News and Updates
March 16 - 2021
National Engineering Month - Featuring Michael Csiki
March is National Engieering Month! To celebrate, we’re asking some of our engineers about their career, their goals and their opinion on the importance of engineering to society.
Michael Csiki is a structural engineer at LEA. Read his thoughts on engineering below:
Why did you decide to pursue engineering as a career?
In high school I was not exactly sure what I wanted to be, and it was difficult to decide a future career without knowing the outcomes. I knew it was important to keep my options open when selecting what to do for post-secondary education.
I grew up wanting to know more about why and how things came to be, I also had a strong spatial intelligence and excelled in STEM and visual arts. I wanted to be something that could utilize physics, math, and art. Although you wouldn’t think art was an engineering skill, I find that having a creative side helps in making decisions and allows an open mind for considering other perspectives and visions on a project.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
I hope to make a positive impact on my community, clients, and my team by becoming an expert in my field and an effective leader. I want to encourage our industry to become more sustainable as innovations and standards change to create greener cities and infrastructure. By the time I retire, I want to be able to walk down the street and point to how I helped positively influence the industry through my projects.
In your opinion, how does engineering impact the development of our society?
Engineering is key to innovation and plays an important role in developing our society. We need to pass our lessons learned to developing countries to ensure that they do not make the same mistakes as we did in our past development. Engineering plays an important role in the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The UN’s SDGs require engineers in our field to provide expertise in infrastructure, sustainable cites, and communities. When we design a hospital or school addition, our structures provide health care and education to more people. We need to keep in mind the impacts that our decisions make on the world around us and the type of projects we champion.
What is the importance of innovation and technology in the engineering space?
We need to challenge the norm and think about the life cycle analysis in our designs. There are plenty of emerging technologies and products available today that we can start to use or discuss with our more innovative clients. The fundamentals in design will not change; for example, post and lintel has stood the test of time with the construction of the Parthenon in Greece. Innovation in engineering is simply using the fundamentals we learn and applying them in new ways or with new materials to minimize our environmental impact and create resilient structures.
How do you foresee the future of engineering? What challenges and/or opportunities do you think you will face throughout your career?
The future of engineering will be more involved in different aspects of sustainability and integration with construction. We may need to consider the following in future work: the environmental costs in our design, requirements to use recycled material or sustainable alternatives to traditional materials, and prefabricated products to minimize waste. Our engineering work may be closely tied to construction as technology allows us to use software to be more integrated, such as the use of BIM. This integration will create new opportunities for Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) as contractors require more engineers to provide input during design and construction. Other opportunities in the future may be to incorporate more existing buildings than what we see now as real estate and cost of new construction increases.
What advice would you give to young aspiring engineers?
Be curious, respectful, and stay humble.
Try to be observant of your surroundings; you may come across something that makes you wonder “how did they do that?” At first you might not understand how it works, but with engineering practice and understanding you will come to realize how it was designed or constructed.
Being a good engineer requires continuous learning and knowledge sharing with your peers. Creating designs is a collaborative process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions or learn from your mistakes; your team is here to help you. It is also important to know the fundamentals before advancing.