#LifeatStewart / Bringing Engineering to Life During National Engineers Week

February 26th / 2018

Bringing Engineering to Life During National Engineers Week

Engineers make a difference in our world every day, in ways many people aren’t even aware of. This past week was National Engineers Week, an annual reminder to celebrate these dedicated professionals and recognize the impact they have on our lives, while also encouraging the next generation to fall in love with the field, as they did.

At Stewart, our engineers are our heroes – so we joined the National Engineers Week celebrations by turning the spotlight to our own engineering talent. We took it back to the beginning with Engineer Origin Stories, highlighting how our valued engineers were inspired to enter the profession and what led them to where they are today. Whether the path to engineering was a direct track or a winding route, their passion and expertise spans our organization and inspires the engineers of tomorrow to pursue their dreams. Here’s just a small glimpse at the Engineer Origin Stories from this week:

“As a kid, I was always interested in architecture, cars and mechanics. My parents built our house and as an elementary school kid, I was fascinated with the plans and drawings. In high school, a part-time job with a mechanical contractor showed me the ins and outs of structural engineering. I loved math and science but didn’t exactly have the artistic skill set required for architecture. I began looking into engineering during my junior year of high school when an aptitude test showed me that I had all the right strengths for a career in engineering. As they say, the rest is history.” – Lance Williams, Manager of Structural Engineering

 “My original plan was to attend an interior design school in Chicago after high school, but the distance away from home scared me so I randomly choose ‘architectural engineering’ as my major at a college closer to home. I figured since I was good at math and loved to draw that architectural engineering would be perfect, not even knowing anything about structural engineering at that time. After my second year of college, I was second-guessing engineering and wanted to switch to construction management. Fortunately, I interned for an eccentric architect who gave me the best advice: ‘Stacey, stick out your engineering degree. Your career choice will be broader with that degree than with construction management.’ I’m so glad I listened to his advice and thankful that I continued on to become a structural engineer.” – Stacey Springer, Structural Project Engineer

 “My father worked in construction growing up, exposing me to the industry at an early age. Hearing my dad talk about roads and bridges subconsciously made me want to be a part of the building process. I initially thought I wanted to be an architect but changed my mind when I realized my strengths in math and science made engineering a perfect fit. After 20 years in engineering, I still enjoy solving the daily challenges of this profession.” Don Brown, Practice Leader, Geotechnical & Construction Services

“I’ve taken an indirect path to engineering, but it boils down to: a foundation of encouragement, a love of art, a habit of math, opportunities to learn, a freedom and heart to serve, a passion to care for the environment, and a thirst for continual education.” – Natalie Carmen, Civil Engineering Intern


“Funny enough, I never planned on being an engineer. As a child, I was inspired by the beautiful, historic homes my mother worked on and thought I might want to be an architect. I lacked the artistic abilities needed, but was very capable in my math and science classes and decided to try engineering instead. Almost twenty-five years later, I still think it’s the best decision I ever made.” – Todd Delk, Practice Leader, Bicycle & Pedestrian

“Growing up in New Jersey I suspect that I was like every other kid – playing outside in my parents’ yard with a Tonka truck, imagining I was building a great fort or dam. In my teen years, the son of a family friend told me about the work he was doing as a heavy equipment operator. He was working on many of the big projects across the Hudson River from New York City. When we passed them while on the way to the city, I was always amazed at how they could transform an area. They really helped to make the world a better place. When my family moved to South Carolina, I earned my BSCE at Clemson and the rest is history.” – Roy Lorenzen, Planning & Design Senior Project Manager

“I have always been interested in architecture, but did not want to go to design school. My older sister encouraged me to attend NC State and when I looked into majors, engineering seemed like a good option. After taking my basic freshman engineering course, civil engineering with a concentration in structures instantly became my top pick.” – Laura Finger, Structural Project Engineer

 “I grew up in Taiwan, where the culture places a heavy focus on studying and preparing for college. After graduation, I joined a local company as a site engineer, but it was more supervision than engineering. During this period, I started to understand the role of engineers in large-scale projects, and how this role could really make an impact. I love that ability to provide solutions based on logical thoughts, knowledge and experience. I started to think about being an engineer, then applied for the graduate program at NC State which began my journey in North Carolina.” – Chien-Ting Tang, Geotechnical Project Engineer

 “Math and numbers have always come easy to me. Early on I knew I wanted to work in a field where solving problems was a key component. Initially, I was fascinated by the NASA space program and thought I wanted to be an astronaut or aeronautical engineer. I had the opportunity to shadow my stepdad, who was a mechanical engineer. When Auburn offered me a scholarship for Civil Engineering, I found I really loved the transportation and hydraulic engineering classes with all the complex math equations and problem solving. I am still glad I chose engineering (or did it choose me?) and am happy to still be working with math and solving problems in the Bike and Ped group here at Stewart.” – Robert Williams, Bicycle & Pedestrian Project Manager

“I realized I wanted to be an engineer in 10th grade as I found I had a high aptitude for geometry and logic. I narrowed it down to structural engineering in college when I saw all the different options for civil engineers.  I wanted to design something that I could physically see and touch, and I enjoy knowing that I had a hand in making something.” – Chris Herron, Practice Leader, Structural Engineering


“As a kid, I always watched my dad working on old cars and found myself interested in learning how they worked. I’ve also always enjoyed solving problems, which is how I knew engineering was the career path for me.” – Phillip Townsend, Manager of CEI

“I don’t think I’ve met anyone that was inspired to be an engineer. Most engineers I know either have always known that’s what they were going to do or found out along the way via the process of elimination. For me, it was the latter. My guidance counselor Miss Maher, said you like science and math, so be an engineer and build things. I blindly applied to the list of engineering schools she handed me and went to Villanova. In my junior year, I thought I might want to be an architect.  Once I learned that I would be in college another four years, I signed up for an architecture appreciation class and finished my engineering degree. A sorority sister of mine wanted me to go to law school with her. That sounded good too, but there would be more reading, more testing and then be an attorney. Didn’t fit either.

After nine years in a non-engineering job, my husband asked me what I wanted to do with my engineering degree, ‘Build beautiful homes’ was my reply. He promptly went to monster.com and found me a job where I built some homes that were amazing. I moved to different firms doing different types of work, but learning and growing along the way.  Not a traditional path, but I’m thankful for all the life and business lessons along the way. The most important lesson is that most days, I love what I do. I’m so glad I kept looking. I guess Ms. Maher knew that this was a good fit for me. I love figuring out how to make a remodel give new life to a building and solve construction issues. Mostly, I love being a team member that create spaces where people live, play, heal, learn and pray. Its sometime challenging to find the right answer, but I’ve learned that sometimes being an engineer means you get to change the problem.”  – Trina Agnello, Structural Project Manager  


Thursday was also Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, where engineers from across the country joined together to encourage young girls to pursue their dreams of working in our field. We highlighted our own women engineers, some of whom are pictured below:

Left to right:
Carol Jemiolo, Civil Engineering Intern
Rodniqua Minor, Structural Engineering Intern
Jillian Maston, Structural Engineering Intern
Diana Artero, Structural Engineering Intern
Natalie Carmen, Civil Engineering Intern
Megan Graper, Civil Engineering Intern

Left to right:
Trina Agnello, Structural Project Manager
Stacey Springer, Structural Project Engineer
Jensen Tasker, Civil Designer

Spread the word!


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