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Career Connections: Civil Engineer

6 minutes

My name is Justin Siegrist. I'm a civil engineer with a company called Wade Trim. I'm part of the water resources market segment, and I typically work on projects that consist of water, wastewater, and storm water management. Being in H&H specialization means that I typically provide technical engineering and analysis for the hydrologic and hydraulic aspects of those projects that I work on. As it relates to my H&H specialization, means I typically work on developing model representations of sewer and river systems. By developing these models of these systems, we can identify problematic areas that aren't working as intended and then develop solutions for those problems. We can also model those solutions and predict how well those designs will work and alleviate those problems. For model calibration, what we have here is a representation of a sewer system. We'll put in the pipes that are out in the physical world as well as "subcatchments," and these represent the land surface out there. Typically, when I start working on a new project, I begin with reading the scope of work for that project. The scope of work provides me with an understanding of what the project is and the work we plan to do. Being a civil engineer, not just an H&H engineer, gives me the background to be able to work with civil engineers of many different disciplines. For example, I'll also work with transportation engineers or structural engineers or geotechnical engineers. I grew up on a farm and worked construction in the summers. So the idea of being able to work outside part-time was initially really appealing to me. So I went into civil engineering, and as I got into my studies, I realized there was more to civil engineering, and hydrology and hydraulics really piqued my interest. So, that sort of started changing what I was interested in, and then one summer, I had an internship with an engineering consulting firm, and that was when I knew that I found what I wanted to do. My education and my skill set helps me in my job daily because, as is true with any profession, you have to be self-motivated, organized, and be able to manage your time well. My degree provided me with a basic understanding, a solid understanding of the fundamentals of the engineering concepts that I apply every single day. Another benefit to my engineering degree is what I call "brain training," in that it taught me to think abstractly and taught me how to solve problems, and that's what any engineering degree is about, is teaching you how to solve problems. I also, as part of my continuing education, receive a lot of formal training. I get to attend workshops to learn about new engineering concepts as well as new modeling and design software. It's exciting to attend these workshops because I'm learning about software that's on the cutting edge of my profession. For someone who is interested in pursuing a career in civil engineering, in high school, you should definitely take some calculus and physics, as that's going to help you out a lot in college, as well as writing courses, because that will help you in college and in your career. A civil engineer does a lot of writing. What I like most about my job is the variety of projects that I work on, and it's always in a different city. I've worked on projects in not only Cincinnati, but Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, to name a few. I also get to coordinate work with subconsultants and conduct field investigations. The same thing that I enjoy the most about my job also provides the most challenges. Working on several different projects in different cities requires you to figure out a way to meet those deadlines. Also, you have to manage expectations for the people you're working with and the people you're working for. What I hope to achieve through my work is to be able say that I helped improve the community and its surrounding environment. That could be something as simple as replacing a leaky sewer or designing and helping to construct a large underground storage tunnel. Anywhere along that spectrum is fine with me, just so long as I know that I've taken advantage of every opportunity possible to get as far along on that spectrum as I could. And I want to inspire younger engineers to do the same so that they can achieve the same fulfillment in their careers that I've had in mine so far.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production 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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Learn how a civil engineer’s farm life and summer construction jobs led him to his college major. Hear how college, internships, and a desire to work outdoors molded his specialized career path in hydrology and hydraulics project management. 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