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National Engineers Week (#EWeek) was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to highlight the importance of engineers throughout our society. It intentionally coincides with the birthday of the first president of the United States of America, George Washington, who is also hailed as the country’s first engineer. And now, over 70 years after its inception, #EWeek is still celebrated annually in honor of the millions of U.S. engineers working across the globe, including the over 26,000 licensed professional engineers (PEs) through NSPE.

This year’s theme – “Welcome to the Future” – is about celebrating today’s achievements and paving the way for a brighter and more diverse future in engineering. Engineering is at the forefront of innovation and is instrumental in designing and creating the solutions that are shaping the world of tomorrow. From the development of the internet and smartphones to space exploration and renewable energy solutions, engineers have been at the forefront of progress, making our lives more efficient, comfortable, and connected. Through their creativity, expertise, and dedication, engineering teams are addressing global challenges, driving technological advancements, and making a positive impact on society’s future.

At Chastain-Skillman (CS), we’re proud to have a team of engineers dedicated to constant innovation, ensuring the growth and development of the communities we serve, from Central Florida to Middle Tennessee. This week, we had the chance to speak with a few of our talented team members about their experiences as CS engineers and their thoughts on the future of the engineering industry.

Keep reading to learn more about the engineers we interviewed and hear their thoughts on how engineers welcome the future:


What inspired you to become an engineer, and how did you choose your specific field of engineering?

Sarah: I’ve always been good at math and science.

Robert: I decided to become an engineer because of my personality and interest in design and precision (and economic reasons, of course). I chose environmental engineering mainly because of my experience studying environmental science during my undergraduate years.

Stephanie: As a kid, I loved to draw – landscapes and buildings specifically. I was pretty good at math too, so putting two-and-two together I thought, “Why not be an engineer?”

Chad: I began in college as a professional pilot major and quickly realized after soloing, it was not the career for me. At some point, I came across a quote from Herbert Hoover regarding the engineering profession and was drawn to learn more about career opportunities in engineering. I listened to a Radiolab podcast called ‘Poop Train’ (highly recommend) which details the voyage of NYC’s waste through treatment plants to farms across the country to use as fertilizer and was convinced civil engineering was the field for me.

Wes: Honestly, not much actually. My best subjects in school were always science and math and my family said I should go into engineering… so I did. It actually worked out pretty well, though, so I can’t complain.



If you were to be any other type of engineer, what would it be and why?

Sarah: I think it would be fun to be a structural engineer who designs roller coasters.

Robert: I would be a mechanical and aeronautic engineer because I’ve always been into aircrafts and flight simulations.

Stephanie: If I could be another type of engineer, I would be a geotechnical engineer. Calculating soil data and completing lab tests was super fun in university!

Chad: Environmental engineer. Growing up in Boy Scouts the importance of environmental sustainability and conservation was stressed. Working to improve human and ecological health would be a rewarding career.

Wes: Probably mechanical, since that’s what my degree is in. But I’ve always thought aerospace is super interesting.



What is the most unique project you have ever worked on in your career? What made it so unique?

Sarah: I don’t have much experience with different projects, but I did work on the roundabouts for Hammond Heights, which I thought was very cool.

Robert: While my career only started about 8 months ago, the most unique project I’ve ever worked on has to be PRWC, Polk Regional Water Cooperative, because of its vast scope and diverse set of skills required to complete the project, such as working with KMZ files, ArcGIS and CAD drafting.

Stephanie: My career is pretty green as I have been at the firm for less than a year. However, one unique project I was able to work on is the design of a subdivision in Lake Wales. I could never have imagined so many homes in one area!

Chad: One of the first projects I worked on involved site visits and drainage design for improvements at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Working to minimize flooding risks to ensure one of the biggest events in Tennessee wasn’t impacted was a fun challenge.

Wes: The most unique project I’ve worked on might just be the CDW Workbase (A.K.A. Zombie Deer Project) while here at CS. This was a project for Tennessee Wildlife Resources to design a facility (complete with lab and incinerator) to analyze the remains of deer to study the prion-based Chronic Wasting Disease. This disease can cause deer to act in a zombie-like matter. The disease is fatal and there are currently no vaccines or cures. It was just a little bit spooky to work on.



The theme of this year’s National Engineers Week is “Welcome to the Future.” In your opinion, what are the most exciting developments or trends in engineering right now?

Sarah: Carbon fiber nanotubes!

Robert: With my limited experience in the field of engineering, I would say the most exciting developments would be the rise of AI and the challenges and opportunities posed to engineers.

Stephanie: Earlier this year, I was able to attend a Lunch-&-Learn about polymer concrete. It can go beyond the capabilities of standard concrete all the while combating corrosion. Right now, polymer concrete is being used in water/wastewater industry, however, I am excited to see it move towards the civil/structural industry in the future.

Chad: The design of more efficient & sustainable buildings, materials, and construction practices with the help of technology.

Wes: I mean it has to be AI right? It hasn’t really made its way into the engineering space just yet, but it seems like it could shake up our industry along with just about every other industry.



How do you embrace the future and stay updated on the latest advancements and technologies in your field?

Sarah: Right now, I am studying for the PE in May.

Robert: By subscribing to the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) newsletter and attending AWWA (American Water Works Association) conferences.

Stephanie: I stay updated on the latest advancements in the civil field by joining engineering associations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). I also stay updated with LinkedIn as other engineers are sharing projects from across the country.

Chad: Being involved in organizations like ASCE and maintaining connections with other engineers.

Wes: Definitely through the internet, whether it be YouTube, Reddit, or forum/news sites. It’s much quicker and easier to stay up to date than having to wait around on some print publication. Plus, it’s all easier to search for what interests you and it’s free. You just have to be careful to not believe everything you read. 



What advice would you give someone considering a career in engineering?

Sarah: You should be able to keep working through a problem from multiple different angles and not give up easily. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Robert: I would say – stay open-minded, carefully research the field of engineering field that fits you the most and seek out experiences in the industry such as internships.

Stephanie: Advice I would give someone considering a career in engineering is to not be afraid to try different types of engineering. There are so many fields and specialties in engineering. Go and explore them!

Chad: Engineering is a rewarding career path and daily problem solving can be challenging, but incredibly fulfilling. There are so many avenues to take in engineering that you’re sure to find one that suits you. Stay curious and never stop learning.

Wes: Engineering is a super wide and diverse field, so try to get as much information and ideally experience as possible across the disciplines in order to best choose what suits you the best.




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About Chastain-Skillman

CS is a leading engineering firm headquartered in Lakeland, FL, with satellite offices in Orlando, FL, and Nashville, TN. Established in Lakeland in 1950, our company provides Civil Engineering, Water/Wastewater Engineering, Land Surveying, Geology/Hydrogeology, and Construction Management/Inspection services.

At CS, we treasure our role in creating thriving communities, always respecting the impact our work has on their foundations and their futures. For more information, visit chastainskillman.com.


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