The life & times of an HVAC Engineer

{September 23, 2011}   What’s-a matter you Hey!

I went to a seminar about anaerobic digestion recently, it was very interesting hearing about how we could be using our waste to generate electricity. It’s certainly something we should be considering to improve the sustainability of many engineering projects. Did you know that you can use the solid output of the digester to make tiles that grass will grow on to make a green roof? I really enjoyed the evening, it was absolutely fascinating. What I particularly enjoyed however, were two things that the scientist who was giving the presentation said:

“Engineers are great, you go to them with a problem and they solve it for you”


“I was working on a project with WSP, and they were all so positive.”

I loved those moments, I loved the little bit of an insight they gave into how the outside world views us, both engineers generally and WSP specifically. The best bit of all is that he’s right, WSP guys & gals are really positive, upbeat folk, at least when we’re speaking to the client or other ‘outsiders’, and it’s also true that engineers solve all sorts of problems and make loads of people’s lives better. I’m sad to say though, we’re not always brilliant at solving our own problems, or those of our team/department/company. Our outstanding professional pride means we’re so focussed on providing the client with a first class service, on solving every niggling little problem on the project, and on making the world a better place that we sometimes forget to make our own little niche in the world a better place.

So in the spirit of ‘physician heal thyself’ I give you, the happy flowchart:

The incredible Maya Angelou, poet, author & civil rights activist once said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain”. It’s an approach we often take on projects, that’s how we as engineers have gained the mantle of being able to solve any problem, and why we as WSP are known for being positive and high quality – because if it’s not right, we make it right. It’s just what we do.

But for all that incredible problem solving ability, for all the pleasure we take in problem solving, and for all the drive we have to get things right, we don’t do that for ourselves. There’s no reason for that, though. Engineering gives you amazing skills at problem solving, and although we’ve been trained to apply that to buildings, structures & technology the logical thinking and creativity can often be applied just as well to things closer to home. Why not give it a try? Grab that flowchart, listen to Maya, and go engineer a solution that will make you happy…


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