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Rebellious Engineering

Rebellious might be a bit strong for this post but I was wondering how engineers personalize their projects?

For example, on one river bridge I designed, I put a sea serpent on the cadd plans. I’m not sure it made it to the final letting plans but I tried.

On another plan set I labeled certain steel bars with my initials as the bar designation. Now this may not be rebellious, maybe more in the vein of immature behavior, but hey, I was trying to set my plans apart from other engineers.

My question is, can you personalize your engineering drawings? If I saw your plans compared to another engineer, could I tell the difference? If not, how can we add our style into a plan set?

Should we have a style?

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Five Questions for an Engineer – Paul Giroux

Paul Giroux is currently working as a District Quality Manager at Kiewit Infrastructure, and has worked on major bridges such as the Skyway bridge in Oakland and the Charles River Bridge in Boston. He has a background in high risk heavy civil engineering projects, submersed tube tunnels and has worked on a number of hydroelectric construction projects.

Paul is also the ASCE Chairman for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary, which occurs May 27, 2012.

Golden Gate Bridge

Paul was also good enough to come my concrete design class last year and give a great presentation on the history of the Hoover Dam. Thanks Paul!

1) Why did you choose engineering as a profession?

I was raised by a father who encouraged me to learn how to solve problems, to work with tools, build things, and continually learn. Engineering offered a great place to do keep doing the things my father taught me to enjoy.

2) Do you have a favorite project or design (One you worked on or one you admired?)

I have been fortunate to work on some amazing projects throughout the United States. Yet, I am truly fascinated and humbled by the builders of Hoover Dam. Built during the Great Depression, Hoover Dam set the standard for generations of builders.

3) What advice would you give to new engineers entering the field?

  • Don’t wait for opportunity, seek opportunity.
  • Don’t be afraid to leave you’re comfort zone.
  • Push yourself to learn something every day.

4) How does your work with ASCE fit into your career as an engineer?

ASCE projects have provided me a rich and rewarding opportunity to learn from many talented engineers as well as share what I have learned with others.

5) How do you see bridge design changing in the future?

As society comes to grip with dwindling resources, it will need to learn how to design and build more sustainable bridges. From “Sustainable Bridges”, Raymond Paul Giroux, M.ASCE, Aspire Spring 2010.

“Improving the sustainability of our bridges will not come from one change in federal regulations, from one new method of structural analysis, from one new super bridge material, from one new design detail, from one new construction method, from one new maintenance procedure, nor from one new monitoring technique.

The bridge industry will not be able to meet society’s needs for the future with the industry taking a myopic view of what bridges should be. Clear vision and improved sustainability of our bridges will come from all of us in the bridge industry; owners, regulators, the public, academia, designers, and builders working together towards a common goal.”