What do you think is the biggest challenge facing engineers today? I think it would be keeping abreast with regulatory issues. We have to work in a global marketplace with varying political beliefs, environmental movements, and such, which keep changing and with increasing complexity. In terms of design challenges I think innovation of infrastructure.
Describe the biggest design mistake you’ve ever encountered in your career. I do not recall any in particular. A big one probably means I will not be in the profession! I will say my biggest mistake is counting on others to meet project milestones. It never goes smoothly.
Do you think engineers get enough respect in today’s world? No, but it is not like there is prevailing disrespect either.
Would you encourage your kids or grandchildren to pursue an engineering career? Yes. I also think an engineering education develops valuable skills for any career path a person chooses.
What is one thing you wish you knew at the beginning of your career that you know now? The fanciest career means nothing if it does not coincide with your personal and family needs.
What is the coolest project you’ve ever worked on in your career? It was not much of a career yet but as an intern at Electric Boat Corporation I assisted engineers designing systems for a U.S. Navy submarine. Experiencing the construction was cool.
If you could have coffee with one engineer, scientist or inventor, living or dead, whom would it be? Perhaps Igor Sikorsky who I think was a true engineer and a pioneer of the modern helicopter.