Celebrating Our Engineers

National Engineers Week has been celebrated since 1951 when it was started by the National Society of Professional Engineers. The week is meant to encompass George Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, as President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his surveying work. Given the historical significance of National Engineers Week, we asked some of our engineers about their history with engineering, including what first piqued their interest in the field and what is the most rewarding part of being an engineer.

Dewberry surveyors in the field.

Engineering Engagement

Mark Pearson, a senior associate in our, Raleigh, North Carolina, office, remembers a moment from childhood that inspired him to join the profession. “I loved math and science, but I recall with great clarity the time that one of my friends’ fathers took us on a tour of an engineering company in Charlotte that got me excited about a career in this industry.”

Lorraine Pennino, a project manager and senior environmental engineer in our Parsippany, New Jersey, office, always enjoyed math and science, but it wasn’t until a career seminar in college that she found her true calling. “Originally, I started out studying aerospace engineering, but I wasn’t feeling connected to what I was learning. There happened to be a career seminar going on, so I decided to attend and see if there was something that would interest me and utilize my strengths. I heard someone discuss how environmental engineers protect the environment by improving our surroundings, making them better for the future. As I listened, my fond memories of doing community cleanup projects with the Girl Scouts came back to me, and I heard my calling to be an environmental engineer.”

Inspiration is something that is also important to an ongoing career in engineering. Scott Ehrhardt, a senior associate in our Danville, Virginia, office, shares his gratitude for continued inspiration from leadership. “I’ve been honored by the mentoring I’ve received from great talent like Dan Pleasant, Darren Conner, and Brian Bradner. They’ve helped me grow as an engineer and have challenged me so that I’m still excited to come to work every day after 28 years at Dewberry.”

Celebrating their Work

Anna Vanderhoof, a staff engineer in our Parsippany, New Jersey, office, is proud of her work on the I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection project in Camden County, New Jersey. “One of the first tasks I was given when I started at Dewberry was to manage and develop a way to organize and arrange our soil tracking information for this project. I’ve since developed a comprehensive spreadsheet that’s currently being used on our other projects.”

I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection
I-295/I-76/Route 42 Direct Connection

Justin Fries, a transportation project engineer in our Orlando, Florida, office, was excited to share his favorite project—a bridge design. “It was difficult because I was only given six weeks to do 100 percent of the design. The bridge also required haunched U-girders, which are not common, so modelling the structure was very challenging and required a lot of coordination with the software provider. When it was all said and done, the bridge was designed on schedule.”

A Rewarding Career

When asked about the most rewarding part of their job, our engineers almost unanimously responded that the most gratifying aspect of being in this industry is the ability to design a solution to a problem and see it implemented.

Glenn Pearson, PE, an associate vice president in our Fairfax, Virginia, office, echoed this and added his own thoughts on the rewarding and important nature of engineering. “I’ve always enjoyed the studying, planning, and designing aspects of this profession, but nothing is more gratifying to me than seeing something get built and put into operation. Great ideas are important, but when it comes to our environment—clean, drinkable water; or streams, rivers, and lakes suitable for human contact and recreation—all the great ideas in the world don’t matter unless sustainable, resilient, purposeful infrastructure is put in place.”

We Celebrate You

This National Engineers Week, we want to thank all of our engineers for their ingenuity and care for their profession. Keep questioning, designing, exploring, and solving.

  • Lorraine Pennino
    Lorraine Pennino
  • Scott Ehrhardt
    Scott Ehrhardt
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