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 Lennie Arnold, PE, LEED AP!
Chief Operations Officer, Lennie Arnold, PE, LEED AP, joined the Chastain-Skillman team in the winter of 2020. He graduated from Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (BSCE), beginning his professional career shortly after. Throughout his career, Lennie has worked for organizations such as S&ME, AMEC Earth and Environmental, HNTB, Southeast Bridge and Concrete, Inc., and Arnold Construction Company.
As Chief Operations Officer, Lennie handles various responsibilities at Chastain-Skillman, including managing the day-to-day operations of the company, which involves researching and implementing new business development initiatives, creating opportunities for employee success, and providing quality assurance for clients and partners.
Lennie is a Professional Engineer (PE) in nearly 30 states, as well as a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) and a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control. Additionally, he is a member of many professional organizations, including the Florida Healthcare Engineering Association, the American Society of Healthcare, and the American Council of Engineering.
To mark the fourth day of National Engineers Week 2022, we talked to Lennie about his experiences, fulfilling aspects of his job, and what some of his favorite projects have been over the course of his 37 years in the industry.
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?
I have a lengthy commute to work no matter if it is to Lakeland (1 hour 45 minutes) or to Orlando (1 hour 6 minutes) so the first thing I do is log in and check my email to make sure there are no issues that popped up during my commute. My day is spent working through issues that come up with staff, processes, or clients and helping resolve them in a timely manner. Most days I spend at least half my day in meetings including internally facing and externally facing. My favorite part of the day is helping our staff work through tough issues for them to solve to make them better and the company better.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did you realize you wanted to become an engineer?
I have always wanted to be a Civil Engineer. My grandfather was a superintendent with a General Contractor and my father is a Professional Engineer in the construction industry. I was always fascinated with building things and large pieces of equipment. His company is a heavy civil/utility contractor in TN. I would go to the job site with him and find a piece of equipment that was not being used and play around on it learning how to operate the equipment. As I got older, I worked in the family business building utilities, roads, and bridges. After passing my PE exam I realized that I want to be on the design side of engineering and went into consulting engineering and have been having fun ever since.
What has been one of your favorite projects to work on?
While working for a previous company I got into designing airfields and shooting ranges for the US Air Force and Navy. I completed the design of a new runway, reconstruction of a ramp for B-52 Bombers, and a runway extension at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. Working on Department of Defense projects allowed me to travel the world working on projects in Italy, Hawaii, Guam, Germany, Great Britain, and Ascension Island.
What, in your opinion, is one of the most underrated skills to have as an engineer?
Understanding the constructability of what you are designing. It does neither you nor the client any good to design something that cannot be constructed economically. I feel lucky in that my career took me first through the construction industry to understand construction means and methods and then into consulting engineering where I applied that knowledge to the projects I was working on.
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 able to drive by a site or look on Google Maps and show my family the design that I came up with and how it turned out in the field is very satisfying. I love seeing a park, street, or hospital that I worked on being used by the public and knowing that I had a part in improving the lives of the users of that facility.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in engineering?
Don’t stop learning and sharing what you learned with others.