One of the more unique jobs at SGM is that of a Field Engineer. Much like the postal service, neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night keep these engineers away from the job site as they work to ensure projects conform to design specifications as they are being built. Field engineers also serve as referees, resolving inevitable conflicts that arise between the design and the reality of construction out in the field.
We recently chatted with long-time SGM Engineer Blaine Wright to give you a glimpse into the world of a field engineer, and better understand the challenges and rewards of a job spent out in the elements.
What types of projects do you typically work on?
It’s probably easier to list what I don’t work on! For the most part, I oversee civil engineering projects such as water storage and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, transportation projects ranging from pavement overlays to full construction including retaining walls, bridges, drainage improvements, and pavements. I love the smell of asphalt because it usually means the project is nearing completion.
What qualities are necessary for a field representative?
You have to be pretty flexible given the variety of projects and different personalities you interact with. Besides flexibility, I would say honesty, conscientiousness, and the ability to not take yourself too seriously.
What’s the best part of being a field engineer?
There’s really two great aspects. The first is trying to find issues before they become issues, and to work through solutions agreeable to both the contractor and the owner. The second is being able to work outside.
What‘s one of the craziest job sites you’ve worked on?
Probably the project I am currently working on. We are constructing four rock fall barrier fences in Glenwood Canyon. Walking around on a boulder field a couple hundred feet above the Interstate was not something I envisioned when I left school so many years ago and got into this business.
Do you get to play with dynamite?
That’s a whole other interview.