On a daily basis I speak to all types of civil engineers. Those who specialize in rail & transit, highways, traffic & transportation planning, land development, and water/wastewater, just to name a few. Above all else, what I hear most when I ask them what they love about their profession, is that they love the opportunity to be creative. The ability to look at a raw piece of land and the different contours and deliver an idea to a client that is new and original; the ability to be a part of a design team responsible for designing a bridge that isn’t just sensible, but perfectly fits the landscape within which it is being built; engineering and creating the best work zone traffic control plan to keep drivers and construction personnel safe while maintaining a steady flow of traffic.
The level of creativity that an engineer is able to express is often dictated by the company culture within which they work. Some consulting engineering firms are just flat out “drab,” right? No innovation, no desire to take some design risks at risk of a losing proposal, designing subdivisions or site plans only so they look like every other one they have ever completed. Often times this mentality is driven by hard nosed clients with strict budgets and timelines. But what if your company leadership has been able to develop a level of trust with their client base that would allow for some flexibility in those timelines, resulting in higher levels of creativity? Sure it may cost the client a little more money, but might the end result be worth it?
Watch this 2 minute video of a group of 5th graders to catch my drift:
Now I’m no civil engineer, and I get that it’s a little more complicated than this video, but doesn’t this simple concept make sense?