On Wednesday evening our 2020 NextGen’s embraced our new normal and participated in a panel lead discussion via Zoom with our Engineer panelists. Thank you to Adam Artz, with Pinnacle Engineering Group, James Hansen, with GRAEF, John Kastner, with Vierbicher and Travis Peterson, with Kapur & Associates, Inc for your participation and valuable advice.
As a whole, the group agreed that they look for positivity and the ability to embrace a companies culture when looking at new hires. The engineering field is dynamic and new hires need to have a desire to learn and be flexible when things don’t go according to plan.
When asked what the biggest hurdle in the industry is there were a variety of responses. Travis said often times it can be an environmental issue. Environmental issues often put the brakes on deals. Adam said that you are only as strong as your weakest team member, so making sure that you have a great team is very important. Technology is ever more important especially at a time like this. The needs are changing quickly normally and at an exacerbated pace given the push to move everyone home. As quickly as everyone has adapted, there is still something to be said about speaking face-to-face and checking in with your colleagues. Managing client expectations in a time like this is also important.
The most challenging projects are often times when you are forced to work around existing operations that need to continue operating as normal. This can be people living near a project, restaurants that need to operate, stores with retail hours etc. Travis felt that dealing with the DNR can often create challenges. There has been a decent amount of turnover recently and sometimes new staff is less versed in specific projects.
The entire group said the projects that they love the most are the ones that you get to go back and experience on a day to day basis. The projects that require extra effort are especially rewarding as well.
As a result of COVID-19 the group felt that any changes to the industry likely hinge on how long the shut down lasts. There is a good chance that employers will become more accepting of employees working from home. That being said, the interpersonal connection of being face-to-face is ever more important for those new to the workforce. There is a strong importance of having the mentor/mentee relationship in person, the opportunity to read body language, pick up on social cues etc that you cannot learn over the computer.
Looking forward into 2020 the group thought that constructions costs could experience a temporary dip, but that they will come back strong due to an increase in the need for more local supply chain. We were already heading in the direction of sourcing more locally, but now that is ever more important for companies to not rely on other countries to complete their business. Because of this, all of the panelists felt that Industrial market will experience a big boom as there is more desire for more local sourcing.
To view the entire presentation click HERE.