At an early age I realized I liked designing and building things. In first grade, I used my grandpa’s shop to cut and nail two by fours to make airplanes for my mom as a present. At this very young and impressionable age, I worked a lot with my grandpa to fix and repair items that broke down on the farm. Whether it was fixing the electrical fence or the water pump for the cows, there was always something. I found myself curious about how things were designed, manufactured, and created. I was even more curious about the engineer and what they were thinking of when they had this idea for a new product.
While in high school, I took AutoCAD classes which really sparked my interest in architecture. I soon realized that I like creating and drawing things on the computer, printing out that final set of floor plans, and stepping back to admire what I had created. The principal of my school came to my AutoCAD teacher and asked if a student could help draw his house he was building. My teacher approached me about the opportunity, and I accepted the job. Soon I was having one-on-one meetings with the principal and produced a set of plans that was sent off to be built with very minor revisions. It was at that point that I knew I wanted something to do with the building process.
During my junior and senior year, I considered architecture and engineering and finally settled on civil engineering. I had more interest in numbers than exterior finishes on a building, and civil granted me the opportunity to do more with calculations rather than aesthetics. Throughout high school, my familiarity with AutoCAD granted me several opportunities to intern with civil engineering firms. After gaining a better understanding of what engineers did on a daily basis, I knew I made the right decision.
After graduating in 2008, I found myself working as a drafter with a mechanical engineering firm. It was about six months into the job when they realized I went to school for engineering and not drafting. It was a mutual decision that they would help me become a mechanical engineer by assigning me tasks similar to a design engineer rather than a drafter. I found myself enjoying mechanical engineering more so than civil. I found mechanical engineering to be a little more complicated and the complexity and evolution of design is what I was always looking for.
Five years into my career, I decided I wanted to take the next step by becoming as professional licensed engineer. For five months, I studied – my personal goal was to pass the state test the first time which I proudly did. From building two-by-four airplanes at the age of six to now designing systems for a 15-story hotel. I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.