Like any trilogy, the final entry can be a masterstroke of genius (Goldfinger, Die Hard with a Vengeance, or The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) or a catastrophic failure (The Godfather Part III, Superman 3, The Matrix: Revolutions).
However, our engineers aren’t done; in fact, we’re pretty sure they will always have something to say if we kept asking. So far, we’ve sailed into the abyss that is internal engineer dialogue and found plenty of buried treasure. With that said, can we find lightning-in-a-bottle three times? We’ll let you be the judge!
Greg McCord, Senior Electrical Designer
I have a special kind of Australian-made, biological alarm system in my bedroom. It features a two-stage system to prevent any chance of failure. The first stage involves my cell phone’s alarm clock which I typically hit three times before considering any further movement.
However, if the snooze button still isn’t doing the trick, the second stage of my state-of-the-art alarm system engages. I have two perfectly-balanced miniature Australian Shepherd dogs that not only swaddle me to sleep but “chirp” me to wakefulness with their sweet, high-pitched whines while they sit their butts on my chest.
After I get the old Australian wake-up call, I head to the kitchen to make myself my pre-coffee coffee. After that, I check if anything important has happened in the news while I was asleep, namely, if the Dallas Mavericks had won or lost.
From there, I head into the office and have my first cup of office coffee. Don’t let anyone convince you to go to Starbucks—that precious three minutes of watching your coffee percolate while you look at the break room wall with bleary eyes is the difference between a good start and a bad start to the day. It’s a much-needed introspection.
With coffee in my hand, I head to my computer and usually jump right into work. My focus is always on electrical design; it’s an important and constant need at BFW/Marcum. I typically have design work on my desk related to lighting, power, and communications systems.
I head home for lunch to check up on my aforementioned Australian Shephards. I also have joint custody of two shelties, which I take with on my daily lunchtime walk through the park nearby. Lunch is a time for dog duty (dooty) and what I like to call “squirrel reconnaissance,” or allowing the four dogs to think they’re hatching a grand scheme against the menace of the park’s squirrel population.
My office is only three-quarter-miles away from my house, so I like to walk there and back on my lunch break. It gives me exercise and gives me plenty of time to think about the day.
I don’t waste any time jumping back into my workday after lunch. I try to finish up what I can and only leave things hanging that can bear to be left hanging.
I work overtime if the workload calls for it. Otherwise, I head home promptly after the regular workday is over. Currently, I’m spending the better part of the evening reacquainting myself with the sordid, bearded Scandinavian landscape of the History’s Channels Vikings so I’m ready for the new season, which is coming out shortly.
The truth is that I’ve found a healthy balance at BFW/Marcum and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’ve done a lot in my day. I’ve designed display case lighting for both Kay’s and Jared’s jewelers and hold two patents for this. I have been sent to repair issues at New York’s Playboy headquarters. Have designed and integrated lighting into the “smoke wisp” stairs in Giorgio Armani’s flagship store, New York. I’ve worked on the terrain-following radar in military jets flown in the first Gulf War. Yet, I get the most satisfaction investing my work life into my own community rather than someone else’s, waking up to my dogs and strolling home to take them to the park.
Phillip Holthaus, Structural Engineer/Project Manager
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Or whatever. Is that even true? I couldn’t tell you. When I wake up every morning at 4 am, it feels neither healthy nor wise. However, it’s a habit I’ve worked into my life, and once my brain wakes up, I do enjoy the extra time to get some work done while still at home and free of regular office distractions. I like to put on some headphones, listen to music, and do my thing before the rest of the family wakes up. That allows me to leave work a little early and have more time on the backend with everyone.
I typically get into work at around 7 am. I’ve already been up for three hours, and by the time I arrive at the office, I am rearing to go. Despite my limited sleep, I’ve never touched coffee. I drink plenty of water in the morning and that’s all I’ve ever needed.
The great thing about getting a bunch of work done from home is that I come into the office knowing exactly what’s on the table. I can hit the ground running and prioritize the day, knowing exactly what needs to be done without being blindsided.
After creating a plan of attack, I discuss these priorities with the rest of my team. We communicate well, and everyone shares the workload; we’ve found a great equilibrium.
I typically eat my lunch at my desk while I work so I can remain productive. I’m a family man, so I like getting my work done efficiently so I can get home to my family.
After lunch, I continue to work alongside my team. My primary focus is on reviewing my fellow structural team’s drawings and calculations. I help them to make decisions on their designs, and we collaborate on even the smallest details to make sure we’re headed in the right direction. I work in a satellite office for BFW/Marcum, so some days we’re completely left alone to do our work. However, I love heading over to a client’s office to collaborate and discuss their project. Sometimes, we just shoot the breeze. Knowing your clients on a personal level helps you understand their needs.
Because of all the work I crammed into my day, I’m able to leave the office as early as 4 pm. From there, I finally get to see my family and have the entire evening with them. I find that a solid work/life balance is the recipe for a healthy and happy career. I’m glad I found that balance; it makes my work more satisfying and gives me plenty of downtime to be with my family.