Kick Start Your Engineering Career: Q+A with GHT’s Young Professionals

What inspired you to pursue a career in the AEC industry?

Catherine: I wanted to be a part of the AEC industry because of the impact of the built environment. At a minimum, our built environment affects our health (mental & physical), climate change, and the aesthetics of our city. It is a privilege to be a part of the positive changes happening in the DMV.

Taylor: The AEC world became an option for me based on my interest in renewable energy. In college, I majored in mechanical engineering and minored in renewable energy. The minor included an HVAC course, leading me to do the ASHRAE calculations competition for my senior design project, which correlates with the industry I am in today.

Bailey: I enjoy seeing projects come to fruition, from schematic design to occupancy. I enjoy tangible engineering where I can physically see and touch my designs after they are constructed. The AEC industry is perfect for this. I am also passionate about sustainability, and, in the AEC industry, I am able to make a difference by contributing to a more sustainable built environment.

Alex: I’ve always been interested in architecture in major cities. While I can’t say I’m very artistic, it’s been fun to apply my strengths in engineering to contribute to this industry locally.

What’s your favorite part of your role at GHT?

Catherine: Helping clients reduce energy consumption is my favorite part of my role at GHT. Not only does it help clients to save money, but it also reduces contributions to global warming, and assists DC in achieving its green goals.

Taylor: I am building the world around me, and it affects thousands of people’s lives on a daily basis. I enjoy solving problems as well.

Bailey: The diversity of projects I get to work on and people I get to work with. The environment GHT provides is great for learning and growth.

Alex: I enjoy how I bridge between the Base Building and Interiors studios. Managing across those studios lets me interact with more people and see how the combined machine can work.


What are some good resources for emerging professionals?

Catherine: Research professional groups in your field – they may have free registration or events, especially for students. You can network and learn about the culture at various firms, as well as their project types in a non-competitive atmosphere. Finding a place where you feel comfortable to ask questions and also enjoy the work is important, not only for your professional growth, but also for your well-being.

Taylor: Find people that will take the time to invest in you as an engineer. I have learned more from the peers and senior engineers that took the time to teach me than any other resource.

Bailey: Get involved with organizations such as USGBC and ASHRAE, specifically events geared towards young professionals. This is a great way to learn and grow with other like-minded individuals who are at similar career levels.

Alex: Manufacturers’ reps can be a great resource. They are experts in the equipment we use and keep closer tabs on what the industry is doing.

What do you recommend for individuals looking to pursue a career in the AEC industry?

Catherine: The AEC industry is not limited to architects, engineers, or construction teams; there are many roles, and finding a place that suits you is key! Looking at the life of a building from design conception to demolition & site rehabilitation can help you find where you want to contribute. Once you determine your calling, look into any relevant certifications or classes for that vocation. Even if you don’t pursue those courses or certifications, having an understanding of your career trajectory will show potential employers that you are confident and well-informed in your pursuits.

Taylor: I recommend finding what you’re passionate about. Any job can become mundane unless you have a meaningful connection/interest to keep you going.

Bailey: Find your niche. From engineer to architect to contractor, there are so many moving parts to this industry and it’s important to find which career aligns with your personal interests, goals, and strengths. For me, that’s managing and designing sustainable interiors projects.

Alex: Get your EIT! It shows that you are planning on career development towards becoming a PE, and it’s much easier to obtain the closer you are out of college.