#Engineers Week: Spotlight on Transportation Engineer Tom Miller
It's #Engineer Week! Founded by NSPE in 1951, EWeek (February 21–27, 2016) is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers. Learn more here. All week LaBella has been highlighting our diverse group of engineering disciplines. We're wrapping up the week with Tom Miller, a transportation engineer.
Name: Tom Miller
Alma Mater: Rochester Institute of Technology
What kind of engineer are you (discipline) and what does that mean in layman's terms?
I am a Civil Engineer with a focus on Traffic and Transportation, so many people call me a Traffic Engineer. Most of my projects involve the analysis of traffic operations (how traffic moves through intersections or along roadways), as well as the design of signage, pavement markings, traffic signals, and pedestrian / bicycle facilities.
What do you like most about being an engineer? I have always been interested in development and construction, and being an engineer allows me to be a part of projects that can have a positive impact on people or a region. Many of my projects are relatively small, such as improving safety and traffic operation at an intersection, but there have been some highly visible and transformative projects like Rochester’s Midtown Redevelopment that have been very exciting to be a part of.
What do you like least about being an engineer? Many of our projects are dependent on funding that can be uncertain or unavailable due to economic or political reasons.
Tell us about a project that you’re proud of. The Midtown Redevelopment Project in Downtown Rochester has been a great learning experience for me and an exciting project to watch develop over the last few years. My work on Midtown started in 2008 with a large traffic analysis of the Midtown site and surrounding intersections as part of the environmental review and planning process. Subsequent phases of the project included parking garage rehab, construction of new streets and development parcels, and a large parking study of Downtown Rochester. Work at Midtown is still ongoing in 2016 with the design of a new pedestrian corridor along the Midtown Tower. Although the redevelopment has been happening for a long time, it has still been a very impactful project in Rochester and a very successful project for LaBella.
What advice would you give someone thinking of becoming an engineer? What does the future hold for engineering? I think becoming an engineer is a good career choice – it’s a relatively stable, in-demand and successful line of work and there are so many different areas and specialties within the field of engineering to pursue. Interning / job shadowing is important early on in the education process to really understand the different types and specialized areas of engineering. And I would also say that although engineering can be a very technical field, it is important to have good written and verbal communication skills.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I enjoy traveling, spending time with family & friends, and outdoor activities like camping, hiking and biking.
What do you like about working at LaBella? LaBella is a full-service firm that offers opportunities to work on a wide variety of projects with a wide variety of people. Although my field is rather specialized, I have been able to work on a large range of planning, design and construction projects in many geographic areas. The firm is also well-respected and maintains strong relationships and values with its clients and employees.