Engineers Week 2020

By February 20, 20202020, Alpha News
Engineers Week 2020

Engineers help create the world around us. While often unseen, their work keeps traveling families safe, airport infrastructure functioning, historic sites intact for future generations to enjoy, and much more. It allows for expansion and development of our communities. Whether we realize it or not, engineering impacts our lives every single day.

In celebration of Engineers Week 2020, we interviewed a few of our accomplished engineers to learn what brought them to the industry and what keeps them engaged.

Deonne E. Long, P.E.

Engineering Manager / Sr. Structural Engineer

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

Starting with digging up my parent’s backyard with Tonka construction equipment and continuing with working as a youth in the residential construction realm, with my father’s HVAC/electrical business, I have always had a strong interest in construction.  Engineering was a natural opportunity to blend my interest in math and physics with a love for construction and the built environment.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The most gratifying part of engineering is in developing engineering solutions to complex architectural visions and seeing that solution through construction.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

As a young engineer, working for a steel fabricator, I had the task of designing bracing connections design for an 1,100-foot-tall high-rise building located on Times Square in New York.  For a young engineer that project quickly brought home the immense gravity of the work that structural engineers perform.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

Seek out opportunities that allow you to broaden your experience and knowledge.  Experience and knowledge are in essence continuing education and something no one can take away from you.

Deonne E. Long, P.E.

Deonne E. Long, P.E.
Engineering Manager / Sr. Structural Engineer

Sara E. Power

Structural Designer

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

Ever since I was younger, I really enjoyed math as well as building and problem-solving.  I’ve always loved Legos and working to solve various problems whether they be at home or at church crafting up something exciting for Vacation Bible School.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the variety of projects as well as the variation in the things that I do.  I can be drawing up a middle school or working on a report for structural deficiencies.  The wide range really keeps things interesting.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

While there are so many interesting projects to choose from, I would have to say that wading in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool looking for damages in the expansion joints was probably the most exciting.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

Volunteering in capacities that allow me to outreach to younger children in STEM is a passion of mine.  I love seeing the looks on their faces when I show them pictures of projects we’ve worked on or even something as simple as what concrete looks like inside.  I think it’s important to remember that engineering is such a broad subject, that there is all kinds of engineering that can make a difference in our world.  You just have to work hard and learn to work together.

Sara E. Power

Sara E. Power
Structural Designer

Robert Holstead, P.E.

Program Manager

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

I started as an economics major, but shifted to engineering once I realized that was where my interest was. My father was also an engineer and it kind of rubbed off on me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am not currently focused on technical work. The work I am doing now is more entrepreneurial in nature, which I enjoy. Another thing I enjoy is driving around the region and seeing projects that I worked on over the years.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

I worked on a one million-square-foot distribution center in karst geologic terrain. I was involved in the geotechnical investigation when the land was a pasture and then all the way through construction. Being in karst, there were numerous sinkholes that developed during and after construction. Investigating and remediating these sinkholes was quite interesting.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

Get your master’s degree before entering the work force. The next generation of engineers will need it and it is hard to go back once you are working. You may also want to consider getting an MBA. Engineering is a business and if you want to grow beyond technical work, the business side is very important.

Robert Holstead, P.E.

Robert Holstead, P.E.
Program Manager

Jackie Hewitt, E.I.T.

Junior Mechanical Engineer

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

I decided to go into engineering because my dad is a civil engineer and I love problem solving/design. I also love math; I have a minor in math.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I’m currently doing cost estimating and I love figuring them out. It’s like a huge jigsaw puzzle for me and I have to put the pieces together.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

Doing a cost estimate for a U.S. Consulate in another country. I never thought I would be working on something this big; it’s multiple buildings.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

It’s one of the best fields you can get into because there’s always a need for engineers and the work is very rewarding. I also highly encourage women to become engineers!

Jackie Hewitt, E.I.T.

Jackie Hewitt, E.I.T.
Junior Mechanical Engineer

Jeffrey C. Layman

Senior Structural Designer

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

I am good at math and poor at memorizing, so engineering is a good fit for how my mind works.  I only need to remember how to do a calculation but not the answer, since the answer gets written down and the paper remembers it for me.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Engineering is nice because I get to apply my knowledge to new problems each day.  There is variety between projects, which keeps things interesting.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

Two park projects stand out: Oxon Hill Silo, and Pylon Stabilization.  Nobody lives in either of those towers, but structural design principles still answered the client need.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

If you enjoy solving word problems in math class, please consider engineering.

Jeffrey C. Layman

Jeffrey C. Layman
Senior Structural Designer

Andrew Updike, P.E

Structural Engineer

Why did you decide to go into engineering?

I love math, being outside, and building/seeing things be built.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I like designing structures and then going to the job sites after they are built. It is cool seeing something go from paper to a reality.

Tell me about the most interesting project you’ve worked on.

It is hard to pick a favorite. I enjoy working on everything from the small projects to the large, high-profile projects.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in engineering?

Be certain that you enjoy math, work hard in school, and be ambitious.

Andrew Updike, P.E.

Andrew Updike, P.E.
Structural Engineer