Chastain-Skillman is excited to celebrate National Engineers Week 2022 by recognizing our talented & dedicated engineering staff. Each day in #EWeek2022, we’ll highlight members of our team on social media and in our blog. Today we’re chatting with Alex Barnes, EI!
Alex Barnes, EI, celebrated his 1st anniversary as an Engineer I at Chastain-Skillman (CS) this past January! Before joining the CS team in Lakeland, Alex graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE), specializing in Transportation and Structural Engineering, and received his Fundamental of Engineering Certification from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) in Orlando.
As an Engineer I, a typical day for Alex consists of solving problems and working on project designs. Alex also spends time out in the field assisting in the development and completion of projects in the Central Florida area.
Alex has been involved with numerous projects through his first year with Chastain-Skillman, including designing equipment for the City of Bartow Water Reclamation Facility; designing utility relocations for the Florida Department of Transportation, preparing permits, and capacity analysis reports for a Wastewater Treatment Plant in Auburndale, and more.
To mark the third day of National Engineers Week 2022, we talked to Alex about his experiences, fulfilling aspects of his job, and what some of his favorite projects have been during his time at Chastain-Skillman.
Read more below:
Describe your typical day: What do you do as soon as you get to the office? What takes up most of your time? What is your favorite part of the workday?
As soon as I get into the office, I make sure my desk is properly organized and free from clutter in order for me to be able to think more clearly (not sure why a clean desk improves my thinking; it just does). Most of my day is about solving problems we may come across when designing projects. My favorite part of the workday is when I get to practice skills I am really bad at. Also, I like when I get to read and exercise my brain.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you realize you wanted to become an engineer?
As a kid, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a lot of things: An animator, a sports prodigy, and even a race car driver. I settled on engineering due to being born to Mechanical Engineer (Dad) and Computer Scientist (Mom) parents.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on?
I have worked on a lot of fun projects including Bartow WRF, Auburndale Regional WWTP, Berkeley Road WTP, and the Seven Wetlands in Mulberry, FL. But I think my favorite projects to work on are the FDOT utility relocates, albeit, after a while, it gets rather boring moving all these utility lines around (I love transportation).
What, in your opinion, is one of the most underrated skills to have as an engineer?
Communication. It doesn’t matter what career field you are in and how often you have to actually use it, communication is THE most important skill anyone (even an introvert like me) should have.
What is one of the most fulfilling aspects of your job as an engineer? Why have you continued to be an engineer all of these years?
Being an engineer allows me to solve problems. It allows me to be creative. It allows me to network. It allows me to THINK. The opportunities I get to exercise these aspects are helpful not only in the workforce but also in life.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in engineering?
Believe in yourself and NEVER give up. If I can do it, so can you.