What Makes a Successful Engineer?

3 min read

This week, engineers will be celebrated nationally as part of National Engineers Week. The theme, Imagining Tomorrow, is dedicated to captivating and inspiring both children and young adults in a future career in engineering by demonstrating how engineers make the world a better place.

Leaving a positive impact is no small feat, rather, it takes adequate problem solving, strong relationships, attention to detail, and so much more. We asked our diverse team of engineers what they believe makes a successful engineer. From those who are veterans of the field to those who are just starting out, our team gave a variety of thoughtful and inspiring answers, as seen below.

“An engineer is successful if they are good at problem-solving. One of my favorite things about my job is figuring out how to make the engineering work for a client’s or architect’s vision on a project.” – Rachel Smith, PE, LEED AP, CFM, Senior Project Manager


“A successful engineer is responsive. Clients need to know that their project is a priority. A successful engineer is goal-oriented. Clients want solutions that fit their budget and timeline.” – Emil Bunek, PE, Project Coordinator


“Build a relationship with your client(s) and follow through on your promises. Without relationships, you will not secure enough work to be an engineer. If you do not follow through on promises, you lose the client’s trust and business.” – Darcy Leeseberg, National Programs


“To be a successful engineer you have to look at challenges as an opportunity to learn something new (and enjoy learning new things), as well as be humble enough to ask questions and seek out advise.” – Jill Rickard, PE, Project Engineer


“Being a successful engineer is not knowing all of the answers but, rather, knowing who to ask when you don’t know the answer.” – Robert S. Rochon, PE, Senior Project Manager


“Conscientiousness and attention to detail are critical.” – Becky Klein, PE, LEED AP BD+C, Project Manager


“A successful engineer is resourceful and efficient in order to come up with the best solution to a problem while keeping project timelines on track.” – Lucas Driesenga, PE, Staff Engineer


“I believe effective engineers know the importance of critical thinking and are not afraid to ask questions. Taking information learned through that process and mindfully implementing it is a continued path of success.” – Wendy Ripper, PE, Project Engineer


“Attention to detail – taking the time to ensure documents are checked and accurate saves time and resources. Communication skills – all projects fail if communication is poor.” – Leslie Accardo, PMP, LEED AP, Project Manager


“Being a successful engineer requires constant collaboration and continuous learning.  Every engineer will approach the same problem differently, so being able to pick up skills from other talented engineers and work seamlessly together is vital to becoming a successful engineer of your own.  You can learn something from anyone!” – Kelly Duerr, Staff Engineer


“Knowing which numbers are crucial and which numbers require less attention in a design helps in efficiency and accuracy.” – John Stebelton, Staff Engineer