In honor of Engineers Week, Hailey Klebe, events & communications manager for KCW Engineering Technologies, recently sat down for a virtual chat with SMPS. Hailey discussed the theme of this year’s week, what it’s like to work for an engineering firm, and how engineers make a difference.
This year’s Engineers Week’s theme is Creating the Future? When you hear that term, what does it mean to you?
For me, it sparks the word opportunity. In my role, I have the pleasure of coordinating the KCW Girls STEM Panel event each year. This panel builds lasting connections between high school students and women in STEM, allowing students to envision who they could one day become.
This theme also reminds me of the daily decisions we make every day that shape and create our futures. Though we are not in control of most things, we have the power to curate a life that we love and a career we are fulfilled in.
In a couple of sentences, can you describe the type of work your firm does?
As a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE-Certified) firm with 40 years of experience, KCW provides civil engineering and land surveying services that contribute to the revitalization of communities and infrastructure in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area, as well as electrical utility design that powers our nation’s capital and surrounding counties.
In what ways do engineers make a difference in society?
In my six-plus years in the A/E/C industries, I’ve seen the remarkable ways that engineers change the world. Engineers, surveyors, construction teams and so many others are literally shaping the world around them. Engineers are visionaries and problem solvers who create affordable housing, ADA accessibility, historical restoration, reliable utilities, and renewable power sources, in the communities we call home.
If a person has a non-technical degree, what skills are important if you want to work for an engineering firm?
Curiosity – A willingness and desire to learn the ins and outs of the industry will take you far in your career. Seek new knowledge, always.
Open-mindedness – It doesn’t take long to love the engineering industry. When you see the tangible impact your team members are making each day, it makes you proud to be the one who gets to tell the story.
Adaptability – The ability to quickly adjust to the niche needs of each department, discipline, or proposal format will allow you to better serve your team and find success in your role.
Having strong working relationships is crucial. What’s one thing you’d like engineers to consider when working with marketers and business developers?
Send us your pictures! I’m grateful to many of the engineers, designers, surveyors, and confined-space entry team members who share pictures from their job sites, ribbon cuttings, and groundbreakings. Pictures are always handy – brochures, job ads, project spotlights, capabilities statements, you name it – we need ‘em.
What do you like about working for an engineering firm? Has it, in any way, changed the way you look at the world?
The engineering industry has taught me so much and has most definitely opened my eyes to the world in a different way. I can’t see a crane, traffic control setup, or survey tripod without thinking about our impactful projects here at KCW.
Engineering and surveying are rich in history and are living and breathing industries. Hospitals, highways, stadiums, and schools are constantly being reimagined, revitalized, or redeveloped. Projects from 30 years ago may come to the forefront and allow you the opportunity to recreate something you designed years ago.
To learn more about the firm and gain an engineer’s point of view, read an article by Kim Groves, P.E., president & CEO of KCW Engineering Technologies, Inc.