Engineering Spotlight: Brad Gough, PE
Earlier, we asked Brad Gough to provide insight into an article we published about our geotechnical division. We knew Brad was a great engineer, but we were blown away by his eloquence in describing his process.
Our engineering spotlight isn’t just a great way to highlight our employees and create interesting content. It’s also a great way for us to learn more about the people we work with. Sure, you’ll learn a thing here and there in casual conversation, but when you ask someone direct questions—questions that inspire them to be equally introspective about their career path, goals, and personal ideologies, then everyone involved comes out having learned something. Without further ado, we’d like to introduce Brad and let him do the talking.
Brad Gough, Civil Engineer/Project Manager
Can you describe your career path? What brought you to BFW/Marcum?
“I attended engineering school at the greatest college in the world, Ohio University. With a strong interest in math and science, I entered college knowing that I wanted to be an engineer, but I wasn’t sure which kind. Civil engineering ended up being my major of choice because it gave me a wide range of career options to choose from. Although, I was initially interested in structural engineering, after graduating I was offered a position in land development at a design firm in Tampa, Florida. Land development requires a diverse set of skills and civil engineering knowledge. No two projects are the same, and each comes with its own set of unique challenges. I quickly came to love the fast-paced, high-pressure nature of the land development consulting world.
For a while, things were going great and business was booming. Then in 2008, the Great Recession brought an abrupt halt to many construction projects across the county. Tampa was hit especially hard and my office closed shortly thereafter.
After spending some time back home in Kentucky, I was hired by a local environmental engineering firm. The experience was great; it furthered my career and expanded my engineering knowledge. However, I discovered that I didn’t have the same passion for environmental engineering as I did for land development. After a couple more years, I met my future wife, Jennifer, who convinced me to relocate to her hometown of Dallas to pursue my passion for land development. At that time, construction in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro was really starting to take off again.
I worked in the Dallas area for the next few years while re-acquiring my skills. It was extremely difficult starting a career over again at age 30, but my love for land development helped me push through. During my time there I was able to gain invaluable experience on a wide range of high profile projects including commercial, medical, retail, and residential.
Jennifer and I married in 2015 and decided to move to Kentucky to start our family. After working for another local firm for a short time, I made the jump to BFW/Marcum and the rest is history. Between the enormously talented staff, the challenging projects, and the small-town sense of community, I have finally found the perfect company for me.
What are your responsibilities at the firm?
“My current role at BFW is Civil Engineering/Project Manager, which means I’m responsible for various civil engineering projects from conception through construction. My job is to ensure the project is successful both technically and financially.
While BFW/Marcum has been steadily growing over the last several years, we are still a relatively small firm. With that small size comes a lot of individual responsibilities for each employee; we all get to wear a lot of hats.
So while my title is Project Manager, I also work daily on the detailed design of projects, coordinate with clients, sub-contractors, and partners, and make sure all necessary permits are acquired.”
How have you grown since joining our firm?
Since day one, I have said there is something truly special about the people who work here at BFW/Marcum. I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside and learn from one of the most talented groups of people ever assembled. Often times you will find individuals who know a lot about a specific thing; or they know a little about a variety of things. The staff at BFW/Marcum seem to know everything about everything.
And because of this talented and experienced staff, we get the opportunity to work on interesting and complex projects. We aren’t afraid to take on big challenges. Between the amazing staff and the challenging projects, I have learned something new every day since I started here.
As a young engineer, what is important to you as a professional in our industry?
“This could apply to almost any industry today, but I believe the single most important thing for any young engineer is having access to resources. This can mean anything from mentors and skilled coworkers to cutting edge technology, to professional networking opportunities. Having access to resources, and ultimately utilizing those resources, helps create a truly well-balanced professional.”
How should a firm accommodate new talent? With that said, what is BFW/Marcum doing well to usher in new talent and making them feel at home?
“Hiring new talent is a lot like dating, there first has to be a mutual attraction before you can go much farther. We hope to attract new talent with our reputation for quality, our highly talented staff, and our impressive resume of exciting and successful projects. We want potential employees to know that if they join BFW/Marcum, they will grow and be challenged in their careers. Their actions and contributions will matter.
On the flip side of that, we are attracted to potential employees who want to become the best versions of themselves, personally and professionally. We want folks that show passion for what they do, and go above and beyond to hone their craft.”
In what ways do your individual values align with the company?
“I think no matter what your personal values may be, you can find it exhibited somehow or someway within BFW/Marcum. We are a company built on the values of our employees. For proof of that, you don’t have to look any farther than our value and mission statements, both of which were developed with input from employees.
Two individual values I personally align with most are BFW/Marcum’s commitment to quality and willingness to accept big challenges. We always strive to provide our clients with the highest quality experience and end product. We know that our reputation is built on our daily actions.
Here at BFW/Marcum, we are also not afraid to dream big. We believe that we have the talent and expertise to take on new challenges with a sense of confidence and excitement. After all, you can’t expect to grow unless you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.
Where do you see the future of engineering? Do you see it becoming more accessible as a career path?
“Many of the core principals of engineering remain the same as they were a hundred years ago. Since engineering is based in math, a lot of the old equations will be applicable until the end of time. However, because of technology, engineering as a profession is evolving every single day. So while the fundamentals of engineering will rarely change, the technologies used to improve production and client experiences are always changing.
In order to be successful in this industry, it’s imperative to be a leader in the early adoption or development of new technology. Right now, we are seeing a dramatic shift in how projects are modeled. From the use of LIDAR to exploring the new possibilities within the world of virtual reality, we are always looking to be leaders in the world of cutting edge technology.”