Jeff Stephenson, P.E., is the Team Leader of [...]
By: Ryan Medley, EI ,Civil Site Designer
Two years ago, I had just finished my junior year of college and was preparing for my first engineering internship at Sain Associates. Little did I know that one year later, I would be starting my first week in a full-time position as a civil site designer. Last week, I celebrated my first “Sainiversary.”
A lot has changed this past year. In my first few weeks, I worked on project-related research, performed due diligence, and helped draft design plans. I also had a few opportunities to conduct storm and hydraulic analyses, including a no-rise verification for one of our projects located in a flood hazard zone. More recently, however, I’ve assisted in site design, analyzed storm drainage systems, and coordinated with clients, approval agencies, and other members of the project team. I’ve also participated more in conceptual design, which has been one of my favorite aspects of my job where some of our most creative ideas come through.
As rigorous as the engineering education experience is, there’s much knowledge that can’t be imparted in the classroom and many skills that are almost impossible to teach. This first year has been a major learning experience, and I know the next years will be too. As engineers, our training never stops. Technologies and practices evolve, and there is always room to improve our professional methods. One of the many blessings that has come from working at Sain has been the value put in technical training and “soft skill” courses, evidenced by our almost monthly training sessions, often led by Sain’s own.
If there’s any advice I could offer entry level engineers-in-training, it’s to take advantage of having so many knowledgeable people around you. Especially in my field of civil site design, having people from different backgrounds whose advice you can seek is invaluable. It’s also good to keep an eye out for what your teammates are working on. You might have an opportunity to learn something new or to contribute.