s Talk About Our Favorite Projects

April 17, 2019 - in Articles, Column

As I sat at my desk trying to come up with an interesting topic to discuss, I decided to let you, the reader, do a little thinking about your interesting work topics. It’s important to realize the effect projects have on you as well as others, so I’ll…

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 that complicated. Project management relies on common sense we all use every day in our lives (with…

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, different from the role we play at home or at work. I asked my young neighbor what he was going to be for…

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,…