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Career Connections: Structural Engineer

6 minutes

(Describer) Beside four different-size different-color circles connected by lines, title: Career Connections.

(Describer) Title: Structural Engineer. Josh M. Obermiller:

(man) A structural engineer is someone who looks at different building materials and ensures the strength is adequate to serve its purpose. When you look at a building or any structure out there, you can visualize a skeleton behind all the façade and the appearance of that. We designed that skeleton structure so that it can withstand a variety of different loadings, whether it be wind loads, snow loads, equipment loading in the building. Arcadis is a larger consulting firm in the engineering field. It ranges from small family-owned engineering firms to individuals practicing engineering, all the way up to larger firms. One benefit of our large firm is we have a breadth of knowledge and technical experts in many different fields, so we pool all of that knowledge together to serve our clients' needs and provide the best solution.

(Describer) He listens to another man speak in a meeting.

I pulled you in because we have conflicts with pipe supports as well as a VRU foundation.

(Obermiller) A typical day for me involves working on different design problems, whether it be designing a concrete slab or a steel beam. I typically have a few meetings throughout the day with other disciplines. I also received various phone calls from construction projects asking questions on how site condition may be changed, and we need to accommodate that change.

(Describer) A 3D model is moved on a computer.

One of the cool tools we have as structural engineers is analysis software. We can actually build 3-D models of the structures we are going to build. We can piece together the structure with each beam and column, and then we can apply loading to this structure, whether it be snow load, wind load, equipment loads. We are then able to see a deflected shape of our building. This is exaggerated, of course, but we can change our load cases and see how that affects the building. Constructability review is something that's very important to us as engineers. A lot of questions we get deal with how is the contractor going to build this? That's something we want to bring back into the design process to mitigate those concerns. If, for example, we can ensure there's enough clearance around a bolt that they can get the wrench in to tighten it, we want to account for that in design. Whether it be head clearance if you're going down a stairwell, we want to make sure that there's enough room while they're constructing this to get access to areas to build it.

(Describer) He talks to another man at a desk.

One of the beams we had in question was this beam here. We wondered if we might be able to make it shallower and wider

(Obermiller) If you're interested in engineering, and structural engineering specifically, I would encourage you to, as always, go after the math and science classes in high school. And even more so important today than ever is the communication skills. I can be the most technically sound engineer, but if I can't communicate and convey my solutions to others and put it on paper, it's lost.

(Describer) He looks at a plan a woman moves on a computer.

Yes, that's the beam we're talking about.

(Obermiller) Education requirements for a structural engineer involve a four-year degree at an accredited university. You're required to take math, physics, chemistry courses, materials classes. And once you complete your four-year engineering degree, you can then practice in industry. If you want to pursue a license, you're required to work under a professional engineer for four years. Every state has different licensure requirements, and once you obtain that license, you are then allowed to stamp a design. And the whole stamp process is required to ensure that a competent engineer is reviewing and designing a project, so that when it gets built and is occupied by the public, it is a safe structure. What I enjoy most about my job is the constant challenge and change. Every day I come in I'm not exactly sure what new project I'm gonna be working on, and opportunities are endless, really. We're constantly expanding into different areas, and there's always a need for thought-out design and structural engineering perspective.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production

(Describer) Titles: For more information, visit OhioMeansJobs.com. WBGU-TV Public Television, Copyright 2015. Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at www.ed.gov.

accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

PH:1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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Follow a structural engineer through a busy day of working with sophisticated design tools. He is tasked with creating safe, long-lasting structures. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 6 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 2
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 3
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 4
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 5
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 6
4 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 7
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 8
7 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 9
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Career Connections
Episode 10
6 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12