SCJ Engineer Tyrell Bradley in front of a pedestrian bridge he designed at Centralia Community College.
SCJ Engineer Mallory Dobbs on site in Skokomish Nation.
Do know a numerical whiz who likes to test the boundaries? A limit-pushing math master who’s always looking for ways to improve things?
It’s National Engineers Week, and we asked some of our civil engineers why they chose their profession and what they love about it. Their answers might surprise you.
“Growing up I was a curious and unstoppable child,” SCJ Design Engineer Mallory Dobbs said. “I enjoyed learning everything I could and doing all the things that people told me I couldn’t.”
Project Manager Tyrell Bradley describes engineers as “thousands of passionate individuals wanting to push the bounds of technology and innovation to create new and exciting experiences.”
So, what was the tipping point? What made them choose engineering to mobilize that drive and curiosity?
Both Mallory and Tyrell mentioned high school math in their earliest memories of career discovery, and both said once the choice was made, it was final.
Mallory explained, “I decided I was going to be an engineer before I even started college, and I never looked back. Now, after 4 years of being in this profession, I can honestly say that I am happy with my decision. I never could have anticipated how much learning I would do on a daily basis.”
Tyrell said reading about civil engineers in an Algebra 2 textbook was his first introduction to the field and that he knew from that point on. He added this family connection. “Growing up, most of my family was on the construction side, always building other people’s designs. I knew this approach wasn’t for me. I couldn’t sit back and let others design amazing projects and not be a part of it.”
What do they like best?
According to Mallory, “Engineers communicate and convey innovative ideas that make “art” in the form of roadways, buildings, parking lots, and all the invisible things like underground utilities. We find room to show our creative and curious sides on every project.”
Tyrell said, “Through engineering, you have opportunities to build your community. The idea that civil engineers are a part of everything the public uses from the time they leave one building to the time they enter another is amazing. To be a part of this massive infrastructure design machine is an opportunity I never thought I’d have the chance to experience.”
What does the future hold?
Mallory said, “Engineering is pushing the envelope and expanding the knowledge and capabilities of what we have now. It’s providing the necessary tools for people’s dreams to come true.”
She continued, “Every day, engineers are finding new ways to improve the things we were doing yesterday. A characteristic many of us share is that we’re not satisfied with performing the same tasks to design the same old things. We strive for better. We strive for interesting. We strive for amazing.”
Thank you to our engineers for their curiosity, boundary pushing, and love of math and for how they improve our lives every day.
Do these characteristics remind you of a young person you know? Help us inspire the next generation of practical inventors and innovators by visiting DiscoverE.org and learn how to help them discover the fun and rewarding world of engineering.
SCJ Alliance is a privately-held, multidisciplinary consulting firm specializing in civil engineering, transportation planning and design, landscape architecture, environmental and urban planning, and public outreach. Founded in Thurston County in 2006, the firm has been nationally-recognized multiple times for growth, award-winning projects, and as a great place to work.