Young Engineers Blog

January 29, 2013 - 10:51
I rarely use the words “porcelain” and “rooster” in the same sentence. But just a few days after Hurricane Sandy struck Manhattan, a porcelain rooster was the centerpiece between the worlds of the electric light and of urban darkness. Supply chains are the strategic corporate tool for conveying value from one end of society to the other. They are also subject to all flavors of disruptions given the level of complexity that many attain while in motion. Disruptions such as cargo delays, tangled logistics. And weather. Two days after Hurricane Sandy swept portions of the Atlantic...
October 10, 2012 - 09:39
The desk in the hotel room was bathed in the glow of a Cracker Barrel sign. This nearly ubiquitous restaurant chain had its sky-scraping signs located throughout most of the major highways of the United States and its promise of a wholesome country-style meal undoubtedly comforted many a weary traveler on lonely night drives throughout the American interstate system. I imagined that the parking lots of RVs and minivans, the back-lit gift shop windows and the rows of rocking chairs of Cracker Barrel stores would be modern day subjects for the artist Edward Hopper were he still alive, as...
August 21, 2012 - 09:19
San Diego is full of superheroes. Some superheroes were found at Comic-Con International, whose annual convention of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, and gaming fan culture also happened to be taking place concurrently with the NSPE Annual Meeting this past July. On account of the Comic-Con goers, the streets of San Diego’s Gaslamp District were definitely more energizing and colorful than usual—it’s not every day that you get to stand in line between a Storm Trooper and Where’s Waldo while waiting for a slice of pizza. Others were superheroes of eras past, like Thomas Edison and Charles...
July 9, 2012 - 08:21
Engineering aesthetics in technical design and construction can often re-emerge in the physical, observable world in new, startling ways. This miraculous cycle emerges each time a new structure , piece of equipment, or personal device emerges from concept to fully matured reality. What’s produced is the result of an inspiring act of creation that blurs the line between traditional sciences and the arts. Last autumn I was at the Phoenix Art Museum and there was an exhibit by the photographer Jamey Stillings on the construction of the new Hoover Dam Bridge. The vast scale of what he was...
May 2, 2012 - 09:11
“Success is not an entitlement. It has to be earned every day.” -- Howard Schultz, CEO Starbucks Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz uses a single word to capture the momentum that propelled the growth of his company from a small coffee roasting business to a global brand: onward. The principles that Starbucks applies to how it runs its business is just as applicable to the engineering world. Consider what Schultz refers to as the “touchstones” of Starbucks: Respect and dignity, Passion and laughter, Compassion, community, and responsibility, and Authenticity...
March 5, 2012 - 13:37
As engineers, we are trained to quantify the world around us to the extent that such analytical representations of our surroundings emerge comfortably, organically. Engineers quantify to innovate and improve: the structural stability of cantilevered bridges like the recentStonecutters Bridgein Hong Kong; the efficiency of a gas scrubber in a new chemical plant in Louisiana; the aerodynamic efficiency of a turbine in the latest globally accessorized jetliner. These are the quantitative fruits of tangible things, but how might one quantify happiness? For one answer, we turn to the world of...
December 15, 2011 - 09:30
Of the many things Steve Jobs will be remembered for, his view on how design aesthetics, creativity, and technology should be closely interwoven has particular resonance for engineers. In expounding upon how the arts and humanities were closely bound to the technical engineering demands at Apple, Jobs emphasized the foundational attainment of innovation through the balance of technological mastery with design mastery. In Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple co-founder, Jobs shared this insight: “Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science....
November 17, 2011 - 08:44
Around me was a backdrop of pirate ships, crystal-clad dancers, and LED arrays lighting the glass facades of steel towers sparkling with the reflections of taxis, storefront signs, and digital camera flashes. One couldn’t have hoped for a more visually energetic scene, hued in reds, blues, purples, and incandescent yellows, to talk the depth and breadth of the influence of the engineering profession and the multifarious career paths within it that made such sensory spectacles possible. The reach of engineers was further emphasized by the ubiquitous proliferation of every day experiences...
July 13, 2011 - 11:57
With the Department of Labor announcing last week that the national unemployment rate for June was 9.2%, interviews that convert to real job offers might be one of the most highly sought after things out there in the marketplace. It’s great to get a new job. What’s not so great is that after you start your new job, you realize you hate it. While being extended a face-to-face interview is itself a motivating outcome, when interviews evolve into formal job offers, they can be difficult to turn down, particularly if one has already been in transition for months or more and has already...
May 10, 2011 - 16:05
They’re emblematic. They’re sources of pride. They’re personal 3.5” x 2” flags that summarize company, title, and contact information. The business card: If this piece of pocket sized card-stock were a piece of real estate, your reputation would be its tenant. Every castle needs its monarch. In the age of kings and feudal lords, the King’s Champion was the representative of the monarchy—king, queen, royal family, regal reputation. The Champion would represent the royalty in tournaments, feats of daring, and sometimes, even for certain rights to a kingdom in dispute. Regardless of the...

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