Some Jobs for Engineers Require Better Communication Skills Than Others

Anthony Fasano here from the Engineering
Management Institute and I’m here at the ASCE SEI Structures Congress in Orlando
and I’m happy to be joined by Alexis Clark from Hilti North America and
Alexis thank you for joining me here and I want to ask you a question about your
career because as engineers you know a lot of Engineers will be doing design
work in a specific niche as an engineer but you have an interesting job with
Hilti where you’re actually communicating with a lot of engineers,
structural engineers, on a regular basis. So for those engineers that maybe are
interested in doing something like that take us how did you get to that point,
what made you know work for Hilti and work with a lot of Engineers?
Absolutely, so I have always been not your stereotypical engineer. I’m big and
loud and I like to talk to people. I really enjoy connecting with others and
I think all civil engineers have a really big passion to make life better
for others, that’s why we get into what we do. So when I was in school I had
multiple internships in different branches of civil engineering and I
really enjoyed all of them, okay, but the best part of my day was turning around
to my colleagues and talking to them about what we were doing.
So although I really enjoyed the design aspect and I gravitated towards
forensic engineering and kind of being a little bit more investigative rather
than design oriented…Right! …Hilti approached me my senior year of
college and I had never heard of them, I had no idea who they were and they kind
of connected the dots for me. I was a double major in German and Civil
Engineering and it’s a Swiss company that needs engineers, so some of the
things just fell into place but more than that they gave me the opportunity
to work with concrete which is my favorite face material. All
my concrete nerds out there I love it! And I also had the opportunity to speak
to people every day and help make their lives easier. That’s great! And the reason I wanted to talk to Alexis about this is because I’ve talked
to many engineers that say well I kind of like engineering but I don’t know that I
want to do the same engineering every day. So what Alexis does she still does a lot of technical work, I mean you talk with a
lot of Engineers about specifications and things of that nature but she also
gets to use those people skills that she loves and she gets to talk to people and
she sees all different kinds of projects and challenges on a regular basis and
so I would imagine that today you just enjoyed Hilti, that you’ve been there for
a while, you really liked it? I love it! Yes so when I first joined I was
actually a technical representative, so I was a field engineer, I did engineering
work, It was very consultative so I didn’t design the entire project I
would help a design engineer who was designing for example a multi-purpose
arena or a stadium or a tall building and I would help them with those
specific structural connections. I also had to train myself in the
world of software which is really interesting. Something I never did in
school and there is a sales and business component to what I do, so when
I was a field engineer it was very technical. I actually just applied for my
PE, so it was enough technical to where you can still get a license and then I
recently over the past year took on a new role at our headquarters in
technical marketing which was very intimidating for me because I have never
taken a marketing class in my life. I’ve never taken a business class or a
finance class and luckily when you have an engineering degree you
have the problem solving skills to be able to you know at
least fumble your way through but it’s been a really interesting couple of, I
should say eight months at this point kind of learning how you structure a
message to ensure that people are understanding what you’re trying to get
across, especially when we’re speaking really really technical topics. Right,
trying to communicate that and I think that last point by Alexis is a really
good point in that as engineers you have a great set of problem solving and
analytical skills that you’ve been trained on in school that don’t
necessarily just have to be applied to engineering. Right, they can help you in
selling in other areas, and it’s been helpful for me and growing the Institute,
just because the way we think you know I think there’s something
special about that. So don’t think that those analytical skills only have to be
applied in technical engineering problems because they can really help
you in a lot of other ways, so Alexis thank you so much for spending some time with us. You are always generous with your time and I appreciate it because I think this is
something on the minds of engineers. There’s a lot of job opportunities for
you out there, if you look for them like Alexis said she’s not the stereotypical
engineer but she found the job that she loves so thank you for sharing it with
us. Absolutely thank you!