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Pltw professional interview 1

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by

Matthew Munday

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Pltw professional interview 1

Interviewee: Erik Merlino
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
Place of Employment: Eastham and Associates
E-mail: e.merlino@eastham-assoc.com
Matthew Munday Professional Interview Question:Please describe your engineering field. Civil Engineering is very broad. It is typically broken up into the following categories, or disciplines: Transportation, Structures, Geotechnical, Construction & Materials, Environmental, & Water Resources. I focused on transportation while in college, but I had various classes in all of these subjects throughout college, but my few electives my junior/senior years were transportation focused. Since college, I have worked in the transportation field with HW Lochner, Inc. (6 years), and now work for Eastham & Associates.

What Is Your Current Job Title Project Engineer Job Description and duties My job here at Eastham & Associates is also broad, which is one reason why I left Lochner, which was specifically a roadway/transportation firm (I wanted more variety).

Here at Eastham & Associates, I handle mostly what is called “Site Design” for various project developments. Site Design covers areas of simple transportation, grading, water resources (with erosion control), permitting, utility coordination, pavement design, but site design is really project management. I work with architects, surveyors, city officials, government agencies, depending on the state and the type of site. Ultimately, the civil engineer has to stamp the set of site plans showing that the design is in accordance and will function properly for the life cycle for the given design life values. Site designs can include a new subdivision layout, a new car dealership, a new residential home, a commercial lot, a new football field and track, an industrial development…..and on and on….every site is unique.



Educational Background Diploma from Cabell Midland High School, class of 1998, started college at University of Kentucky fall of 1998, majoring in Mechanical Engineering, switched to Civil Engineering after one semester, graduated from University of Kentucky in December of 2003. (it is typically a 4 year program, but I did a one semester co-op with Indiana DOT, started in Mechanical Engineering, added classes for a math minor, and did not have any AP classes in high school).

If You Had to do it over, related to your career or education would you do anything differently Wow, tough question. While working at Lochner, there were times that I hated my job. Roadway design can be awful and monotonous, but can also be interesting once you get past the initial “grunt work” stage…depending on the projects you come across. I loved UK, and it was a great fit for me, but I wish I had gone abroad during college, or taken a semester in a completely different part of the country (Indiana doesn’t count). It’s a big world, and I don’t get to see enough of it. I still have never been abroad. I typically like my position here at E&A, and being a professional civil engineer is a pretty good gig. It can be exhausting, the attention to detail can wear on you….the project deadlines can wear on you….but it is nice to have variety in my work and I get to be a designer of the world, in the world we live in….and that can be very rewarding work. Being a professional engineer (which you should strive for if you get an engineering degree) is a real career, not just a mindless job. The pay is nice, but not amazing…..you are kind of doomed to the middle class….but it’s better than being doomed to the lower class….

What Is your average work schedule 40 hours a week typically, mostly on a computer with the occasional site visit or meeting, but occasionally I will have to work up to 60 hours a week to meet project demands and schedules. It is all project based, and can vary depending on how big the company or project is.

What advice would you give to me as someone interested in pursuing a career path similar to your Don’t be afraid to move away to get the job you really want, but you don’t have to move away with a degree in civil engineering, there is great flexibility with the degree.

And one more thing……DON’T SKIP CLASS IN COLLEGE! (other majors can get away with it, engineering majors generally can’t).

Personal Reflection What surprised you the most about the interview How fast he responded to the questions I gave him What was the most important piece of information that you learned from the interview Specifics about an interesting type of engineering How has this interview influenced your feelings about your future career. It has got me thinking a bit about this type of engineering
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