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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…

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…

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…

Final Thoughts: Bridges: Overcoming Gaps Literally and Metaphorically

June 12, 2017 - in Articles, Column

The main theme of this issue of Informed Infrastructure is “bridges,” which allow people to cross rivers that used to be barriers. They provide a way to span a gap or valley rather than travel long distances around them. Bridges allow different modes of…

Final Thoughts: The Evolution of Women in Engineering: Moving from Ground Zero

April 1, 2017 - in Column

I have more years of experience than any woman engineer who I have worked with. Let that sink in … This wording is true, because when I started my career in 1971, there were no women engineers in the workforce at the Indiana Department of Transportation.…

Final Thoughts: Are We Really Entering a New Era of Infrastructure?

February 3, 2017 - in Articles

In the last few issues of Informed Infrastructure, I reminisced about what the work environment was like in my early career as a civil engineer in the infrastructure business and reflected on what has changed. Then I posed questions about what the future may…

Final Thoughts: The Tools Are Nothing Without the Engineer

December 19, 2016 - in Articles, Column

In the September/October 2016 issue of Informed Infrastructure, I described showing up for my first day of work back in the early 1970s with my slide rule, mechanical pencil and scales. If I were to start working today, fresh out of college, I wouldn’t have…