Join us this week as we celebrate National Engineers Week! Celebrated since 1951, over 70 engineering and educational societies participate each year, along with dozens of corporations. At LaBella, we offer our contributions to the Discover E (National Engineers Week Foundation) mission of:
Celebrating how engineers make a difference in our world
Increasing public dialogue about the need for engineers
Bringing engineering to life for students
Learn more here.
For the past few years we've used Engineers Week as an opportunity to share insights from a few of our diverse group of engineers. This year, in continuation of celebrating our new Powered by Partnership brand, we're presenting some of the internal partnerships that build our engineering team. Each day we'll share thoughts from a senior level engineer, and the young engineer they mentor.
Today, meet engineers from our Richmond office, Larry Bertolet (right) and Michael Hofmeister (left)!
What was your education in and how long have you been in this field?
Larry: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Delaware, 1976. 40+ years in the field.
Michael: Master of Environmental Engineering, University of Florida, 3 years in the field.
What has been one of your favorite projects and why?
Larry: A convenience center in a local county that was designed but never built. It included various aspects of civil engineering and the opportunity to work with other engineering disciplines to overcome traffic and space issues.
Michael: Design and construction of a transfer station. It was rewarding to see how a design on paper is built at the construction site and the people and processes that make that happen.
What drew you to this discipline?
Larry: The opportunity to see projects through initial concept, design, and construction.
Michael: Interest in applying my math/science background to work directly on projects that are both economical and protect human health and the environment.
How has engineering changed throughout your career?
Larry: Technology. Now calculations are done by computers and software, versus by hand.
How is working at an engineering firm different than you expected?
Michael: Centering on client needs and communicating well with them were things I expected, but I was really able to see what that meant in practice and how important that is during my first year.
What do you see in the future of your field?
Larry: Changes in design and construction materials, but the need for infrastructure won’t go away.
What are some of your career goals?
Michael: Obtain my PE license. Also, find opportunities and contribute to projects that deal with recent developments in landfill operations and recycling/beneficial use of materials.
What is a personal interest that has nothing to do with engineering?
Michael: Maintaining native Spanish proficiency and learning German.
What do you like about working for LaBella?
Larry: As a recent newcomer to the LaBella family, I am impressed by staff’s willingness to work together and to make everyone feel welcome.
Michael: At my office, I am around a very supportive team which has helped me learn a lot and get oriented my first year here. I’ve also had the opportunity to interact with other engineering disciplines within LaBella and learned useful information I can apply to future projects.
If not engineering, what career would you choose?
Michael: Translating/facilitating communication of technical material on international projects.
What excites you about working with the next generation of engineers? What advice would you give them?
Larry: I’m excited about the opportunity to share ideas and real world experiences. My advice: Do what you enjoy. Look for opportunities to grow. Remember it’s a team effort.
What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you?
Michael: Put yourself in the client’s shoes when making decisions.