National Engineers Week is celebrated in February every year. The goal is to educate the public through classroom contact, media and visible public service. Today, we get to know Engineer Paige Pierce.
What made you choose engineering as your career path?
In high school, I had my sights set on architecture, but I had more interest in the structural side of architecture than the artistic side. I went to the University of Iowa for Civil Engineering with a Pre-Architecture focus. By junior year, I learned how many various careers live within civil engineering alone and decided to stick with it beyond graduation.
What project are you most proud of?
I am most excited to see the Sponsored Projects come to life. The sole goal of these projects is to improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Living in rural Iowa most of my life, I have seen first-hand the results of erosion and pollution of our streams and rivers. Through the Sponsored Projects, I can prevent further contamination and promote the importance of caring for our natural resources.
Fehr Graham strives to be innovative. What aspects of engineering are innovative or are becoming innovative?
The engineering profession has always been the forefront of innovation. At Fehr Graham, we strive to stay on that cutting edge. Personally, I am most excited about the advancements in protecting and reviving our natural world. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, they are following the field of engineering. There is increased value in knowing what is entering our lakes and streams. Both in how to treat it now and how to prevent it. We are valuing floodplain studies, analyzing the changes we make here and the impacts on our downstream neighbor. We value the importance of infrastructure in balance with natural resources and open greenspace. Fehr Graham, as a whole, values projects that balance the engineered and the natural.
Why do you think engineers are important?
At the risk of sounding cheesy - we save lives. Not in the restart-a-heartbeat way, more indirectly. Every bridge you drive on, every sidewalk you stand on, every building you walk in was engineered. We design treatment systems for the water you drink and we analyze streams and storms to prevent flooding catastrophes. Without even thinking about it, you trust that the infrastructure around you will keep you safe. Without even thinking about it, you rely on engineers.
What do you wish more people knew about engineers?
Engineering is variable. Hundreds of niches and career paths exist in my field of civil engineering alone. You can choose to specialize in one niche or gain knowledge in a variety of interests. You will never do the exact same thing twice. Every site is different and every project has unique challenges. The field is always changing, which means engineers are always learning and ever-growing. Who’s not interested in that?